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Acknowledgment of the Iranian Women’s and Student’s Movements in Italy

Tuesday 6 April 2010


Feminist School:In the city of Poggibonsi, in Italy, a ceremony was held in commemoration of 19 partisan who were killed by Nazis in 1944 for the crime of defending their homeland. This ceremony is held annually on March 20 to honor and relate the experiences, sweet or bitter, of those young men.

In this year’s memorial ceremony, a great emphasis was placed on the Iranian movement, specifically the women’s and student’s movements. The mayor of the city, Ms. Lucia Coccheri, acknowledging the 19 brave partisans, talked about freedom and how much they all owe it to those brave men who died and sacrificed their life for it.

The mayor then talked about the Iranians’ peaceful struggle for freedom and democracy. She presented the memorial Plaque of the Partisans to Mostafa Khosravi from the Student Committee for the Strengthening of Unity, who had been living in Italy for several months, in support of the Iranian Movement. Mostafa Khosravi, in thanks, expressed his hope that one day, not too far ahead, they all would gather in Iran to commemorate the Partisan’s death for the sake of freedom.

The other part of the ceremony was devoted to the woman activists who had fought shoulder to shoulder with men during the last several months, the mayor acknowledged two of these women, Mansoureh Shojaei, a well-known activist of the women’s movement in Iran, and Neildeh Youti, the first women to become the speaker of the parliament in Italy.

Leone Carlo Steemly, the author of a book about Nielde Uouti, spoke about her.

Leonide Uotti , known as Nielde Uotti, is a famous Italian feminist, born in April 10. 1920 in Rajo-Emilia, in a Catholic family. She completed her higher education in Catholic University in Milan. She abandoned her teaching position to join anti Fascists’ movement. Soon she founded a group to support women against Fascism. She elected to parliament in 1946. In November 1999, she resigned from the parliament just a few days before her death due to a chronic illness.

Nielde Uotti in 1979 was the first woman elected as speaker of the parliament and remained in that position until 1992.

To honor Mansoureh Shojaei, Professor Laura Mattei, from the Historical Institute of the Resistance of the City of Siena was the speaker. She talked about her struggle and her efforts for women’s rights and gender equality in Iran as well as her writings in cultural and social fields. She also expressed her pleasure that she can use these occasions to echo the issues of women rights. Finally, she declared that women’s rights issues are interconnected among all the nations and that she would be willing to use her position to help them.

Sabri Najafi, one of the Iranian women’s rights activists who was invited to represent Mansoureh Shojaie and the Iranian women’s movement, talked about the history of these movements over the past three decades—the Campaign for One Millions Signatures, Mourning Mothers, and Mansoureh Shojaie’s long term activities on women’s issues. She also talked about the Cultural Center for Women and the Sedigheh Dolatabadi Library, of which Mansoureh was a founder. Her activity and contributions to the Campaign for One Million Signatures, Museum of Women, and Mobile Libraries for the remote parts of Iran—Mansoureh participated and contributed fully in all these. She also talked about the online site of Feminist School which Mansoureh, along with Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani, are operating. In spite of being repeatedly filtered by the government, this site is well-visited and is a great source of news and articles regarding the women.

While mentioning various problems that Iranian women are facing regarding their rights and legal, political and social issues, Sabri Najafi talked about Mansoureh being barred from traveling, her arrest on December 29, 2009 for the second time, and, her release after being in prison for one month on $250, 000bail at present. She added that Mansoureh and other brave Iranian women not only are a source of honor for Iranians, but for women the world over.

In conclusion, a short message from Mansoureh Shojaie, addressed to the mayor and the freedom-loving women of Poggibonsi was read. In this message she said:

‘2009 began in great hope and excitement among the various social and political groups. The striking presence of people, tired of and frustrated with pressures and hardships, hoping to attain peace, security and better life, joined the established and well-known activists, produced the most extraordinary social movements in Iran’s history ever. The advancement of these activities lead to the tsunami of the Green Movement that enriched society like a social treasure in which the overwhelming presence of various groups of women, particularly the Cooperation of Women Movement In Respect to Women’s Demands in the Election, constituted an essential part.

But alas, those Iranian women, who were the most influential forces in creation of the social and civil movements through their peaceful and practical activities and theoretical views in forming coalitions, particularly the Campaign for One Million Signatures, became the target of brutal attacks after the election. One died, one was arrested and locked up in Evin or another prison. One lost her job, another was barred from traveling. One was forced to migrate, another was made vagrant. One lived in hiding, away from her home and family, and other continued her struggle just to encourage the rest…”

At the end of her message, Mansoureh Shojaei send her greetings for Nowrooz , wished that hardship, and violence would end and be replaced with the warmth and compassion achieved in a world of equality.

Translated by :Mina Siegel

source in Persian:

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