“If you want to know how free and open a society is, look at how free its women are”. Azar Nafisi, Iranian writer and author of the famous book Read Lolita in Tehran (Adelphi) in an interview a few days ago at Corriere della Sera launched a reflection on the rights of women violated in totalitarian countries, where women are often among the subjects that are targeted first. Nafisi left Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and lives in the United States.
Answering the question of whether there are differences between the Taliban’s violence against women in Afghanistan and the condition of women in Iran, Azar Nafisi tells Viviana Mazza, reporter for the Courier service: “There are huge differences but also similarities. Totalitarian forces often conquer with violence and it is no coincidence that women are often their first target. If you want to know how free and open a society is, look at how free its women are ”.
“Women, their culture and their history”, he explains, “are the prime target of forces like the Taliban.” For the writer, women “are attacked because they represent an alternative vision of the identity of these countries”. She adds: “The Taliban in Afghanistan and the institutions of the Islamic Republic in Iran claim to represent local culture and history, but if you look at the historical battles of women you realize that this is completely false.”
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