Event discusses women’s rights struggle in Iran

Due to recent events of Iranians and their education systems having an impact on world peace,  state department official Andrew Loomis and local novelist Ava Homa spoke out at the Women’s Rights Movement in Iran Keynote in California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB). 

This event took place on Nov. 15 in the Student Center, West Lounge and via zoom. 

“The topic matter that animates this event has echoed with my personal life and professional career,” said Loomis, senior advisor for external relations for the state’s department under the secretary of public diplomacy and public affairs. “With this came deep interactional engagement, academic work in the study of war and peace, and a focus on individuals as a persistent source of resistance as well as resilience.” 

Everything that Loomis gained from his experiences has all circled him back to the essential truth that local populations are often in the background prevailing exponentially in history over time. 

“In both of these domains, the global and the societal, education is essential in deepening our understanding of these trends and equipping ourselves to make better decisions,” said Loomis. 

His closing consisted of Loomis stating, “two broad paths are preordained, but rather a product of decisions and hopefully informed decisions that can change the course anytime.”

Homa, an award-winning author, journalist and activist, opened by saying, “We’re gathered here today in honor of peace and education and everything happening in Iran. I stand before you today in honor of a peaceful unharmed message to inform you that Iranians have been asking for justice. With that, they have received in return bullets, arrests, tortured, and televised confessions.”

People have been taking to the streets of Iran chanting “women, life, freedom.”  It is a regional and global power chant that parallels the French Revolution, but this one is a lot less patriarchal. 

Homa quoted Martin Luther King, saying “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” More than anything, mainly due to the pandemic, she bases her discussion on a movement and how it’s a step toward justice.

She also talked about different unjustified cases and the struggles Iranian women went through as well as being arrested and went on to read an excerpt from her novel “Daughters of Smoke and Fire,” for which she also had a signing. 

After a reading of her novel Middelton asks Homa “Can you talk a little about how a novel like Daughters of Smoke and Fire gives a real in-depth look? How can it help the current protesting situation?”

“Having access to defense for sure will help people overcome that fear and create a bridge that has a sense of connection that we all need and we really starve for,” answered Homa.

 The next portion of the presentation included questions from the session’s moderator Nancy Middleton, a CSUMB professor.

“Do you think protests in Iran are maybe typical and predictable of the types of protests we’ll see in the future,” asked Middleton.

“Reading the way Homa has written about the Iran protests and hearing the talk, it does sound very similar that there is a more remarkable ability to mobilize and a greater outspokenness,” said Loomis. “There’s a greater discussion with oppression and this concept that men taking on the part of the protest seem new and different which is the direction things are going and protests and concerns are getting broadened.” 

Loomis then proceeded to ask Homa, “Does it germinate domestically, or are there international components that are fueling or addressing any elements of the protests?” 

“Iran does an excellent job of isolating themselves and creating a lot of enemies from the Israel region to southern Arabia to international. So I can’t completely deny that a lot of countries would have an interest in seeing the government weakened. For the regional countries, I argue that other regional dictations would like to see the Iranian women succeed but not entirely because it would also put them in danger,” said Homa.

From these speakers, individuals were able to get a sense of the impact of international education on world peace and discuss how we can be the change for some injustices to help stop them from happening in the future.

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