June 16, 2009

The Furies of Iran

A supporter of defeated presidential candidate Mousavi is beaten by government security men as fellow supporters come to his aid during riots in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, June 14, 2009. (AP Photo) - via The Big Picture - Boston.com

Out of the tsunami of images, videos, rumors and reports that wash over the web during these days of Iranian resistance, this single image of a fleeting moment arrested my attention. Clicking on it will make it larger and allow you to see the expressions of the women closing in on the ayatollah's thugs. And in that flickering instant you will see what all injustice and repression fears from the people it oppresses, the emergence of The Furies.

Always female and dating back to the Age of Myth, the Furies were the agents of Nemesis:

The [Furies] Erinyes often stood for the rightness of things within the standard order.... Predominantly, they were understood as the persecutors of mortal men and women who broke natural laws. In particular, those who broke ties of kinship through murdering a mother (matricide), murdering a father (patricide), murdering a brother (fratricide), or other such familial killings brought special attention from the Furies.
Here three goons beat a man on the ground with long truncheons. A fourth man turns from the beating as he hears the shrieks close on him from the hijab-draped women. We don't know what is being said, but we can infer from the expressions and the gestures that these women have determined not to let this particular fratricide go forward.

The woman directly confronting the turning thug is especially revealing. She wears glasses and is certainly not the sort that one would think capable of bravery or violence. And yet she raises a bare hand high as if to strike this man who outweighs her and is certainly schooled in torture and murder by the regime. Behind this courageous woman come others also determined, also outraged, also, in a word, furious.

What happened after this moment? We cannot know unless the rooftop photographer can be found and we can see the other frames that came after. The goons could have turned on the women and beaten them. The goons, seeing themselves outnumbered and others arriving in the background, could have retreated to beat and kill another days. All we have now is this instant and the history that will ripple outward from it, for better or worse, in Iran over the coming days and months.

What we do know is that once you can see, in an image such as this, the emergence of The Furies in the Mesopotamian realm that gave them birth in the Age of Myth, their harsh mistress Nemesis hovers above them. And while The Furies are vengeful, Nemesis is remorseless.

All Islamic tyrannies fear their women. Here you can see the reason why.

Posted by Vanderleun at June 16, 2009 11:11 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

A "Tank Man" moment (Tienanmen Square) for sure.

Posted by: Roderick Reilly at June 16, 2009 2:38 PM

Who was it who said that the condition of any civilization can be at once appraised by the station of their women? So very true.

Posted by: Hannon at June 16, 2009 6:51 PM

Three excellent posts about Persia on the trot Gerard. Keep it up! A violent shift in the tectonic pages of World History. Melanie Phillips also provides an excellent post here:


Well worth a click or two and ten minutes of anybody's time.

Posted by: Frank P at June 17, 2009 3:29 AM

And what is important to note - these are respectable women, they are not some drunk dolt taking a swing at an officer on 'COPS'. These are the matrons - good, upright, decent women - pillars of the society, maintainers of hearth and home. when they start taking swings at police goons, the unraveling has begun. If this is not stopped soon, it will never be stopped.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at June 17, 2009 11:23 AM

Instapundit has mentioned in the past that you can track the 'moral superiority' of a political movement by reviewing it's protest babes. These look like the real deal. So Mullah, take the moolah and run.
By the way gov't goons...your truncheons are pretty flacid in this photo. Perhaps the Hakim can give you some viagra, inshallah. Or maybe you just need to beat a younger victim.

May your knife shatter and chip, goombah.

Posted by: Carl H. at June 17, 2009 11:36 AM

This picture made me think of two things: Immediately, antibodies. A day later, Mr. Universe's comment, "You can't stop the signal!"

I'm praying for them. They got guts.

Posted by: Mangas Colorados at June 17, 2009 5:40 PM

Of all the women fighting in these hellholes for rights and recognition none have amassed so successfully as in Iran in the last decade. Dozens in prison, hundreds beaten. Permit me to post a comment i blogged two years ago on them and the youth who were supposed to have been the Ayattollahs Army:

"Athanasiadis described an extraordinary scene in central Tehran when a teenage girl, cornered by police, ripped off her headscarf and exposed her highlighted hair. "She screams insults at a policeman who begs her to put back on her hijab and stop causing a scene," wrote Athanasiadis. "Taking it from his hand, she throws it back in his face in one violent gesture, her indignant screams growing louder."

A middle-aged Iranian woman accompanying the photo-journalist told him: "This is the new generation. They're not scared at all. If I was stopped and told to fix my scarf, I'd be so terrified I'd pull it over my nose. But today's girls are not afraid, they will take the scarf off their head and throw it in the face of the police, even the basiji [Islamic militia]."

These are the same young people, unimpressed by the clerics who run their country, unmoved by Shia orthodoxy, and now unafraid to stand on the streets of Tehran and shout 'Death to the Dictator!' as the paramilitary basiji chase after them, wielding their sticks"

And yet they have been given little time or light of day anywhere. They are instrumental creatures in this current anger.

Similar episodes occured recently in Afghanistan. It is a woman there who leads the way of course. She is highly respected by men and women but was recently thrown our of their Parliament with the politicians demanding she be raped for her audacity. Heh.

The diffusion of Islamic craziness will come about through women.

Posted by: alison at June 18, 2009 6:48 AM

It is more than rare that evil presents itself nakedly to the eyes of men. No, evil will always seek to hide itself, be it under the cover of darkness, in a lie or behind a wall of silence. Always evil hides. It does so because it knows itself to be what it is: evil. It knows that if its nature were revealed all would recoil from it and it would have no power.

The value of the American Presidency in international affairs derives in no small measure from its power to adumbrate evil deeds in shadow, and so rob them of the tacit legitimacy that silence confers. Mr. Obama’s initial silence followed by a muted “Tut, tut, my good man!” speaks to, at best his own moral ambiguity, or more frankly, to his own predisposition to befriend the darkness.

By the way, there’s going to be a Tea Party Tax Protest / Independence Day Celebration on July 3rd from 3 to 7 pm in La Canada, details here. Admission $10 cash includes hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks and oodles of entertainment including AlfonZo Rachel and other personages of brilliance and renown.

Posted by: Leo Walker at June 22, 2009 11:16 AM