Simple and Carefree on a Rainy Afternoon in Zanjan

By: Parisa Panahi, Campaign in Zanjan

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Translated by: Sussan Tahmasebi

Usually I don’t provide reports, but I read all reports. Perhaps this is a bit bad, both for me and for those around me. This is true with respect to the site "Change for Equality," the official site of the Campaign. Every time I visit the site, I immediately go to the Face-to-Face section [where individual activists write about their experiences collecting signatures in support of the Campaign’s petition]. Even though I have never met the activists who write for the Campaign in person, I feel I have come to know them intimately. Perhaps this sense of familiarity can be attributed to their capacity to write about their experiences in a simple and informal style. Most important is the sincerity with which they speak about their social activism.

It had been some time since I had come to know about the Campaign. I first heard about the Campaign in meetings and workshops in the University. I have to admit that at that point I was searching furiously for the Campaign’s educational booklet which outlined and explains the laws that the Campaign is seeking to change. But I was unable to find a copy of the booklet. Without admitting it, I would search for Campaign activists in my University. But that search too was unsuccessful. So I continued in this way for some time, desperately seeking a booklet. Eventually after a while I was able to finally find some information about the Campaign. Through internet searches and reading articles online I was able to obtain more information on the effort and gain information on how I could become more involved in the Campaign. I was finally able to connect with some of the activists in the Campaign, who were welcoming and receptive, and who provided me with the Campaign’s educational booklet. Many of the questions I had about the Campaign were answered through this connection and I found it a good opportunity to witness the activism of women involved in the Campaign up close and in person.

It was a cold and rainy afternoon. I decided to go to a shopping center in town, so as to engage in discussions with shoppers about the Campaign. It was a memorable and unique experience. I met a variety of people, most of them women. Some of these people, despite differences in their attitudes, would belittle our effort and more generally women’s quest for equal rights. It was the positive presence of Somaiyeh [a member of the Campaign from Tehran] that kept me going. She encouraged me to be more patient. I also met women and girls, who had succumbed totally to the patriarchal system dominant in their families or in society at large. Witnessing such realities stirred within me a deep sense of sorrow. As a response, I made a decision to take up the task of raising cultural and social awareness in this respect. I became determined to learn about the fears and reservations of women, who had long since been subjected to isolation in the private realms. I decided to action to change the reality of women. I hope that all women who have reached a degree of self awareness about themselves and their society decide to take steps to address social problems and shortcomings in the hopes of promoting awareness in our society. I wish for a prosperous Iran!

Read the original article in Farsi


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