Sunday, 26 February 2012

MEK Women ; warriors and Resistance Fighters in a prison called “Camp Liberty”

An article by one of our contacts who is a researcher and anchor journlist as well as women's activist :S.Azad

The portrayal of women warriors have been the subject of history, mythology, culture, film, folklore and gender studies. It is time to unravel a real ongoing epic involving 21st century women warriors who have not only outwitted their past ancestors experience in facing cultural and psychological barriers which enchain them in their quest for the “good” but are at the forefront of changing the trend of social political evolution Humankind: The MEK.PMOI women.

In terms of Islamic history, breaking barriers for gender equality has always been the tradition of the Prophet himself;
One of the earliest examples of warriors and counselors known in early Islam is Nusaybah bint Ka'ab; the first female to fight battles in defense of Islam and prophet Muhammad. After her, many others followed. She took part in the Battle of Uhud, the Battle of Hunain, the Battle of Yamama and was part of the battalion deployed which consequently negotiated the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. This was millennia before women took active roles in modern western armies.
Other examples in distant history which involve bravery, outrageous breaking of social norms and extreme risks were: The Spartan princess Arachidamia is said to have fought Pyrrhus, with her two daughters led a revolt against the Roman Empire in 60 AD, Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi was one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 against the English.
As social-political evolution progressed, women’s role in effecting change became determining.
The term and idea of “women warriors” used in films and TV series was gradually improvised in active and vital role of these women in the resistance and in the Partisan movements.
Such included Female Jewish freedom fighters who fought the Natzis  to the French resistance women who picked up arms, delivered food and helped with logistics to the Italian freedom fighters and partisans who moved from place to place in hope for “Change.”
Iran has its own complex involvement of women worriers and partisans and freedomfighters.
The role of ancient Iranian female warriors can be traced back at least 2000 years, to the time of the Parthians (250 BC – 224 AD). Reuter reported of a discovered bones of a 2000 year old woman worrier. During the constitutional revolution of Iran (1906-1911) Iranian women fought valiantly alongside the men in their battle against the Qajar Royalists and their Czarist Russian allies.

The revolution in Iran in 1979 was usurped by a religious fundamentalist’s power which has created the most misogynous theocracy in the world. This led to a confrontation between a fundamentalist Islamic tyranny and a political movement which believed in a tolerant and secular Islam and which had also participated in the revolution. The basic foundations and beliefs of this movement known as the MEK/PMOI or Mujahedden-e-Khalq, was based on complete Gender equality, freedom of thought, investment and all that a modern generation would dream of and therefore attracted more than 500 000 youth and their families in the early 8 months of the uprising. Forty percent of those who joined this movement were women and girls aging from 13 to 90.(Details of those massacred according to a religious fatwa by the clerics against the movement specifies age, name and sometimes the manor of death of the martyrs)
Professor Donna M. Hughes in her Women’s Studies International Forum writes :
“One woman has emerged as the leader of the resistance — Maryam Rajavi. She is the president-elect of the Iranian Resistance. In March 1996 The Times of London named her one of the world’s 100 most powerful women” and that Rajavi feels her movement has “women acting in all roles and levels of decision making”.
“In addition, a Charter of Fundamental Freedoms for Women is included in the future Constitution. At first in the resistance, women lacked training and confidence and, as mothers, they lacked time. In the past five years the resistance has created systemic solutions to these barriers. Women in leadership directly challenge the misogyny of the fundamentalists who deny women’s capabilities. Rajavi emphasized that emancipation and equality must be earned, but the advancement of democracy and world peace depend on the advancement of women. If women want world peace they must be involved in politics and foreign policy. »
Sarah PHILLIPS daughter of General David Phillips, former officer responsible for the safety and security of PMOI members at Camp Ashraf described her impression of the Women warriors of Ashraf :
My father who was in Iraq at the time told me. Sara, I’ve found your modern day Amazons, those women warriors, the type that you were always seeking and reading about…more shocking to me is the fact that it wasn’t just women, there was men standing at their side in defiance of tyranny. They managed to not only break stereotypes and roles, but they’d overcome insurmountable odds to rise up to a position of authority and power.  These women and men of the MEK believe in democracy and equal rights.  They believe in freedom. » (Full speech in Youtube)

Today 100 of these brave women are facing a “Joint plot” which might lead to their extermination.
Having escaped massacre in Iran they fled to Iraq in a Camp called Ashraf. Since 3 decades they have been living as political refugees according to the Iraqi constitution and later were offered “protected status” by the Americans under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Tehran however has never stopped its complot to complee what it begun in 1988 massacre of this generation.
After a blood lead ferocious attack by Al Malki forces at behest of Tehran on the camp residents who were unarmed and defenseless, 8 women were shot dead in cold blood.
At the outset of this crime an because of an international campaign waged by the leadership of the resistance Maryam Rajavi, the EU, Council of Europe and finally the security council and Un decided to appoint a representative in the UNAMI office in order to realize the European Parliament peaceful solution of relocating the 3400 residents including the 1000 women.
A memorandum of Understanding was signed without the presence of the victims between UNAMI and Iraq which suggested relocation of the residents to a camp liberty.
General David Phillips, had mentioned the camp unprepared for accepting residents since it was looted after the departure of the US forces from the camp.
Parts of the demands of the residents was to have a team of their engineers check and update the camp before any relocation, to be bale to have their movable objects and belongings with them including their cars and power generators, and to be able to have communication with the outside world, be visited and see their lawyers as well as not be inspected like prisoners by the same Iraqi forces who assaulted them in 2009 and 2011. None were approved.
The Liberty Camp was announced by UNAMI representative to be ready for the transfer of Ashraf residents without prior collective preparations, in clear violation of International and UN law.
At the moment Camp Liberty lacks the basic required minimums and among other things,

·                   There is no drinking water.
·                   The residents have no right to free passage, to access lawyers, and to access medical services.
·                   They cannot take their vehicles and moveable properties with them and are only allowed to take their “individual belongings.” The issue of vehicles and the moveable and non-moveable properties is completely ignored.
·                   While Camp Liberty with concrete walls of 3.6 meters height is surrounded by the Iraqi security and military forces and all the possible entrance and exit points are controlled by them, armed security forces have widespread presence.
·                   The residents have, by no means, physical and personal 24-hour access to the UN observers and contacting them, like in Ashraf, is only by telephone.

What is more disturbing is the eavesdropping and control devices installed in the half a kilometer parameter of the camp and the unethical intrusion of privacy of the women’s section which does not allow basic privacy such as taking a bath without being controlled.
The warriors of Freedom, who, each may be defined as great legends and talking books of an epical history of resistance are now themselves enchained in a camp called “liberty”
It is vital to turn the table set by Tehran and fulfill demands which are fully compliant with UN and International Law:
-         They must be allowed visits by their lawyers
-         They must be allowed privacy and the Iraqi police must leave camp premises
-         They must not be treated like spies with control devices
-         Their minimum need and their movable belongings must be returned to them including what they bought and earned such as cars and logistical needs

If not, then we must ask: Who is controlling the cards in this equation and who is responsible for any future attack on these vulnerable people.
When harassed and attacked by the forces, or their property stolen and looted, who will be responsible for these irritations? Would the UN, US, and EU accept Iranian State run News propaganda that the victim has done all this on herself?
 We demand an explanation and will not stand abomination of basic humanitarian Rights.



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