"Both a good woman and a bad woman need the stick." ~ Italian proverb.
Over the last weekend, an article came out in Britain's Telegraph about the detention of Dr. Roya Tolouee, a Kurdish human rights activist from Iranian-occupied Kurdistan. We all remember when she was arrested, at the beginning of last August during the uprising sparked by the Iranian state's murder of another Kurdish activist, Shivane Qadri. Amnesty International has a decent synopsis of the uprising, an event the international community seems to have missed.
Dr. Roya escaped to Turkey, but since Iranian agents run wild and free in Turkey--in a way reminiscent of how they used to run wild and free in Berlin and Vienna--Dr. Roya was finally accepted into the US under asylum status at the end of April, 2006, thanks to the help of an Iranian opposition group, Alliance of Iranian Women. Dr. Roya has begun to speak a little about her ordeal as a prisoner of the evil mullahs and, as the Telegraph reports:
Miss Tolouee's account of her ordeal confirms recent reports from opposition groups that Iranian intelligence officials use sexual abuse against female prisoners as an interrogation technique and even rape young women before execution so that they cannot reach heaven as virgins.
Few women from the Islamic world are willing to discuss such matters, even with each other, but Miss Tolouee said that the regime routinely committed sexual attacks against female detainees.
But we all knew this, didn't we, even as we first read the news of Dr. Roya's arrest.
The agents of the evil mullah regime may be unique in their zealousness for making sure women stay out of paradise, but they are not the only ones to routinely and systematically use rape as a means of physical and psychological torture. Now, if you are under 18, or you are squeamish, please leave Rastî and go read something else, play online poker, or get a snack, because the next part of this post is something you don't want to read.
To give everyone an idea of what happens to Kurdish women in prison, I have something from a veteran Kurdish campaigner of the IHD, Eren Keskin. She quotes a portion of the statement of a Kurdish woman to her lawyer, about her time in detention:
"On 21 November RK and I were arrested in Izmir. We were in a car belonging to a relative of mine. I was put onto the back seat of another car and immediately the first sexual interference began. They then drove to a very isolated, winding road, where they stopped the car and made me get out. They fired twice into the air and said "We've killed him", meaning RK. They then forcibly stripped me naked and the sexual assault began again.
"From there they took me to the police station. They forced a kind of wet sponge under my body and attached me to an electrical frame. I was tortured intermittently with electric shocks for several hours. All the while I could hear the screams of my companion.
"Then I was put on a table. Not long before my arrest I had been operated on for a cyst. I felt an object touch the place where the operation had been carried out. I believe that it was a pistol. Then they brought a stick. They forced me onto my knees and slowly began to push the stick into me from behind. Suddenly they pulled me down sharply so the whole stick went into me. I began to bleed. Then I was given more electric shocks. They were making comments like ìThat tastes goodî. Then one of them got on top of me and raped me. I felt myself begin to bleed. Then they gave me more electric shocks; this time without interruption."
After long discussions with her solicitor, the press were informed and what had happened was made public. Zeynep Avci made a statement through her lawyer, demanding that those who were responsible be imprisoned. She gave a description of the officer who raped her. However there has still been no official inquiry. No official medical evidence has been sought and, despite several applications, a gynaecological examination was refused. The only request for such an examination which was successful was to a medical practice in Istanbul and an examination was carried out there. As the internal judicial process seems hopeless, Zeynep's solicitor has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights.
[ . . . ]
Overlong time in police custody plus the use of torture (rape) In the meantime, using a confession forced out of her by means of torture, Zeynep Avci has been charged under section 125 of Turkish criminal law. This charge carries the death penalty.
[Note: Article 125 of the old TCK stated: “It shall be an offence, punishable by the death penalty, to commit any act aimed at subjecting the State or any part of the State to domination by a foreign State, diminishing the State's independence or removing part of the national territory from the State's control.”]
The case of Zeynep comes from 1997, but the problems still persist as recently as 2004 and 2005, according to Human Rights Watch. The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) indicated concern at the presence of Turkish troops in Afghanistan in 2002, because of the Turkish state's permissiveness regarding impunity of its security forces with regard to Kurdish women. They also seemed to be pretty pissed off that the Turkish government's special envoy to Afghanistan characterized charges against the Taliban as "baseless."
