[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
By OTTO POHL
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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