Depatriarch: Mahsa Amini and Tantawan Tuatulanon show why we need a world order free of patriarchy
A gruesome death in the hands of the moral police in Iran, and an arrest in Thailand show how urgent it is to fight patriarchy in the new world order.
Mahsa Amini in the hospital in Iran before her death after being assaulted by the moral police for 'not wearing the hijab correctly'.
Along with the war-cry to decolonise, the world needs another fiery slogan for a new, equitable world order to truly dawn - depatriarch! Countless research has shown how patriarchal structures - from unequal pay to disproportionate and extreme familial pressure has consistently held back half of the world, its women, from taking up their rightful position.
Now two violent incidents, in Iran and Thailand, have shown us why along with the global movement to decolonise, we need a new movement to 'depatriarch' or remove the structural old patriarchal hurdles that keep women from fulfilling their true potential.
Human rights are rights that we have simply because we are human beings; they are not provided by any government, state or legislation, nor are they dependent on gender (or any other attribute). But recent incidents in Iran and Thailand have shown us how brutally basic human rights of the citizens can be violated. This essay details two cases, one from each country, showing how security forces unlawfully use force to suppress the voices of the people and against those who violate the draconian laws of the country, especially women are subjected to severe discrimination, arrest, and even brutal torture.
THE IRANIAN MORAL POLICE WHO KILLED A 22 YEAR OLD
Iran is an Islamic theocracy, and since the Islamic revolution of 1979, women have been compelled by law to dress modestly in 'Islamic' attire. This entails that women must dress modestly by wearing a chador, hijab or a headscarf and a burqa to cover their heads and body. But in recent years, Iran has seen a number of demonstrations and protests against the compulsory wearing of the hijab. This discontent has been fueled by Iran's morality police, who unleash torture and ill-treat those who does not comply with the dress code. Iran’s morality police have gotten more harsh against women who disobey the law while women are being rebellious.
To enforce the hijab rule, the authorities have employed tactics like - violence, detention, and intimidation. Women who appear in public without a suitable hijab will be imprisoned for 10 days to two months or will pay a fine.
The government should instead put more emphasis on other important issues like social justice, economic security, class inequality, drug abuse,corruption, and poverty in the country rather than just focusing on the implementation of the hijab law.
On September 16, 2022, a young Iranian woman died days after being imprisoned by morality police for allegedly failing to comply with the head covering laws. She was imprisoned by the morality police for not wearing the Hijab properly, as she had not completely covered her hair. An eyewitness claims that Mahsa Amini was beaten severely inside a police van before she eventually fell into a coma. The allegations were denied by Iranian authorities, who claimed that she had 'suffered a sudden heart failure'.
The 22-year-old Amini was traveling with her family from the western province of Kurdistan to Tehran, the capital of Iran, when she was detained for allegedly violating the dress code for women.
The hijab issue has revealed disunity among the clergy, the country’s core support base. Opposition and criticism from leading religious figures will lead to more street resistance and rebellion. Protests have erupted at Mahsa’s funeral, women are removing their hijab to protest against the morality police.
With many Iranians already suffering from high inflation and rising unemployment, the government's handling of the hijab issue has provided them with yet another reason to express their dissatisfaction against the country.
Tantawan 'Tawan' Tuatulanon was arrested in Thailand for the crime of 'insulting the royalty' - for merely asking if royalty was still relevant in the country.
THE CASE OF LESE MAJESTE IN THAILAND
Thailand's monarchy has increased its efforts to limit freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Protesters are subjected to brutal force by police. Pro-democracy activists and human rights advocates have been harassed and arbitrarily detained by authorities.
Lese majeste is a french term which means 'to do wrong to majesty', in Thailand, according to Section 112 of Thai Criminal Code, lese majeste is a criminal offense. Authorities are now increasingly charging people for defaming the Thailand monarchy.
People who have been accused of royal defamation have increased significantly after November 2020. As per the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), at least 173 persons have been accused of defaming the king for engaging in political speech and participating in pro-democracy demonstrations.
Tantawan 'Tawan' Tuatulanon, is one of the young pro-democracy activists in Thailand who have been holding demonstrations in defiance of the lese majeste law, since the mass youth-led protests started to decline in 2021 after authorities arrested and imprisoned prominent activists on lese majeste and other charges.
Tuatulanon was detained in February 2022, on charges of insulting the Thai monarchy after conducting a poll on whether or not the lese majeste law should be repealed or not. Tantawan distributed red and blue ribbons to passengers on trains and buses, asking them to tie a red or blue ribbon to the handrails if they wanted to abolish the royal defamation legislation (Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code), and a blue ribbon if they thought the law should be kept in place. Most of the travelers were observed tying red ribbons to handrails throughout her route. She was soon arrested by the police. Tuatulanon has said that she only had a few ribbons and did not believe that it would cause harm to anyone. Instead, she merely wanted to demonstrate how many people supported the repeal of the royal defamation law and question why the online petition for the repeal was unsuccessful.
Tuatulanon was initially arrested in March. After being turned down for bail twice in a row. On April 20, she started her hunger strike, in protest for her right to bail. The bail release was authorized by the Criminal Court. The defendant was granted a 30-day bond term by the court, with the conditions that she wear an electronic tag, stay at home save in cases of illness, and only travel with prior court approval.
If the horrifying stories of Mahsa Amini and Tantawan Tuatulanon have one thing in common, it is this - they are a sharp reminder that all talk of a new world order means nothing until justice and equity is provided to half of the world's population, its women. This needs a new global campaign fronted by one rousing slogan - depatriarch!