Month: <span>October 2022</span>

Piaget's Project Appeals

Completing Piaget’s Project. Transpersonal Philosophy and the Future of…

Featured Image Jean Piaget By Roland Zumbühl of Picswiss as part of a cooperation project. Wikimedia Commons.

Edward J. Dale. Completing Piaget’s Project. Transpersonal Philosophy and the Future of Psychology.

(St.Paul, MN: Paragon House Publishers, 2014)

Edward J. Dale has written a very useful overview of the intellectual currents in trans-personal psychology;  a broad field in which different practitioners use different terms for roughly the same approach:  Robert Assagioli – psychosynthesis, Ken Wilber – integral consciousness, Abraham Maslow – the farther reaches of human nature, Marilyn Ferguson – the Aquarian conspiracy. Dale provides an extensive bibliography of authors.

Therefore; there are at least two journals which specialize in trans-personal research:  Journal of Humanistic Psychology, founded in 1961 and the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology founded in 1969.

Roberto Assagioli

 Photo of Roberto Assaglioli, M.D. – Taken from the book ‘ Psychosynthesis (1965) By U3195247, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Roberto Assagioli: The Will as a Road to the Higher Self.

Psychoactive Substances.

All the trans-personal authors hold that it is very likely that the ability to develop trans-personal capacities is universal;  under the right developmental conditions. However, these trans-personal characteristics have been developed in many societies and are found in shamanism, in induced trance states, in contemplative prayer-meditation, in the use of natural psychoactive substances; and in more recent times in the use of LSD in psychedelic research.

Nevertheless; there is a possibility of a rapid and widespread emergence of trans-personal consciousness in the near future;  as an increasing number of people undertake spiritual practices of meditation, tantra, Zen, kundalini and other self-development techniques.

Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber. By Kanzeon Zen Center, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Trans-Personal Psychology.

There are basically three avenues leading to current trans-personal psychology. 

The first is a development growing out of therapeutic work. Assagioli began in the Freudian mode;  being the first translator of Freud’s writings into Italian. His work with clients showed that there were deeper aspects of the personality than Freud had stressed;  and thus a need to find therapeutic techniques,  which reached these deeper layers.  Much the same holds true for Abraham Maslow.

A second avenue has been from that of academic research and experimentation;  such as the work of Stanislav Grof, author of The stormy search for the self.

The third avenue  has been the presence of Asian teachers of meditation;  who came to Europe and the USA: the Tibetans after the 1959 flight from Tibet;  and the voluntary departure from India of yoga teachers and from Japan for Zen.

Stanislav Grof

 Stanislav Grof, psychologist and psychiatrist. By Anton Nosik, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Completing Piaget’s Project.

The value of Dale’s book is in its subtitle Transpersonal Philosophy and the Future of Psychology.  What can be confusing to readers is the title of the book Completing Piaget’s Project. Dale draws on an extended poem La mission de l’Idee;  written when Piaget was 19 and published in the French-speaking Swiss Protestant youth journal;  and his only novel Recherche;  written when he was 20 and trying to organize ideas from his college studies; his wide reading and his personal experiences of psychic events and their impact on his body. 

The poem and the novel do have trans-personal elements;  as well as reflecting debates going on at the time in the Swiss Protestant churches;  between more liberal and conservative currents. However; Piaget’s “project” linked to the creation of the League of Nations; and carried out from the 1920s in Geneva is not analyzed.


The League of Nations.

Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was born and educated in the French-speaking canton of Neuchatel.  He was a brilliant student;  and at an early age started writing articles for nature and wildlife journals.  He became active in the Young Socialists League and a militant for peace. He was influenced by the destructive violence of the 1914-1918 war.  Many children from France were sent to Neuchatel to take them out of harms way.

At the end of his university studies in Neuchatel;  he went to Paris to work with Alfred Binet on the early IQ tests to measure intelligence. After a couple of years;  he returned to Geneva to teach and do research in an institute devoted to education: l’Institut Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Piaget came to Geneva just as the League of Nations was starting at the end of 1922. Piaget hoped as did many others;  that the League would establish a peaceful world society. Piaget’s project was born in the intellectual currents stimulated by the League of Nations.

