Thursday, October 19, 2006

Defending Titles

It's been a while since I've offered any updates from my favourite vacation spot, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and I think it's high time that we take a peek at the recent flagrant human rights violations shenanigans carried out there in the name of Allah. I could talk about the pair of brothers who were hanged 3 weeks ago for launching an attack on a local City Hall to avenge the previous execution of their 3rd brother (ensuring a not very Happy Mother's Day for Madame Z), or the recent sentencing of a man to a de-occulation, 74 lashes & prison time for blinding another man in a scuffle. Or the 18-year old boy who was hanged for a crime he committed as a child. Or the decision to arrest anyone found eating in public during Ramadan and sentencing them to digging graves, that they might have ample opportunity to reflect upon "the prospect of death and the afterlife".

Then there's the new "Youth Police" which has been established in schools across
Tehran to prevent any possible "crimes" - speaking of schools, did I mention that male teachers have just been banned from teaching in female institutions? (As an aside I might note that prior to President Ahmadinejad's ascendancy to national politics, as mayor of Tehran one of his first acts in office was to segregate the elevators in City Hall upon gender-lines. I bet the "his" elevator plays better muzak.)

But on second thought, maybe I don't want to limit myself to the 11 executions that were held in the last 4 weeks. Maybe it's high time I de-demonize the country & highlight something quirky, unconventional and - dare I say - positive? Let us consider 29-year old doctoral candidate Laleh Seddigh who has been raising eyebrows and making headlines as Iran's First Lady of car racing. I don't use the term First Lady lightly - not only is she the first Iranian female race car driver to compete against men, but she is also the first female athlete to compete against men in any sport since the days of the Shah.

Being breathtakingly beautiful probably doesn't hurt either. I know that it's helped me over the years.

Since her request was amazingly granted, she has seen many occasions to leave her chromosome-challenged competitors choking on her dust, and went on to win the National championship where,

"she received a reminder of her status in the form of an order from the Iranian motor-racing body that she behave 'appropriately' when on the winner's podium. 'I was told to wear my manteau [a long Iranian coat designed to conceal the outlines of the body] over my racing outfit and not to talk or laugh with the male competitors.'"

... which also satisifies the fatwa (yes, there is one) that declares that there is no religious prohibition against women racing against men provided that the former adhere to the Islamic dress code. Her talent on the racetrack has attracted the likes of Subaru who offered her a sponsorship deal. She declined because it would necessitate an overseas move. Cat in Rabat would have had her bags packed before the ink was dry. In a country where some 70% of the population is under 35, she is a breath of fresh air and an avatar for young women in Iran and the world over.

And she's pissed off a lot of others along the way.

Amazed and slightly perturbed that you should be reading such an uplifting posting? Don't be. She's been banned from competing.

This is what I get for trying to be quirky, unconventional and positive. Never again.

Dismissing the "security problems" that the racing federation cited for pulling her from a recent championship race (and effectively not allowing her to defend her national title), Ms. Seddigh contends that,

"Most of the federation members were not happy to have a female champion and would have preferred a man," she said. "Since I won, they have even eliminated the winner's podium. They were afraid that I would win again and they would be obliged to show me on the podium."

Racing federation VP, Hossein Shahryari said,

"Women are speaking highly of themselves and that causes men who sacrifice their lives in this sport disappointment. Women are not champions in this sport, they are only participants. If they observed Islamic regulations more they would not have such problems."

Phew! Now this is the Iran that I know. My faith in the Republic has been restored. Ms. Seddigh may not be able to defend her title but the Islamic Republic of Iran is back on top as the biggest spoil-sport on the planet.

Tune in again next week for an itemized list of Iran's hangings.


Blogger knarf said...

Did she think first and drive later? Or did she drive first and think later?

Whatever, as a life-long fan of motorsports, I congratulate her on her courage in the face of FUCKING ASSHOLES (both on and off the track, it seems). No matter who the trophy was given to, she's the real champion of that series.

7:43 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

That was it ... she started driving first and thinking later! I knew that I was missing something. I keep forgetting: think first, think first.

10:00 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

No, no, no, C in R.

You miss the point. It's not a matter of what one should or shouldn't do. It's a matter of human nature.

Women talk first and think after. Men think first and talk after.

It's not like one can change it, it's just the way we are. It's in our jeans (oops, I mean genes).

For instance, I might try to talk first and think later. However, as a man, I just can't do it! It's not in my nature.

Once you reconcile yourself to the way things are, and stop trying to meddle with the natural order of things, I think you'll be much more content with your lot in life.

-your ever-helpful brother

5:01 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

BTW, just so everyone's clear, I was joking in my last comment.


Lighthearted banter.

Not intended to be taken seriously or in any way indicate my true position on the matter.

5:36 p.m.  
Anonymous Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Thank you for posting this. It's so important to get the word out about what's going on in Iran. As an Iranian-American, I am continuously horrified at what the Iranian regime is cooking up.

10:44 a.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

It's my pleasure Maryam - although I'd prefer to have nothing but positive things to say.

6:03 p.m.  
Blogger Bimbo said...

I was playing with one of those decoder rings you find in the bottom of junk cereal boxes when I read your post, and I swear, the Shahryari quote read like this:

"Women are speaking highly of themselves and that causes men disappointment. Women are no. If they observed Islamic regulations more he would not have such problems."

It must be me because we can't possibly live in a world that would tolerate that sort of thing. And chocolate covered sugarbombs ARE a good source of fiber as recommended by the FDA.

12:27 a.m.  
Blogger knarf said...


Chocolate Covered Sugar Bombs.


1:49 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

I bet Chocolate Covered Sugar Bombs meet the RDA of 17,545 vitamins & minerals.

4:56 p.m.  
Blogger General Bird said...

I'd like to point out -- given the whole thinking and talking thing -- that just as men think better because they talk later, women talk better because they think later. So I ask the government of Iran (though it seems obvious enough that I should hardly have to) that it prevent women from talking. Their superiority in this -- I mean participation -- is giving me a most disappointing complex.

10:14 a.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Can they cover women up from head to toe as well???? That would make it even easier to prevent them from talking.

5:10 p.m.  

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