Mia Lubrani | Staff Writer
Oct. 20, 2022
Protests against inequality, oppression and police brutality in Iran are entering their fifth week. Dissenters have endured tear gas and harsh police tactics as they stand against the tyrannical and unjust treatment of women. Iranians have stood up to the violent police forces by burning their hijabs, chopping off their hair and chanting “death to the dictator.” According to BBC news services, a recent crackdown on protests killed at least 201 people.
These protests, which now span across the world, were ignited by the death of Mahsa Amini.
Amini was taken into custody in Tehran by the Gasht-e Ershad, or the morality police, on Sept. 13 for not wearing her mandatory hijab properly. She died three days later in police custody.
Despite pictures of her very bruised face going viral, the police claimed the 22-year old had a heart attack in custody. On Oct. 7, the Iranian Legal Medical Organization investigation, which describes itself as independent but is part of the country’s judiciary, determined her cause of death was a longstanding illness.
Her family disputes these claims and insists that she had been healthy, they believe she was tortured in custody.
Political oppression and protests for equality are nothing new in Iran. However Ebrahim Raisi, Iranian president since August 2021, has tightened the reins. Under the current regime, women are being questioned whenever they leave the house and sometimes detained for “re-education” about why the hijab is mandatory.
The internet in Iran has been restricted in an attempt to limit awareness of the situation. Despite constant efforts by the Iranian government to play down the demonstrations, citizens are opting for other methods of resistance. Workers are striking from their jobs to take to the streets while students are skipping classes to participate in the demonstrations. Protestors are uploading videos showing the scope of police brutality.
Many of the younger citizens have been seen protesting and speaking out against the regime.
On Oct. 8, Iran’s state television feed was hijacked for 15 seconds to show a call to protest, displaying pictures of Amini and three other young girls killed in the demonstrations. A caption appeared with the slogan “Join us and stand up!” along with a song in the background with the signature chant, “Woman. Life. Freedom.”
The fight for women’s rights in Iran is a fight for women across the world. The use of fear and tyranny to inhibit the growth of women needs to be quashed at every opportunity. This is more than just a disagreement with an ideology. The Iranian government has declared war on its people.
They are using bullets, tear gas and other harsh tactics on the demonstrators. According to Al Jazeera, Iranian authorities denounced the demonstrations as ‘riots’ incited by foreign powers, pointing to the United States and European democratic nations as the true culprit. Their use of propaganda to justify their violent behavior toward their own people proves the depths to which the Iranian government is willing to go to suppress women.
The world-wide demonstrations in solidarity with the Iran protests need to continue. Now, more than ever the Iranian women need to see support for equality. Their cry for help should not be muffled by the actions of misogyny and oppression.
You cannot wait for change to occur. The time to stand and resist is now. Currently, women in Iran are not abiding by the rules. While this may cost lives, Iranians are ready for change and are taking it upon themselves to get their long deserved equality.
Amini’s death has only brought to the surface the years of oppression and inequality all women feel in Iran. These protests are not meant to cause more problems but are meant to cause change in Iran right now. Iranian women are scared, they are tired and ready to cause this change. The rest of the world is standing with these women and standing with the movement for equality.
From governments to celebrities to sports teams, the world needs to continue to stand in solidarity with the movement. Humanity must show that we need to stand together against all forms of oppression.