We know that these things happened in Iraq as well. In fact, Saddam's Iraq maintained professional "violators of women's honor" on the state's payroll. Neither have we forgotten the Kurdish women and girls of Anfal, who were sold to Egypt.
No, indeed, we have not forgotten any of these atrocities.
An interesting, and extremely accurate, characterization is made by Eren Keskin in the statement containing Zeynep's testimony. Keskin states that the violence that permits torture and impunity of those who commit torture as "our reality." Sadly, the situation has become "normal." She further mentions "patriarchal structures" that, in conjunction with the Turkish government, continues to maintain a status quo of discrimination against women.
A discussion of the problem of patriarchy can be found from another Kurd, a more religious Kurd, Edip Yuksel. In an article discussing women's rights, he makes the argument that patriarchy, priesthood and preceptors (education systems) have created an environment conducive to the severe oppression and discrimination against women. He calls for reformation in Islam, supported by human rights organizations, in order to undo the damage done by the three "P's" and establish a foundation for a just status quo. Give Edip a read. He's not always easy, but he is always great. His website is here. Under his Law & Politics link, make sure you read "Cannibal Democracies" and the commentary on the same.
It is Kurds like Eren Keskin and Edip Yuksel, and organizations like IHD and KWAHK, among others, who have been at the forefront of an extremely difficult battle against a regional status quo which encourages violence against Kurdish women. Friends and allies are always good to have in the battle, but Kurds, themselves, must be the root of changing the status quo that permits violence against women as "normal."
Besides, precious few are going to help Kurds anyway.
Where, oh, where are the fat, feminist cows of the West on this? Has anyone heard them call for an end to any of these atrocities? Has anyone heard them call for an end to any of this, not only for Kurds, but for the entire Middle East? Have they ever condemned honor murders or the trafficking of women (a specialty these days, it appears, of the evil mullahs as well as their surrogates in Iraq) or female genital mutilation? We hear nothing from them, do we, and why is that?
For one thing, they've gone whoring after totalitarian political Islam. They prefer sleeping with Ahmedinejad or al-Zarqawi or bin Laden--at least ideologically--and to condemn anything that these guys enforce, attempt to enforce, or hope to enforce, is anathema because it might violate multiculturalism. This is a code word that permits moral cowards to scurry away from actually having to confront ugly little issues like systematic rape-in-detention, honor murders, or cocooning a woman in miles of black fabric because she is wicked in nature. In their book, to speak or work against any of these evils, would be equal to passing judgement against them, and that would be racism. To demand an accounting of the mullahs because their official state "violators of women's honor," would be to pass judgement on the religion of the mullahs, and these feminists would label any attempt to do so as religious discrimination.
Another reason they won't criticize any of these evil doings is because the guys who enforce, attempt to enforce, or hope to enforce them are all anti-American. The enemy of my enemy is my friend--this is the moral gutter in which these feminist vermin thrive. Deep inside, they probably whisper to themselves that "those" people have been doing "those" things for thousands of years. "Those" people don't know any better and they can't know any better, so let them continue to do "those" things.
Besides, the Americans are "persecuting" poor, helpless Ahmedinejad, al-Zarqawi and bin Laden, so to hell with those who are really oppressed. Remember, it's not about women like Zeynep, Dr. Roya or hundreds of thousands--if not millions--of others; it's all about US hegemony.
We might consider too, that since these feminist cows are so far removed from their heydays of heady street activism, in which they protested every injustice that came their way, they have forgotten what it's all about. It doesn't hurt that they've finally made tenure in some pasture of Western academe, where they can comfortably munch the sweet green grass and become mesmerized by the sounds of their own cowbells, clanging out a tune from the Lunatic Fringe. In other words, they've reached their comfort level.
Finally, these feminist cows simply don't give a damn what happens to Kurdish women or others. If they did, they'd be all over Turkey because it's an ally of the US. As such, it is a perfect target. Instead, they are silent for the sake of bringing a fascist country into the economic arrangement known as the European Union. The fact that everyone forges ahead with this little charade, even as the whip comes down more viciously on Kurds, is a certain indication that more comfort, more ease, more pampering, and more money will be on the way for everyone.
They will keep their eyes tightly closed and dream their fantasies so that they won't have to see that their comfort is derived from the rape of Kurdistan.
UPDATE: There is an update on the Harrisonburg Kurds at Max Speak, You Listen!