EoF launches second reading marathon for women in Iran and Afghanistan

The Economy of Francesco, the worldwide movement of economists and young people initiated by Pope Francis to promote a fairer and more inclusive economy e, organizes a second mobilization in support of Iranian and Afghan women’s rights.

By Lisa Zengarini

As the crackdown on peaceful protests in Iran continue, young people  of the Economy of Francesco (EoF) are  organizing a second reading marathon on Saturday to express their ongoing solidarity with Iranian women, and also with the Afghan women enduring violence and discrimination by the Taliban regime.

The first mobilization for Iran took place on December 7, 2022, when 28 young people  connected on online from different countries to read the famous collection of oriental folktales ‘One Thousand and One Nights’, in their respective languages, in response to a call by Iranian activists.

According to the legend, the tales were told by Shahrazad to her husband the sultan for 1,001 nights to put an end to his killings of his new wives after the first wife betrayed him. So, Shahrazad saved other women and herself, by telling a new story every night.

Today EoF is inviting its members to organize a reading of some of the tales in their respective towns, followed by a public discussion on what is happening in Iran and Afghanistan.

Crackdown of protests for women's rights in Iran

Iran has been swept by protests since September 2022, when Kurdish 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died while in the custody of the morality police. Started by women in Kurdish Iran, demonstrations have spread across the country asking for an  end  to  the strict religious rules imposed on women by the current theoctratic regime. Protestors have faced a brutal crackdown from the Iranian government, with hundreds killed, injured, or jailed. Several have been reportedly tortured in prison and others have been sentenced to death.

Afghan women under the Taliban regime

Meanwhile, the situation of women in Afghanistan continues to worsen. Since their takeover in August 2021,  the ruling Taliban have introduced and enforced some of the worst gender-based discriminatory policies seen anywhere in the world. Women have been restricted from social life, including employment, all female government employees fired, and and girls banned from secondary schools and universities, making Afghanistan he only country in the world where girls are excluded from education because of their gender.

According to a statement, the new EoF’s initiative is aimed at making the voices of these women heard and at ensuring they are not forgotten.

“Today every social and political issue is removed only a few days after it breaks out on the news,” the organizers explain. “This is why we need to be vigilant, like watchpersons to monitor a problem that (perhaps) has no immediate solution, but on which we cannot turn our backs”.

Making Afghan and Iranian women's voice heard

“We feel the duty to be by the side of Iranian and Afghan women who are fighting for their freedom and of all the young people who are trying to build a better future”, continues the statement, remarking that the narrative device of 'One Thousand and One Nights' reminds us of the liberating power of words and that storytelling is a way of defeating death . “By using it, we celebrate the fundamental right to express oneself, to protest, to defend and fight for life, rights and freedom".

Several cities across the world, including a number of Italian cities, have joined the EoF reading marathon,  involving associations, schools, movements, and individual citizens.


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28 January 2023, 17:10