Women are told that they can do it all. They can have a profession, a family, and a life of their own. They can be engineers, CEOs, even fight for our country on the front lines during war. Yet, tributes to motherhood neglect ways in which they can honor the diversity that motherhood has come to represent.
We have much to learn from The Caravan of Peace and the likes of Khaira Arby and Songhoy Blues. As in Mali, there is no shortage of political and economic oppression in the United States. Considering the ever-growing celebration and extension of ignorance, intolerance, hate and social violence, the prospect for our future generates no small measure of fear.
Whenever anyone of us is diminished, we are all demeaned, when anyone or any group remains institutionally and socially stigmatized, marginalized, excluded, or disenfranchised, when violence comes down upon any of us, the possibility for authentic community cannot be realized unless and until we challenge it in truly transformational ways.
For Nasrin the headscarf transcends aesthetics, it is a symbol of the Islamic Republic itself. A symbol of that which reduces her to something that she is not. A symbol of something that can quite literally smother her identity. Only in the alcoves of this rigid regime, such as the corner of her friend's café, could she be herself.
On my second night in Iran, I was invited to a party in a middle-class area of Tehran. Since we were a mixed gendered group with a foreigner in their midst, we had to be reasonably inconspicuous. As soon as we stepped over the threshold of the house, however, we were no longer in the Islamic Republic.