[Marxism] Iranian Female Speed Racer Wins Championship

M. Junaid Alam mjunaidalam at msalam.net
Sat May 14 12:22:32 MDT 2005


  room-Vroom, She Said to the Doubters



LALEH SEDDIGH stepped on the gas, cut off a truck and blasted her 
Peugeot between two other cars. "I prefer to drive by myself," she said, 
seeing her passenger steadying himself with a hand on the dash. "In case 
something happens - it's a very big responsibility."

With that, she broke around a blue pickup, accelerated past an 
Oldsmobile and swerved onto an offramp, past a billboard of Ayatollah 
Khomeini and a 30 kilometer an hour speed-limit sign, doing 80 k.p.h., 
or just under 50 miles an hour.

Ms. Seddigh loves speed. She also loves a challenge. Last fall, she 
petitioned the national auto racing federation in this male-dominated 
society for permission to compete against men. When it was granted, she 
became not only the first woman in Iran to race cars against the 
opposite sex, but also the first woman since the Islamic Revolution here 
to compete against men in any sport.

What's more, she beat them.

"I like competition in everything," the striking 28-year-old said after 
parking the car and going for tiramisù in a cafe in North Tehran. "I 
have to move whatever is movable in the world."

In March, she moved the nation when she won the national championship. 
State television refused to show the new champ on the victory dais 
elevated above the men, but photographers captured the moment. She stood 
quietly while receiving her medal, as she had promised the race 
organizers she would, with a scarf over her long black hair and a coat 
over her racing uniform.

Ms. Seddigh is a lively, energetic symbol of a whole generation of young 
Iranians who are increasingly testing social boundaries. Seventy percent 
of Iranians are under 35, and they have gently pushed for, and received, 
freedoms unimaginable even a few years ago. For women in Tehran, at 
least, head scarves are often brightly colored and worn loosely over the 
hair. The obligatory women's overcoats are now often tight and short.


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