League of Nations

 Image: Stanley Bruce chairing the League of Nations Council in 1936. Joachim von Ribbentrop is addressing the council. By Commonwealth of Australia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The League of Nations and its unused Peace Army.

A Peaceful World Society.

His project was to build a peaceful world society;  by developing education for peace that aimed at the full development of the person.  This had to begin with the very start of education in primary school;  and strengthened through education in secondary school.

In order to create primary education that would fulfill this aim;  one had to understand how children learn.  Thus,  began his life-long investigation of the sequences of learning – when does awareness of shapes, colors, numbers, relations to others and a moral sense arise.

However; a world at peace could not be created only by having good education in the primary schools of Geneva.  There had to be a world-wide improvement of primary education;  by bringing advanced child-development knowledge to the attention of educators the world over;  in particular to the Ministries of Education;  which had the responsibility for educational policy  and content.

Alfred Binet

Alfredo Benet Junior (July 11, 1857 – October 18, 1911). By Unidentified photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Rockefeller Foundation.

Thus, in the spirit of the League of Nations; Piaget and some of his Geneva colleagues created the International Bureau of Education in 1924;  which Piaget headed for nearly 40 years.  Intellectually, it was related to the League of Nations and brought together;  usually once every two years, the Ministers of Education of the League members to discuss curriculum and teaching methods influenced by research being undertaken. 

The Bureau was largely financed by the Rockefeller Foundation. Since the USA had refused League membership and so did not contribute to the League’s budget;  much of the intellectual efforts of the League were financed by the Rockefeller Foundation including the impressive Library;  which is part of the League’s Palais des Nations.

After the Second World War;  the Bureau continued its work of conferences for Ministers of Education as an independent organization, always with Piaget as director.  In 1964, the Bureau was administratively incorporated into UNESCO but remained in Geneva.

The Same Learning Sequences.

The International Bureau of Education, housed in the Palais Wilson; the original League Secretariat offices, Piaget’s separate office building and the experimental primary school;  that served for observations were just across the street from my office as professor and Director of Research of the Graduate Institute of Development Studies. 

We would often eat or have coffee in the same places. Of course, I knew who Piaget was and would say “hello”, but I interacted with his team of researchers,  who were more my age. They were working on observations in Africa and Asia to see if the same learning sequences that Piaget had observed for Geneva children were true in other cultures as well. Their findings were that the sequences were the same; but the ages at which they took place differed due to child-raising patterns in Africa and Asia.

Institute International_Bureau_of_Education_-_UNESCO

International Bureau of Education – UNESCO @ Le Grand-Saconnex. By Guilhem Vellut from Annecy, France, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Contribution of Education to World Peace.

Piaget’s project of peace through improved primary and secondary school education has not yet been fulfilled.  UNESCO has a major program “Education for Global Citizenship“. The teachers’ manuals for the UNESCO program owe much to Piaget’s research.

While Dale’s book has many interesting elements and is a useful overview of trans-personal efforts. I think that it is a mistake to try to transform Piaget into a forerunner of trans-personal approaches;  and to neglect the heart of Piaget’s project: the contribution of education to world peace.

Transformation of Education

 Image: Image by Ian Ingalula from Pixabay.

Peacebuilding and the Transformation of Education.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Rural Women Day Appeals

Day of Rural Women.

Featured Image: Photo by Gyan Shahane on Unsplash.

15 October is the United Nations-designated International Day of Rural Women.  It is a day to highlight the critical role that women play in the food chain: in production, storage, marketing, and finally the preparation of food for the family.

United Nations

Image: Photo by Brandi Alexandra on Unsplash.

The United Nations as One.

As the Indian woman sociologist, Bina Agarwal, has written.

“The typical rural woman works twelve to fifteen hours a day – gathering firewood and water, growing food, collecting fodder and tending domestic animals, cooking, cleaning and caring for children and the sick or elderly.  In severely deforested areas, it may take her four or five hours just to gather enough wood to cook the evening meal.”

Thus rural women’s roles as managers of their environment and providers for their family must be fully recognized, valued, and supported.  Increasing women’s access to income, credit, land titles and other resources is essential to eradicating poverty and improving welfare.

However, in many parts of the world, the basic rural biological systems – forests, grasslands, croplands, and rivers are deteriorating due to a variety of factors: population pressure, overuse, excessive production for export, and pollution. The causes for this deterioration will vary from one micro-region to another.

