Elnaz Rekabi is missing. She is a climber from Iran who was recently in South Korea for the International Federation of Sport Climbing’s Asian Championship. On Sunday, she competed without a headscarf and then subsequently disappeared. The BBC is reporting that Rekabi posted on Instagram, stating that the scarf fell off accidentally during the climb and apologizing for causing any concern.
The story also notes that Rana Rahimpour, who works for BBC World Service, remarked that the statement may have been written under duress. One source reportedly told the BBC that Rekabi’s passport and phone were taken from her and that she left her hotel two days ahead of schedule in the company of an Iranian official.
Shohreh Bayat, an Iranian woman who was a referee at the Women’s World Chess Championship in Shanghai two years ago and received death threats when it appeared she had forgone a hijab, told the BBC:
“I had to choose my side because I was asked to write an apology on Instagram and to apologise publicly. I was given a list of things to do. I knew that if I just followed those things that I did not believe in, if I apologised for not wearing a headscarf, then I could not forgive myself.”
Bayat said that the headscarf had merely been loose. She subsequently sought asylum in the United Kingdom. She is currently calling on the international community to respond to the violence by the Iranian government in enforcing the hijab mandate by clerics there. The UN Human Rights Office has said that it is deeply concerned about the matter, noting that 23 children may have been killed and others injured as a result of the crackdown.
All of those children and women have souls, names, and stories, just like Rekabi and Bayat. And while the hijab issue has been making headlines recently, this is, sadly enough, only the latest development in a long, long, line of similar stories that have not only involved women but homosexuals and religious minorities. And for years, while activists and certain organizations have spoken out, many in power remain silent. These people are victims of oppressive laws and power-hungry regimes and religious extremism.
And I can hear it now, so please do not start. “What about Dobbs?” Well, in the first place, Dobbs returned the matter of abortion to the states and did not outlaw it. And if we are to be brutally honest, abortion is an act of violence. It may be an act of violence that certain people agree with, but it is an act of violence all the same. And the aborted child had a soul and would have had a name and story. Incidents of rape, incest, and health aside, the taking of life is still the taking of life, and the act damages all involved.
Abortion is a choice, but despite what the media and the government believe, it is not the only choice and not necessarily the most heroic one. And a cursory reading of the news will show that the government has been increasingly proactive and punitive over the years in promoting and enforcing abortion as opposed to allowing organizations to present alternatives. Dobbs will likely be circumvented or neutralized one way or another.
But what about trans rights and all of the evil people trying to who are enforcing their Judeo-Christian values? Well, what about a child’s right to grow up without being sexualized, fetishized, or told that they must be another gender or even no gender at all? Why is promoting that message good while expressing the view that children should grow up without the burden of sexual issues an evil one? Is it a matter of recruitment? Self-gratification no matter the consequences to the child?
We should be extremely concerned with the fate of Elnaz Rekabi and every woman and girl in Iran. But as Robert Spencer pointed out, the Squad tip-toed around the issue, and Rick Moran noted that Biden took five weeks to finally come up with a response to the violence being inflicted on Iranian women and girls. And if we go back in time two administrations, Barack Obama was pretty much silent when it came to supporting the Green Movement. People have been suffering in Iran for years. Is it not “expedient” to hold the country responsible?
In some ways, someone could construe all of these things as complicated, and both sides could spend hours hurling insults, invective, and maybe the occasional solutions at one another. But the problem comes down to the question of power and the fact in that in too many cases certain lives matter only to some people when it is politically expedient.
The truth is, much to the dismay of the social justice warriors, all lives do matter. That includes the unborn, and it includes Elnaz Rekabi. And it includes every one of us. Elnaz is a person, not a national symbol, and not property. The U.S. should have been paying attention to people like Shohreh Bayat and Slater Bakhtavar years ago. As it is now, the West seems to be barely acknowledging the issue. There is nothing complicated about life, dignity, and humanity. And it is always the right time to champion those things.