Monday, May 30, 2016

The Real Woman’s Card: Empowerment

Rojda Felat - A revolutionary feminist who is inspired by Bismarck, Napoleon and Saladin

Revolutionary Kurdish feminist leads assault on Raqqa. Kurdish and Iranian women may not be truly empowered, that is, there are still many laws and traditions that ensure their continued subjugation by the men in their society. But, thanks to certain elements in their modern histories, both populations produce enough “optics” to help Iranian and Kurdish leaders create the impression that they are more modern and moderate, hence engage-able, than their Sunni, especially Sunni Arab, counterparts, who are always represented in international media, much to the consternation of their educated classes, by Gulf Arabs, or, to be more specific, and fair, by the caricature image built around Gulf Arabs. This gives Kurds and Iran a useful edge in their ongoing showdown with Arabs. And this is important. This makes it easier for certain PR agencies on the international scene to hide the fact that the “liberation” of Raqqa from IS control might actually involve cleansing in of its majority Arab inhabitants as well. Already plans for administrating a liberated Raqqa as part of the Kurdish Federation established by the PYD have been finalized. If the people of Raqqa had a choice, they would most likely prefer to govern themselves independently of PYD and Assad influences, until such time that talks on the future of Syria produced a more durable alternative. But no one will listen to the people of Raqqa, no one that is, until they are “sexed up” and taught how to approach the media.

This is in fact a basic requirement for all Sunni Arabs at this stage. Propaganda is important tool of war and diplomacy and Sunnis are losing it. They need to learn how to produce some of the right optics, and play the women’s card to their benefit. Because, while negative stories about Iran in the media can still be found (Iran’s Holocaust denial is part of a malevolent strategyIran Punishes Dozens Of Partying College Students With 99 Lashes Each), are not enough to detract from stories like this: The World Reaps What the Saudis Sow. Indeed, the aforementioned negative stories about Iran appeared on non-mainstream websites, while the article about Saudi Arabia represents the view of the New York Times Editorial Board.

But the real story that is being missed by all sides is this: Real empowerment for women, and not just optics, is the real game changer that all these countries and peoples really need. While the struggle I this regard is underway and has been for a hundred years, it might still take another hundred before we see its results.

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