Dony Akhawan Jam, ‘Doah Staff Writer
March 18, 2015
International Women’s Day Gathering in Berlin Highlights Challenges Women Face in the Middle East
On the eve of International Women’s Day, more than 20,000 people from all over the world gathered in Berlin to mark International Women’s Day. The Union of Iranian Associations in Germany organized the event. Maryam Rajavi the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) along with many leading political figures and women rights activists attended the gathering. Speakers included Former Prime Minister of Canada Kim Campbell, Former President of the German Bundestag Rita Süssmuth, Former White House Director of Public Liaison Linda Chavez, and Former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Frances Townsend. Other notable speakers included Rudy Giuliani, Horst Teltschik, Bishop Wolfgang Huber, Otto Bernhardt, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and dozens more.
The meeting congratulated women on this occasion but also focused on raising awareness on the current problems women are facing today particularly in Iran and the Middle East region. The speakers noted that Islamic Fundamentalism is the one of the worst threats the Middle East and the world is facing.
Maryam Rajavi said, “When the murder of our children in Pakistan is tolerated; When the abduction of our daughters in Nigeria and the murder and widespread homelessness of women and children in Syria become routine; When no one expresses outrage at the execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari and splashing acid on the faces of our sisters in Iran, it is the force and power of women, which can and must rise to the occasion.” She continued and said, “It is the voice of women, the cries of protest by and unity among women that can and must stop this catastrophe from continuing.”
Reyhaneh Jabbari was a woman that was executed by the Iranian regime in October 2014 for defending herself against rape.
“You cannot have functioning democracies if women are not free,” said Kim Campbell. She also told women that they are the key to the future, not because they are better than men but because they are the other essential half of society.
Linda Chavez mentioned that human rights have worsened in Iran since the “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani came into power, and there have been more women that have been jailed and persecuted. She said that the Iranian regime “enslaves all the Iranian people, but it especially enslaves the women of Iran who do not even have the limited rights that their male counterparts have in that society.”
All the speakers of the event called for an end to discrimination against women and an end to human rights abuses in Iran, by calling for the removal of the Iranian regime and supporting a free and democratic Iran.