Bina Agarwal

Bina Agarwal, receiving a Balzan Prize on 17 November 2017, in Bern (Switzerland). By Peter Mosimann, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Promoting gender equality is an important aspect of a development strategy that seeks to enable all people.

Therefore, it is important to look at some of the blocks and drawbacks that prevent better food production and to analyse the persistent inequalities and discrimination that women face at the village level.  Promoting gender equality is an important aspect of a development strategy that seeks to enable all people – women and men alike – to improve their standard of living.

Modification of age-old patterns of agriculture, forest management, and the herding of animals is difficult. Changes to meet larger populations and to prevent harmful uses of land takes time and skilful education methods.  There is a need to present information in ways that people can use in as short a time as possible.  Education must be coupled with ways of organizing for community cooperation and participation in decision-making.

Today, half of the world’s population live in cities and larger towns (25,000 or more).

    Rural aspirations are also expressed in mobility.  Throughout the world, there is migration from rural areas to cities and larger towns.  Will these rural hopes be channelled into creative social transformation or will rural migrants swell the slums and shantytowns there to dwell in despair?  What has been the experiences to prepare rural youth for urban life and to help return of youth from urban to rural areas?

Today, half of the world’s population live in cities and larger towns (25,000 or more) The movement of people from the countryside into cities is a demographic trend that is likely to continue into the future.  As a result, the rural areas of a country are often not a high political prioroty, and rural women even less.  Thus the International Day of Rural Women should be a time to consider in depth the challenges facing rural women and the ways to meet these challenges.


René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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Richard St. Barbe Baker Rapprochement of Cultures.

Richard St. Barbe Baker: The Life of the Forests

Featured Image. Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash.

By Rene Wadlow.

Today, there is a growing awareness that cooperation is required to protect and manage integrated ecosystems which cross national frontiers.  This is particularly important in the case of forest management.  Trans-frontier conservation cooperation, in which two or more States cooperate in the management and the conservation of forests has increased a good deal in recent years.

Much of this effort is due to the work of world citizen Richard St. Barbe Baker.  From the late 1920s to the early 1980s, Richard St. Barbe Baker traveled the globe, warning of the dangers of forest destruction, forest clear-cutting, and the greedy waste of natural resources.

We had supper together in Geneva in 1964, and he recounted his experiences in the Sahara trying to prevent the southward movement of the desert toward the Sahel  States.  He told me of his adventures in the Sahara with a European driver who wanted to kill himself by pushing  the team to its limits.  Fortunately, St. Barbe Baker, who had a deep spiritual base, was able to convince his teammate that life was worth living.  Even without wanting to kill oneself, the study of the Sahara was difficult.  St. Barbe Baker tell the story in his book Sahara Challenge (1954).

Sand dunes of Erg Awbari (Idehan Ubari) in the Sahara desert region of the Category:Wadi Al Hayaa District, of the Fezzan region in southwestern Libya. By I, Luca Galuzzi, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.

Men of the Trees.

Richard St. Barbe Baker was born 9 October 1880 in Southhampton, England and learned the art of planting trees from his father, a Protestant minister devoted to the conservation of Nature.  After his studies at Cambridge University and service in the British Army in the First World War, he went to the then British colony of Kenya and began his work on forestry protection.  He first worked among the Kikuyu, a major tribe which already had ceremonies to be in harmony with the forests and the trees. He recognized their value and methods protecting and sustaining the forests.

In 1922, he created the society “Men of the Trees” which is the group most associated with his efforts.  He stressed that there is a need for conservation of genetic resources, wise management and utilization of existing natural forests with due regard to their long-term productivity.

Baker stressed the need to view the earth as a living whole and described the role that trees played in regulating weather, conserving soil, and regulating rivers.

In the introduction to the republication of his book My Life My Trees, Peter Caddy of the Findhorn community wrote:

Here is the life of an Earth healer, struggling against apathy, indifference and plain greed – a man ahead of his time …If one man can do so much, what coundn’t we achieve if all of us worked together.” (1)

Subsistence Forestry .

Skillful conservation and management of forests is vital to people who practice “subsistence forestry”.  In subsistence forestry, trees and tree products are used for fuel, food, medicine, house and fence poles and agricultural implements.  In some cultures, before taking anything from a tree, an offering is given, thus making an exchange.

