It is well known that the world we live in is a male world. It’s a world made up of the principles and the “values” of the strong male. On this basis, the state and capitalism were built, a system of political and economic power that flows and will flow forever, sexism and patriarchy, even if it evolves and disguises itself. But there are countries where patriarchy exists with its most raw and extreme characteristics, protected by completely totalitarian states and regimes. Sharareh Khademi fled from such a country, Iran, to protect Diana, her 6-year-old daughter. She and her siblings took the refugee route, reached Turkey via Greece and she is currently in Korydallou prison, awaiting trial on Tuesday October 8 for her second-degree request from the Supreme Court not to be extradited to Iran (her claim was dismissed at the first instance court).
Sharareh Khademi’s story is quite distant, but this woman is with us. A nurse by profession, she married a satrap [government official] and gave birth to her baby girl. Her husband systematically abused her and she had been hospitalized. He was also beating their daughter who is now 6 years old. He accused Sharareh of adultery, and an Iranian court in her city sentenced her to 60 strikes, a felony “punishment” for such charges in Iran. The appellate court subsequently acquitted her of the charge.
For history, in Iran, the penalty of 60 strikes on women is imposed when it is merely for being with a man without sexual intercourse. When there is sexual intercourse, the penalty imposed is stoning to the head to death.
She divorced her husband and he blackmailed her to take her child; she has no right to see her again while he wants to marry off the baby girl when she is nine years old!!! The ransom to deny Sharareh any right she could have to her daughter, that is, to see her once a week, was about the brutal political action her brothers had occasionally taken. Their action was to engage in anti-corruption demonstrations against the Iranian government. Her family has traditionally taken subversity actions since the Iranian Revolution.
Her ex-husband, who is involved in the regime’s secret security services, warned her that if she did not surrender her daughter and renounce any rights over her, he would complain to the regime about her siblings for remedial action. In this case, execution is awaiting them.
Sharareh and her daughter Diana and her siblings fled Iran immediately, but her husband’s indictment for kidnapping a minor and an international arrest warrant issued by Interpol led her to jail. Both she and her brothers are demanding that they be granted asylum in Greece. It is clear that her daughter should not fall into the hands of a brutal patriarch who will abuse her and marry her off, while still a child, at the age of nine.
Sharareh and her daughter Diana must stay in Greece; the little girl must be protected from this painful and criminal future that awaits her in Iran. Their dignity as women must be protected, their lives themselves must be protected.
There are millions of women and girls living in similar inhumane conditions where the notion of right – albeit a negative and heterogeneous notion of an invalid liberty – does not even exist in the least and where life and death themselves do not belong to them. It belongs to whichever patriarch comes into their lives, and throughout their lives, a suffocating patriarchal authoritarian society, with ruthless laws and institutions in power at all times, wants to reinforce their perception that they are inferior to men.
There are many millions of women and girls around the world who live under similar conditions. But little Diana and Sharareh are with us and need our support. Their extradition to Iran means a death sentence for the mother and a life of torture for her baby girl.
Let’s not leave them alone. Let’s not allow Sharareh’s fight to be a lonely fight. As a highly oppressed woman, as a fugitive of patriarchy and totalitarianism, she deserves our solidarity. As a mother and in order to protect her 6-year-old child, it is imperative that she not be extradited to Iran. Little Diana deserves a better life.
Pola Rupa, member of the Revolutionary Struggle
Detained in GF Korydallou