In old time newspaper jargon, the gutter is the strip between the two pages – the gutter press means something else.
In last Weekend’s Oz a short news story reported that Vida Movahed, 31, mother of a 20 month old daughter, had protested publicly, taking off her hijab and making a speech in Enghelab Street, Tehran on December 27.
Her actions came just before protests occurred, according to the news report, attacking the government and the regime for corruption.
Vida’s protest against the regime was both brave and provocative since wearing the headscarf is compulsory in Iran. Last month the authorities relented somewhat, directing that women who did not wear the hijab would not be summarily arrested.
Vida’s protest landed her in jail. Iran is a country that has hanged women.
Amnesty International, stirred into action, has called on the Iranian authorities to ‘immediately and unconditionally release’ Vida Movahed but apart from that, the story doesn’t seem to have made any waves.
Her’s was real bravery, worthy of an international campaign akin to #MeToo but somehow news of it slipped into the gutter, a short news story and the picture of a slim woman, dressed in dark clothing, holding aloft a stick on which is tied a white head scarf.
While the western sisterhood rages about real or imagined slights, gender discrimination and groping, one woman chose to make a lonely defiant protest in a public square.
Kemal Ataturk, the Turkish leader and reformer who pulled Turkey into the modern age from the cobwebbed old Ottoman Empire declared his mission to ban the veil, the symbol, he believed, of feudalism and subjugation.
Ataturk proclaimed that henceforth, only prostitutes would need to go veiled.
The day after his proclamation, every woman in Istanbul had unveiled her face.
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