Tuesday, June 16, 2009


When you close your eyes can you conjure up the first time your olfactory senses registered a really beautiful perfume?

Were you four or five years old when scent took up your imagination, was it worn by a grandmother, or can you remember your mother sweeping up a delicate bottle from her dressing table and spritzing each wrist? Did your mother dab a little behind your ears, or were you a small boy enveloped in her fragrance as she kissed you goodnight?

Now imagine a hardline, Islamic society where perfume and makeup equates to the arsenal of seduction forbidden by their overly strict interpretation of the Koran, or the use of alcohol as a fixative in fragrance means that you have just doused yourself in the equivalent of pure whisky. Have you just brushed your freshly washed hair and relish the thought of it hanging loose around your shoulders, or have you added a smudge of lipstick to your lips because it makes you happy?

Now think of the women in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan for whom these simple actions of feminity are fraught with risk.
In the last week, I have watched as valiant young Iranian women, counting on safety in numbers, took to the streets and marched for the politics in which they believe, and wish to openly and loudly support - I applauded, but also felt a prickle of fear for them. Many threw off their head scarves, donned green head bands and applied a defiant slash of colour to their lips. As Twitter now brings us firsthand news of the violent reprisals following the suspect results of the elections in Iran, I ponder on how the women will protect themselves against retribution for their momentary feminist stance.

I await with trepidation, the resurgence of the anomynity afforded by the burqa, the quiet retreat to the veil that shrouds identity and protects the men of their families. For this independent and political statement made by women in Iran, will most probably lead to punishment not just of them, but of their menfolk for failing to control the women of their households. I feel such sadness and inevitablity as I imagine lipsticks being hidden in wall cavities, or bottles of fragrance disappearing down toilets and the concealment of those bright green headbands that shouted "we have an opinion and we want change".
As you apply your splash of fragrance today, or freshen your lipstick as automatically and as freely as you walk out your door after choosing a bright outfit and sassy shoes to go with your freshly blow dried hair - think of the women of Iran for whom the future is so unsure and so lacking in the freedoms and choices we take for granted.


Think green, think freedom, think solidarity.



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Dear Debbie,
    I am rather perplexed why you would promote your own blog on my page (blogspot) with a link to your work. I also suspect that you haven't bothered to read the rest of my content, but simply decided to concentrate only on the Iran column re women. Your comments via a link to your own blog make not a lot of sense. I consider them incendiary and rather one dimensional. "boy are you wrong" is hardly articulate. Debate I'm all for, but puerile images not really. In future, you are very welcome to visit or comment on my blog, but kindly please refrain from posting links which is really self-promotion. For the record, I was born in Australia, I am French Jewish, from my mother's side, mixed with Chinese, Irish, English and spent some years as a royal Princess in an Islamic Household and found it not to my liking at all and I sought divorce (I was married at 17). I paid the ultimate price seven years after my divorce when my former husband, Prince Bahrin, kidnapped both my children from Australia where we had been living peacefully and I was a broadcaster on television. He justified his actions as his own personal Jihad agains the infidel - me. I was not to see, speak, or even receive a letter from my children for 14 years. Amongst other pursuits during that time, I worked in Africa, The Balkans and many other war zones, as Special Ambassador for CARE International - I drove trucks, ran feeding stations and delivered the odd baby in refugee camps. An author, I have written three books, Once I was a Princess, Since I was a Princess, and Abducted (Mainstream/Random House UK), I am published in 27 languages around the globe. My children eventually managed to make their way back to me in 2006.

    So, having lived, suffered, lost and worked in so many geographically diverse areas of Islam, I venture to say that the 'boy are you wrong' comment left by you on my blog is rather subjective given my personal insights and experience!
    Jacqueline Pascarl.