For those of us who do not live from subsistence forestry, there is still the need to pay close attention to trans-frontier conservation which plays an essential role in the protection of ecosystems.  These areas provide possibilities for promoting biodiversity and sustainable uses across politically-divided ecosystems.

Plaque marking a tree planted by St Barbe Baker in PowerscourtEnniskerryIreland. By User:SeamusSweeney, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.


1) Richard St. Barbe Baker. My Life My Trees (Forres: Findhorn, 1985).

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Vaclav Havel Book Reviews

Vaclav Havel: Resistance and Vision.

Vaclav Havel on Wenceslas Square on November 17, 2009. By Ben Skála, CC BY-SA 2.5 <>, via Wikimedia Commons.

He rejects the ritual and breaks the rules of the game.  He discovers once more his suppressed identity and dignity.  He gives his freedom a concrete significance.  His revolt is an attempt tolive within the truth”

Vaclav Havel.

The Czechoslovak Government.

Vaclav Havel, whose birth anniversary we note on 5 October, he was first noted for his resistance to  a repressive government; as one of the writers; and first signers of Charter 77; demanding that the Czechoslovak Government; implement the human rights; it claimed to uphold in signing; the 1975 Helsinki Accord

The Charter 77 was openly signed; eventually by hundreds.  The regime’s response to the publication of what it called an “anti-State” document was harsh.  Most of the early signatories were arrested and spent years in prison.  Jan Patoeka; a philosophy professor  and chief inspiration of the Charter; died as a result of the police interrogation.

Vaclav Havel started his long career by writing plays.  His political essays followed later.  Both his plays and essays; contained detailed analyses of the working of the totalitarian system; and the way it could be resisted. This type of regime creates a situation; that forces all its citizens to live a lie.  He wrote:

Because the regime is captive to its own lies; it must falsify everything.  It falsifies the past, it falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future.  It falsifies statistics.  It pretends not to possess an omnipotent; and unprincipled police.  It pretends to respect human rights.  It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to prevent nothing.”

Jan Patočka By Jindřich Přibík, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Living in Truth.

In such a situation; a revolt is first of all an effort to live within the truth.

When I speak of living within the truth; I naturally do not have in mind only products of conceptual thought such as a protest; or a letter written by a group of intellectuals.  It can be any means; by which a person or group revolts against manipulation; anything from a letter by intellectuals to a workers’ strike; from a rock concert to a student demonstration; from refusing to vote in a farcical election to making an open speech at some official congress or even a hunger strike.”  (1)

His aim was to create immediate changes; in the daily lives of people.  As soon as people set out to discover their own truth; and to live in accordance with it; they provide others with an option to discover; their own individuality in return.  Living in truth can be an act of obstruction; disrupting the workings of a monolithic  system; but it can also be an act of construction; part of the creation of new structures.  Constructive action requires active ways to create new institutions “building the new society in the shell of the old.”

Havel’s writings had an influence on the emergence of a civil society in public life.  However; the embryonic spirit of a civil society “living in truth” was not fully developed. Vaclav Havel as President of Czechoslovakia; was not able to prevent the rise of narrow nationalism; which led in 1993 to the split creating the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Helsinki, KSZE-Konferenz, DDR-Delegation. By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-P0730-019 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Post-Havel Generation.

I had first heard Vaclav Havel speak in Prague in October 1990. However; when he addressed the founding meeting of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly.  The Assembly had brought together; some 800 people from peace, human rights, ecology, feminist, and world citizen movements; many of whom had been active in efforts to bridge the East-West Europe divide of the Cold War. 

This was the first chance for such; a large group of activists to meet after the radical changes in Eastern Europe.  Havel was both a key actor and a symbol of these changes.  Yet his remarks were not turned toward the past; but toward the challenges that faced us.  He echoed what the Polish writer; and activist Adam Michnik, also there; had said:

The greatest threat to democracy today is no longer communism.  The threat grows instead from a combination of chauvinism, xenophobia, populism and authoritarianism; all of them connected with the sense of frustration typical of great social upheavals.”

