Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Above The Melee
Women's rugby in Iran. Who'd a thunk it? Problems include the uniform:
All women must cover their heads and bodily contours in Iran. The rugby field is no exception.
The players dart around the pitch wearing the maghnaeh, a garment that fully covers the head, shoulders, and neck, as well as a loose blue waistcoat, long-sleeved dark T-shirts, and loose tracksuit trousers.
As well as the male coach:
Advising the team on how to tackle, he keeps a decent distance away from the women, and then instructs one of the players to demonstrate how to grab an opponent rather than carrying out the move himself.
According to Iran's Islamic rules, members of the opposite sex cannot touch each other unless they are married couples or immediate members of a family.
But the sport -- as well as women's athletics in general, introduced during the reformist 90's -- is catching on.
It strikes me as intuitively obvious that the more freedoms women gain in a country like Iran, the more likely it is we'll find common ground. So our policies towards Tehran really should be geared towards facilitating the Iranian moderates' return to power. Unfortunately, the gist of the current debate on Iran is limited to the nuclear standoff, instead of considering the larger context of how our two countries can co-exist.
With that in mind, I'd love to see one of the Democratic candidates formulate a list of concrete steps Iran could take, independent of the nuclear dossier, in order to establish diplomatic relations with the US, as well as areas of co-operation that we might develop. There's been so much discussion of what sort of stick to wield against Tehran, and too little about what sort of carrots we can offer.