One tough broad, &c.

Veiled women in Iran


My heart leapt when I read this story, and I hope it’s true. It seems impossible. But I’m choosing to believe it’s true.

Let’s begin: “An Iranian cleric said he was beaten by a woman in the northern province of Semnan after giving her a warning for being ‘badly covered,’ the state-run Mehr news agency reported.”

Interesting that it was in the Iranian press. Let’s have some more:

“Hojatoleslam Ali Beheshti said he encountered the woman in the street while on his way to the mosque in the town of Shahmirzad, and asked her to cover herself up, to which she replied ‘you, cover your eyes,’ according to Mehr. The cleric repeated his warning, which he said prompted her to insult and push him.”

Holy-moly, let’s keep going: “‘I fell on my back on the floor [ground?],’ Beheshti said in the report. ‘I don’t know what happened after that, all I could feel was the kicks of this woman who was insulting me and attacking me.’”

And get a load of this: “Beheshti said he was hospitalized for three days.”

That is one tough broad, living in an Islamofascist state. Can you picture it? “Cover up!” says the cleric. “No, you cover your eyes!” says the woman. He warns her again. Then she beats the tar out of him.

I hope it’s true. It was on the Internet. How can it not be true?

I spied a headline — “Assailants throw grenade into Paris kosher store” — and had a memory. (To read the story under the just-quoted headline, go here.)

It was in the early ’80s. I was just learning about things, getting a feel for the world (in its wideness). There was at least one big bombing in Paris — on the Rue des Rosiers, I think, in the Marais district. Where the Jews lived. (I don’t think they do anymore.) The French police seemed — I don’t know: kind of lackadaisical. I hope I’m not doing an injustice to the police. I’m going from memory here.

And Menachem Begin, in Jerusalem, said something like the following: “If the French state can’t protect those Jews, I will” — meaning in Paris itself, not if they moved to Israel.

This was just bravado, certainly. Still, I was kind of impressed with it. (We were all supposed to hate Begin. We were all taught that. He was a terrorist and a Hitler and all the rest of it. I learned to unhate him. I loved him.)

I think I’ve mentioned before in this space that I’m of two minds about this “stolen valor” business. On one hand, it’s wrong to lie about military medals. On the other, it’s wrong to lie period. Protected speech and all that.

I think I’ve mentioned another matter in this space too: When I was a youngster, following Congress, and politics generally, I was fascinated by votes that were like 416 to 3, 428 to 4, 419 to 1 — stuff like that. I wanted to know who the lone dissenters were, and why they had dissented. News articles rarely told you that.

On checking, I would often find that the little group consisted of a couple of black radicals — Ron Dellums, say — and maybe one or two white leftists, probably from the Northeast, and then Ron Paul.

Say there had been some resolution condemning terror against Israel. Dellums and the like would be voting against it because they supported terror against Israel. Paul would be voting against it because he didn’t think Congress should be passing any such resolutions.

Anyway, I was reading this article about the just-passed Stolen Valor Act. The vote was 410 to 3. So I just had to know about the three. I checked here: George Miller (leftist from California); Justin Amash (Republican from Michigan — never heard of, not being quite the student of Congress I once was); and Ron Paul.


Vladimir Putin has now kicked the U.S. Agency for International Development out of Russia. He is pressing the reset button, so to speak. He could not have liked USAID’s assistance to democracy groups.

And I can’t imagine his ousting of our agency will be unpopular — national pride is a powerful thing. I’ve told this story in Impromptus before: At a Davos meeting, Michael Dell, of Dell Computers, asked Putin what he and others could do to help Russian students get online.

Putin said (I paraphrase), “We don’t need any help. We are a strong country. Invalids need help, children need help, developing countries need help. Our computer experts are as good as anybody’s . . .”

The Russian journalists sitting around me whooped with pleasure. Yes, national pride can be a powerful thing. (I had to learn that later in life. Because I really never saw it in Americans — rather the opposite.)

Staying with Russia, did you see this story about the Orthodox deacon who resigned in protest against his church on the “Pussy Riot” matter? A fascinating story, from several angles — the human, the political, the religious, the psychological. The cultural.

That’s enough, I guess. Anyway, worth reading, when you have the time.