I can't imagine a better way to honor the International Women's Day than to write about the woman I admire the most.
My mother is the single individual I marvel at more than anyone else in the world without any doubt. What she has achieved, who she has become and how she has managed to get there is nothing short of a miracle and none of it would have been possible if it wasn't for her own insatiable drive to never be content with the status quo and always striving for more.
She came from a working class background, got married young and had children at an age where it wasn't possible for her to continue her education. Yet she never allowed any of that stop her from learning more, seeking out new ideas and not allowing what she encountered in a changing world to intimidate her. She is also the reason I consider myself to be a feminist, never allowing her children to forget about the prejudice faced by women but not allowing anyone to treat her as a second class citizen.
She is as stirring as a thundering river, as sturdy as any large mountain, as immeasurable as the sky, as soothing as the morning sun and as beautiful as dew covered petals of anthuriums, her favorite flower.
Talking about her today lets me remember how far we are from achieving justice and equality for women around the globe, making it vital for all of us - regardless of our gender - to do everything we can to get there. It also reminds me of women of Iran in particular who have shouldered much of the injustice carried out by the current authoritarian system. I revere and admire all of you.
UPDATE - womeniniran.org has a brief report (in Farsi only, unfortunately) about Tehran's peaceful gathering in honor of International Women's Day being turned into a violent confrontation by both uniformed and plain-clothed security forces earlier today. The violence reportedly started after a last minute cancellation of organizer's permit for the event. There are no estimates as to the numbers injured or possibly arrested so far.
UPDATE II - Pendar.net has some pictures of the gathering, primarily of guards blocking entrance to the park and one organizer holding their permit papers up in protest. Server is very slow and no pictures of the reported violence here.
UPDATE III - BBC has a report in English.Posted by Pedram at March 8, 2004 01:35 AM