Iranian Women Deserve Our Utmost Solidarity

The women protesting oppression in Iran and in other countries are nothing less than courageous. And what has been most inspiring is that these are people from all classes and walks of life. There are women who choose to wear the hijab and they are linking arms with women who do not choose to wear it. They understand this is not about Islam, but about repressive systems.

And this is far broader than the Muslim world. If anyone hasn’t noticed, there is a war being waged against women happening in various countries, including in the West. And the implications are deep for all of us in whatever community we identify with.

Unfortunately, there is a familiar chorus of naysayers who claim to be on the left who are saying all of these protests are orchestrated by the American intelligence agencies or their client states to undermine foreign governments they despise. Such is the state of things when people opt for listening to theorists who sit comfortably in their homes pontificating on the evils of imperialism or who take the word of state entities instead of taking the time to actually listen to the voices of the oppressed.

No one on the left denies the US uses its power to coopt movements for its own aims. No one on the left denies that the US has been instrumental in toppling democratically elected governments. No one on the left denies this is being done now as it was in movements like the Arab Spring.

But if you deny fellow human beings the agency to defy the boot stomping on their necks, you aren’t on the left. You have sold yourself wholesale to a cynical brand of misanthropy that lost sight of what matters in this world. Human beings matter, not their government, nor ours.

Iranian women and all people who suffer brutal oppression do not need military intervention or covert ops. But they don’t need cynical obfuscation of their oppression either. They don’t need mealy-mouthed equivocation. They need our solidarity. And I will be damned if I ever sit on the sidelines eating popcorn and theorizing on how the US is meddling in something, while ignoring the flesh and blood human beings rising up against their oppressor.

Kenn Orphan, September 2022

1 thought on “Iranian Women Deserve Our Utmost Solidarity

  1. Kenn Orphan Post author

    Unsurprisingly, I’ve had some pushback on this piece. So, I will elaborate further. But I will stop at this.

    I think all of this cynicism was born out of very real crimes committed by the US intelligence and military sector. Crimes of coopting movements, assassinating leaders, funding, arming and orchestrating coups (like the one against Iran in the 1950s that eventually brought us the current theocracy), of spreading disinformation on a variety of things to distract and demoralize. We have seen how they operate against Cuba and Venezuela with sanctions and other methods to destabilize. But what is so often rejected in this line of thinking is the very thing that makes the left have any viability at all. The power of human agency.

    There is a very cynical strain in segments of the left (or erstwhile left) that sees every single uprising or protest in a country whose government is an enemy of the US as some kind of plot. And I think this is due to this residual doubt created after years of nefarious and malicious behaviour. You can see in memes that say things like: “They lied about Vietnam. They lied about Iraq. And you believe them now?”

    What this line of thinking fails at is critical analysis of how corporate media works and how capitalist governments act and react. It becomes a sort of conspiratorial thinking phenomenon where these agencies suddenly take on almost supernatural powers. They think every single thing is a plot or a lie instead of understanding these agencies are very far from omnipotent and are, in most cases, very flawed and inept. And they don’t want to parse through the information.

    But I’ve come to realize most people have not been educated on media analysis. It all too often seems they take a black or white point of view. Either this or that. Nothing nuanced or balanced.
    It is why I learned years ago to embrace solidarity as the ironclad law. You don’t have to be perfect, but I don’t think you can never go wrong by seeing oppression for what it is and standing on the side of the oppressed. You don’t have to know what big, secretive government agencies are doing behind closed doors to coopt or subvert. You just have to develop the skills of empathy.

    Unfortunately, outfits like the Gray Zone, Global Research, etc. have disseminated a lot of disinformation and distraction on this issue, very similar to what they did on Syria. I think it is important to be very wary of this.

    Every single Iranian person I know, and I know quite a few, understands completely the nefarious role the US has played in Iranian political and cultural life. They know about it far more than any average American. Yet every single one of them still supports this uprising with every ounce of their being. I give them more credit than just being mere pawns or tools for manipulation.

    I stand unequivocally with them in their struggle. And I always will.

    Liked by 1 person


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