Still traveling for work. A few quick things:
(1) After 2 1/2 months of protests in Iran, the regime says it is “reviewing” the mandatory hijab law. Will this be enough to put an end to widespread popular anger? Or will it just be “a band-aid on a wooden leg”? https://www.timesofisrael.com/amid-deadly-protests-iran-says-mandatory-hijab-law-under-review/
The hijab headscarf became obligatory for all women in Iran in April 1983, four years after the 1979 revolution that overthrew the US-backed monarchy.
“Both parliament and the judiciary are working” on the issue of whether the law needs any changes, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said in the holy city of Qom.
Quoted on Friday by the ISNA news agency, he did not specify what could be modified in the law.
The review team met on Wednesday with parliament’s cultural commission “and will see the results in a week or two,” the attorney general said. […]
After the hijab law became mandatory, with changing clothing norms it became commonplace to see women in tight jeans and loose, colorful headscarves.
But in July this year Raisi, an ultra-conservative, called for mobilization of “all state institutions to enforce the headscarf law.”
Many women continued to bend the rules, however.
(2) The Dutch Algemeen Dagblad had a screeching headline saying Trump called for the overthrow of the constitution. They of course could not be bothered with quoting him directly, let alone quoting him in context.
What Trump actually said is nothing of the sort — even as he continues to prove that he is his own worst enemy. Here are his actual words, via Byron York on Twitter. We quote, you decide.
If he insists on making 2024 about refighting 2020, he will end up with just a small hard core of supporters — who may follow him in a third-party bid, which is a prospect the [anti-]Democratic party are positively salivating about.
(3) Traveling around my native Lowlands and speaking with people outside the “academia bubble”: I was not surprised that an undercurrent of resentment existed against virtue-signaling “green” and “climate” policies — only by its red-hot intensity. Many of these were people getting squeezed between smallish fixed incomes or salaries and inflation that is easily three times the CPI adjustments based on the (artificially lowballed) official CPI — and especially drastically rising energy bills, which could have been avoided even during the Ukraine war without hare-brained “nuclear exits” and reliance on unreliable “renewables”.
Distaste for what is perceived as the “obsession with promoting” the ever-expanding categories of “alphabet people” (local code-speak for LGBTQWERTYUIOP) adds to things; the clear sense that many of the so-called “betters” dictating government policy are not only not experts, but not even very clever, piles on more. Increasing sense of unsafety in certain areas — it’s apparently come to the point that tickets on trains are only rarely checked anymore, as ticket-checkers are wary of physical confrontations with violent free-riders.
My interlocutors made a point of saying they had no quarrel with people of other ethnic origins or s3xual orientations — only with the political weaponization of them against the majority population.
If elections were held in Flanders today, for instance, the far-right Flemish Interest (formerly “Flemish Bloc”) and the conservative nationalist N-VA (New Flemish Alliance) would together constitute a majority. Judging from conversations I’ve had over the weekend, the people who are thinking of voting for them, or who say “a year of this is the only way things can get cleaned up here”, are not racist, nor extreme right-wingers, nor even particularly conservative (at least by the standards of ten years ago). I wouldn’t want to feed all those who described themselves as “recovering former socialists”.
As the AJC’s Daniel Schwammenthal put it many years ago, and was (to my surprise) cited by local politician Jean-Pierre Dedecker to this effect: if responsible parties keep ignoring a festering problem, don’t be surprised if you see irresponsible parties taking advantage by offering to address it.
UPDATE [hat tip: Yves not-Cohen]: multiple papers (e.g., India Today, quoting AFP) report that the Iranian Attorney-General Montaseri has declared today that Iran will disband the “morality police”.
Iran has scrapped its morality police after more than two months of protests triggered by the arrest of Mahsa Amini for allegedly violating the country’s strict female dress code, local media said Sunday.
Women-led protests, labelled “riots” by the authorities, have swept Iran since the 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin died on September 16, three days after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran.
“Morality police have nothing to do with the judiciary” and have been abolished, Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.
His comment came at a religious conference where he responded to a participant who asked “why the morality police were being shut down”, the report said.
The morality police — known formally as the Gasht-e Ershad or “Guidance Patrol” — were established under hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to “spread the culture of modesty and hijab”, the mandatory female head covering.
The unit began patrols in 2006.
The announcement of their abolition came a day after Montazeri said that “both parliament and the judiciary are working (on the issue)” of whether the law requiring women to cover their heads needs to be changed.
President Ebrahim Raisi said in televised comments Saturday that Iran’s republican and Islamic foundations were constitutionally entrenched “but there are methods of implementing the constitution that can be flexible”.