Invisible Nation

There are thousands of faces that cannot be seen in public. Thousands of voices no one can hear outside. No songs of respect, or of pain, or of humiliation at the hands of their oppressors. No one to mourn their silence openly. Their voices should be heard. They sing like birds. Their pain is everyone’s pain. How is it that the entire world allows this stillness to persist in a modern world? Their melodies when heard are ancient-sounding. They sound like any prayer we hear in our synagogues. How is this possible?

It is the same emptiness as Neda Agha Soltan dying of her wounds in the streets of Teheran in 2009’s protests. These are women, after all. The women of Iran. They slip off their hijabs and become human beings. They appear in the ether in the least likely places ˗˗outside a mosque, in a park, next to an ancient tomb from a civilization where women could sing and dance and be heard and be seen. How is it that ancient civilizations are superior to a modern one? How can progress in the rights of all humans be so widely turned off by men who want to create modern weapons; but have no clue as to why they should let their own women sing and be free of clothing which hides their beauty from the world? Where is the logic in this? This is, after all, the land that Esther HaMalkah once called home. She is reputedly buried with King Ahashuerus in Hamadan, the same land where women cannot go uncovered and unheard in public.

The sad truth is that the ayatollahs of Iran want desperately to hide the beauty and the sound of their own women. They apparently prefer the ugliness of their own religious dictates and the soulless music of their men-only singers. If it were not for the Internet, one would assume there are no women at all in the Islamic Republic of Iran which is absurd as there are millions of women in Iran. Millions of covered, voiceless, faceless women who are not free.

Israel spends a great deal of effort and resources taking in the victims of Islamic terror and economic hardship from the African continent; but who will free the women of Iran from their own government’s Islamic terror if they are not allowed to install their own kind in politics? Why do we only see Iranian women uncovered thanks to the courageous Masih Alinejad?

We have hundreds of thousands of Persian Jews living in Israel today, many of whom look exactly like the uncovered beautiful women of Iran. Would we ever consider covering up our own beautiful women for a religious reason and then silencing them? So why do our women don wigs, long skirts and heavy stockings even when the heat is oppressive? Whose idea was it to silence their voices and take away their freedom to do everything in life that they desire to do as long as that “everything” involves marrying and staying pregnant?

Have we, as a people, not evolved in thousands of years of presence on this earth? Are we not better than a bunch of octogenarian sexist Neanderthal Iranian ayatollahs who silence their own women for fear that the singular sound of their freedom would deafen them and the sight of their faces would blind them? These are human beings, after all, not trees falling in a forest that, since no one hears them falling, they do not exist. It is time for a new revolution in Iran and here, as well. It is past time for women to assume the role of other strong women in history: Devorah, Joan of Arc, Barbara Jordan. If religious types feel threatened, they should. That is the real role of women in modern times.

About the Author
Rachel Grenadier was an olah from the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2003 who returned to the United States in 2015. She really wanted to stay in Israel, but decided that having family members nearby was better for her health than a bunch of devoted, but crazed, Israeli friends who kept telling her hummous would cure her terminal heart condition. She has her B.A. and M.A. from George Mason University in Virginia and is the author of two books: the autobiographical "Israeli Men and Other Disasters" and "Kishon: The Story of Israel's Naval Commandoes and their Fight for Justice". She is now living in Virginia with her three Israeli psychologically-challenged cats and yet, denies being a "hoarder".
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