What is happening in Iran?
Right now, a war for human rights is taking place in Iran and it is led by brave Iranian women.
It started with the death of Mahsa Amini, who had been in police custody over allegedly breaching Iran’s strict hijab law. But the protests’ focus has come to encompass everything from state repression and economic instability to the country’s morality police, who had arrested Amini and are charged with imposing the country’s conservative dress code.
22-year-old Mahsa Amini was brutally killed by the “morality police” of Iran for showing a bit of her hair… The “morality” police, established by the regime, target women and girls who wear “improper clothing”. These arbitrary arrests often include verbal abuse, physical and sexual violence, torture, and murder. This is one of many ways the regime violates human rights. In Iran, women and girls are second-class citizens.
The killing of Mahsa has sparked international protests. Iranian women are cutting their hair short and burning their hijabs in protest. All around the world women are also cutting their hair in solidarity and support. People are standing up against the totalitarian regime, chanting “Let women have their freedom”, “Death to the dictator,” “I will kill whoever killed my sister” and so on.
Protesters (mainly women, but also men, and children) are currently violently being attacked, kidnapped, and killed by state forces.
These demonstrations against the death of Amini have led to violent police crackdowns, with arrests, beatings, and the killing of at least 52 people, although human rights organizations say that the number is much higher. Iran’s security forces have a history of using violence and brutality to suppress differences of opinion. In many instances, authorities have shot protesters on the streets. There have also been internet outages and disruptions to cut the protestor’s communication with the outside world.
Why did Amini’s death spark such intense and dangerous protests across the nation, and where will it all lead?
People have a lot of built-up frustration with the regime, and it took a violent and unjust killing such as the murder of Mahsa Amini to ignite a massive protest movement.
Today’s protests represent a movement about freedom. This is a movement about women’s rights, but also about resistance to violence against women and resistance to political repression. At a time when we see a regression of women’s liberties all over the world, Iranian women have taken the lead in the fight for political freedom. The protests in memory of Mahsa Amini and all the other demonstrators who have sacrificed their lives serve as a powerful call to action, especially because women themselves are now the agents of change.
Where do things go from here?
This is a moment of reckoning, a moment for the country and the world to say, ‘We are behind the good fight.’ It’s a fight not just against one unnecessary murder, but many. It is a fight not only for women to have a choice in what they wear, how they speak, and what they do. Rather, it’s a call for freedom and liberation, a movement that will allow people to reclaim the political process and define the future of their country. There is a lot at stake. The level of intensity in the protests is therefore entirely justified. Iranians’ imperturbable resolve and determination in these demonstrations have not been replicated in other iterations of political dissent since 1979.
Iran’s Protesters Aren’t Backing Down
Even with government crackdowns and a mounting death toll, the country’s agitation shows no signs of slowing down.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
The people of Iran are begging the rest of the world to amplify the voices of those who are being silenced. Mahsa Amini’s mother said: “Let the world know they killed my daughter.”
SAY HER NAME, SHARE HER STORY.
BE THEIR VOICE.
Share what’s happening. Spread the message.
HERSTORY Makes History 04, October 2022