An article by Moe Hashemi and Somayeh Nemati from Iran.
Moe and Somayeh have lived in Greece for some years after arriving as refugees.
Moe has been working for SolidarityNow as an interpreter and film maker for a long time and now he lives in the Netherlands where he reunited with his father after many years. The couple wrote the article in order to present the situation in Iran and what the current demonstrations following the dreadful event of Mahsa’s Amini death mean for the Iranian people. We, at SolidarityNow, publish the article in an effort to raise awareness and support to the Iranians who fight for equality and justice.
Mahsa Amini was a 22-year-old Kurdish girl.
She was in Tehran when the so-called “Morality Police” arrested her for not wearing her hijab properly (meaning that the hijab should cover her hair completely). Shortly after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took power during the 1979 Iranian revolution, the hijab became mandatory and the morality police were tasked with enforcing that and other restrictions. Hijabs are mandatory to wear in public for all women in Iran, regardless of religion or nationality. Amini was accused of violating the country’s law on headscarves. She was then severely tortured and beaten to death. The Iranian government denied her death being intentional and said she died from a heart stroke. After the coroner’s investigation, it was revealed that she died from a severe stroke to the head.
This sparked anger and fury and people took to the streets. It started with protests that intensified and Iran is now on the verge of a revolution, a feminine revolution. People are fed up with the Islamic Government. They want freedom. The motto of the revolution is “Woman, Life, Freedom”. Mahsa Amini’s hashtag broke the world record on Twitter and has been tweeted 120 million times up to now. In support of Amini, women are cutting their hair and men are shaving their heads as a symbolic gesture. Women in Iran are taking off their hijabs in the streets, and burning them. They are not doing this against Islam, but against the Islamic dictatorship of Iran. Protests have spread all over Iran and until now the regime has not been able to control it. Amini died on September 16th, but throughout the protests many others have been killed. There is no official number to verify, but sources say that hundreds have been killed and thousands have been arrested. The government quickly cut-off the countries internet access so the world wouldn’t see what’s going on in Iran. But people found a way around. The regime also banned Instagram and Whatsapp so no news or video gets spread, but Iranians started using VPNs to bypass the censorship. Facebook and YouTube were already banned so most Iranians were using Instagram and Whatsapp. Elon Musk did announce that he has activated Starlink for Iran, but the problem is that Starlink needs terminals to be set up in the country, which the regime will not allow. The crackdown has intensified but people are still continuing.
People don’t want to stop the revolution, because they know that if they stop now, the regime will execute the arrested and nothing will change. But the regime is ruthless, and history shows that they will do a severe crackdown, and kill thousands if necessary. In the uprisings in 2019, 1500 people were killed. The regime is in a weak state, and is only standing by using force, but this time it’s different. The revolution started with women, against a misogynist regime. People are fearless, and they are chanting “death to Khamenei”, which is a serious crime and you can be executed for using this slogan. We have seen women’s rights movements in the past years, which is completely against the ideology of the Islamic republic, but this uprising is completely in another level. People have had enough. This is all happening at a time when Iran’s hardline government is under growing pressure with talks to revive the stalled 2015 nuclear agreement and the state of the economy under US sanctions, while ordinary Iranians are struggling to cope with soaring levels of inflation.
Many celebrities have supported the Iranian people, celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Yungblud, Justin Bieber, Roger Waters, Khaby and many more. Iranians across the globe joined the protests. This is the first time that all ethnic groups and political groups have joined to stand against the Iranian regime. The Iranians are now more united than ever before. Also, the Anonymous hacking group has stepped in and started an operation against the regime called OpIran. Until now they have hacked several government agencies and banks. They are paralyzing the Iranian dictatorship. This has become a global movement that needs support, but unfortunately western governments are not doing enough to support the Iranian people. The Iranians expect support, western governments should stop the nuclear deal with Iran, they should recall their embassies, and close Iranian embassies in their countries. The people of Iran are making history. Their revolution should be supported. They want freedom, the basic freedom that everyone has, like choosing what to wear. This uprising holds a feminist nature, and is just. The regime is using the same tactics that it has used for 40 years, calling the protestors rioters and evil. The regime had no place in Iran from the first day, they took power by force and have kept power by force. Unlike what the media shows, Iran is a very westernized country, and the new generations are fed up with Islamic laws. Many Iranians claim asylum in other countries to be allowed to practice Christianity and political freedom. Iran has a very educated population, and they are now standing up for what’s right. It’s time for change.
The revolution must be supported!