Seven months later; war broke out in what had been Yugoslavia.  The new civic structures that Havel hoped would be forces for peace and creativity; were not able to break the hold of aggressive; narrow nationalism.  In fact, since 1990; after a first fire of hope; civil society throughout Central and Eastern Europe has grown progressively weaker.  There are few of the post-Havel generation with as broad a vision or a willingness to act.

I met with Havel again; when he came to the United Nations in Geneva to speak at the celebration of the 50th anniversary; of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  He was open to representatives of NGOs. 

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

His role as President; had not changed his basic nature – a creative intellectual open to the ideas of others.  In his talk to the Commission on Human Rights; he stressed that there are many treaties; and declarations that use the term international;   but the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the only one that uses the term universal – a sign that the writers of the Declaration; wanted to include all countries and all individuals.  It is its universal character; which makes it a base for relations among peoples across national and cultural frontiers; a basis for the healing of nations.

I had been active in unsuccessful efforts of mediation in the Yugoslav conflicts; and I was worried; at the growing national-ethnic tensions in Europe.  In our discussion; I think that he shared my concerns; but knew that mobilizing trans-frontier civil society was difficult. 

Civil society groups were not up to the challenges; that history presented.  Yet; he stressed that even in dark periods; which he had experienced much more than I had; we must also see the growth of new institutions; preparing for the future – institutions which are open; which break down social divisions; which are sensitive to all voices.  Today; it is our task to be aware of the growth of these new entities; to participate in them; to add our energy to theirs; and thus to speed the manifestation of the new age.

Eleanor Roosevelt holding poster of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (in English), Lake Success, New York. November 1949. By FDR Presidential Library & Museum, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.


1) The fullest presentation of Havel’s views on the ways to resist oppression are in his long essay, The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central-eastern Europe. John Keane Editor (London: Routledge, 2009)

See also Delia Popescu. Political Action in Vaclav Havel’s Thought: The Responsibility of Resistance (Latham, MD: Lexington Books, 2012)

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Nonviolent Action: The Force of the Soul.

Featured Image: Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

2 October is the UN General Assembly-designated Day of Nonviolence chosen as 2 October is the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

U.N General Assembly

Featured Image by Basil D Soufi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

U.N. General Assembly: Can It Provide the Needed Global Leadership?

Passive Resistance.

Mahatma Gandhi, shortly after finishing his legal studies in England, went to South Africa and began working with Indian laborers, victims of discrimination. He looked for a term understandable to a largely English-speaking population to explain his efforts. “Passive resistance” was the most widely used term and had been used by Leo Tolstoy and others.

However, Gandhi found the word “passive” misleading. There did exist a Hindu term ahinsa − a meaning non and hinsa, violence. The term was basically unknown among White South Africans, largely uninterested in Indian philosophical thought.

Leo Tolstoy

Image: Portrait of Leo Tolstoy (1887). By Ilya Repin, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Leo Tolstoy: The Law of Love.

Tune with the Infinite or Fullness of Peace Power and Plenty.

Gandhi wrote to a friend from his legal studies days in England, Edward Maitland. Maitland and Anna Kingsford were the leaders of the Esoteric Christian Union and the leaders of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society. Maitland introduced Gandhi to the writings of the American New Thought writer Ralph Waldo Trine. Trine was a New Englander and his parents named him after Emerson. His best known work from which Gandhi took the term for his actions in South Africa is In Tune with the Infinite or Fullness of Peace Power and Plenty. (1)

Edward Maitland, biographer of en:Anna Kingsford (1846–1888). By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Soul Force.

Trine uses the term “soul force” which Gandhi then used for his work in South Africa. Once back in India, Gandhi wanted an Indian rather than an English expression, and he coined the term satyagraha − holding on to truth: sat as Truth in a cosmic sense is an oft-used Hindu term while “soul” would need some explaining to Indian followers.

All of Trine’s writings contained the same message: soul force could be acquired by making oneself one with God, who was immanent, through love and service to one’s fellow men. The Christ Trine followed was one familiar to Gandhi − the supreme spiritual exemplar who showed men the way to union with their divine essence. Trine promised that the true seeker, fearless and forgetful of self-interest, will be so filled with the power of God working through him that:

“as he goes here and there, he can continually send out influences of the most potent and powerful nature that will reach the uttermost parts of the world.”

For Trine, thought was the way that a person came into tune with the Infinite. “Each is building his own world. We both build from within, and we attract from without. Thought is the force with which we build, for thoughts are forces. Like builds like and like attracts like. In the degree that thought is spiritualized does it become more subtle and powerful in its workings. This spiritualizing is in accordance with law and is within the power of all.

“Everything is first worked out in the unseen before it is manifested in the seen, in the ideal before it is realized in the real, in the spiritual before it shows forth in the material. The realm of the unseen is the realm of cause. The realm of the seen is the realm of effect. The nature of effect is always determined and conditioned by the nature of its cause.”

Thus for Mahatma Gandhi, before a nonviolent action or campaign, there was a long period of spiritual preparation of both himself and his close co-workers. Prayer, fasting, meditation were used in order to focus the force of the soul, to visualize a positive outcome and to develop harmlessness to those opposed.

Another theme which Trine stressed and which Gandhi constantly used in his efforts to build bridges between Hindus and Muslims was that there was a basic core common to all religions. Gandhi wrote:

“There is a golden thread that runs through every religion in the world. There is a golden thread that runs through the lives and the teachings of all the prophets, seers, sages, and saviours in the world’s history, through the lives of all men and women of truly great and lasting power. The great central fact of the universe is that the spirit of infinite life and power is back of all, manifests itself in and through all. This spirit of infinite life and power that is back of all is what I call God. I care not what term you may use, be it Kindly Light, Providence, the Over-Soul, Omnipotence or whatever term may be most convenient, so long as we are agreed in regard to the great central fact itself.”

Simone Panter-Brick - Gandhi

 Image: Gandhi spinning at Birla House, Mumbai, August 1942. By Kanu Gandhi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Simone Panter-Brick: Gandhi and Nationalism.


1) R.W. Trine. In Tune with the Infinite (New York: Whitecombe and Tombs, 1899, 175pp.)


Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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Women-Life-Liberty Appeals

Iran: Women-Life-Liberty

Featured Image: Thousands turn out in Melbourne to stand in solidarity with protests that have broken out in Iran following the death of 22-year old Mahsa (also known as Jina or Zhina) Amini at the hands of the country’s brutal dictatorship and its ‘morality’ police. By Matt Hrkac from Geelong / Melbourne, Australia, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons.

28 Sep 2022 – The cry “Women-Life-Liberty!” is going up in many different parts of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  It is not possible to know in advance how strong the protests will be and what will be the specific reforms demanded.

Morality Police.

The protests began on 13 Sep 2022 at the announcement of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Anini in police custody, having been arrested by the “morality police” for not having the proper dress.  She was an ethnic Kurd.  The protests began in the Kurdish areas but soon spread to all ethnic groups and many parts of the country.  However, the government is worried that support for the demonstrations from Kurds, especially some in Iraq, could grow and lead to multi-ethnic tensions.

Women have been a central focus of the social policy of the Islamic government.  Even before coming to power in 1979, Ayatollah Khomenini from his exile in France had said that the overly great liberty of women was a chief obstacle to his policies.  Repressive policies against women with compulsory veiling laws were quickly put into place.

However, unlike the Taliban in Afghanistan, women were not barred from higher education.  It is estimated that some 65 percent of university students are women.  Many play important roles within society but must keep a low profile, dress according to the code and be under the control of a man, at least when visible in public.

Ayatollah Khomenini

Portrait of Ruhollah Khomeini By Mohammad Sayyad. By Mohammad Sayyad – محمد صیاد, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Women – Life – Liberty.

Now the cry “Women – Life – Liberty” proclaimed by many women and some men indicates the changes in outlook.  Obviously, the government led by the Guide Ali Khamenei and the conservative President Ebrahim Raisi are worried.  The police, the Revolutionary Guards, and other paramilitary forces have been called out.  Some protesters have been killed, others wounded.  The number of arrested is unknown.  Journalists have been prevented from reporting, and internet services have been cut or are irregular.  Thus there are few photos of the demonstrations.

Ali Khamenei

Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei delivers Nowruz message in his office (2016). By, CC BY 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons.

There have been waves of protests in Iran before without bringing about major changes in policy.

However, some observers believe that there is a new spirit in these protests.  “Women – Life – Liberty” may be the wave of the future and should be watched closely.

Ebrahim Raisi

The eighth president of Iran Ebrahim Raisi. By, CC BY 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Professor Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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