Staff Ed: The people of Iran have spoken. We must do all we can to support them.

“Zan, Zendegi, Azadi.” Women, Life, Freedom. This is the cry that has resonated throughout the world as the people of Iran fight for the soul of their country.

On Sept. 13, a 22-year-old woman named Mahsa Amini was arrested by the Iranian morality police in Tehran. She was deemed to have been wearing her hijab incorrectly by the police, and was taken to the Vozara Detention Center. After three days in a coma, Amini died in a hospital in Tehran, bearing unmistakable signs of traumatic head injury.

What has followed Amini’s death are protests on a scale that Iran has never experienced before. Millions of Iranians have flooded the streets to protest against the oppressive regime that has ruled over them for 43 years, led by a tyrannical dictator: the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei. Iranians
now call for a complete overthrow of their government; chants of “Death to Khamenei” ring through the streets.

As of Oct. 29, 14,000 Iranians have been arrested, and over 280 protestors, including 44 minors, have been killed, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency. Police have fired live ammunition and metal pellets into crowds of protestors.

But this is certainly not the first time that uproar has shaken the foundations of Iran. In 2009, millions of Iranians took to the streets to protest a presidential election that was widely believed to be rigged, in what became known as the Green Movement. In 2018 and 2019, citizens demonstrated against high inflation and dismal economic conditions in week-long protests that were met with severe government crackdowns. Anger and opposition toward their oppressive regime have been building among Iranians for the past 43 years – Amini’s death was only the spark that has ignited the inferno of change in Iran.
What makes the recent protests different from past demonstrations is not what they are fighting for; many Iranians have been yearning for freedom and liberty ever since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. No, what makes the current protests so poignant and gripping is who is leading them, and what they could mean for the future of Iran.

In a country that has historically been dominated by male authority, young women have risen powerfully and boldly to the occasion, united in the face of a regime they have witnessed oppress their grandmothers, mothers and sisters for as long as they can remember. A torrent of videos showing women cutting their hair, waving their hijabs in the sky and marching together in the streets of Iran have swept through the internet.

But for the young women of Iran, this movement goes far beyond a hijab.

These protests are not about religion, and their purpose is not to oppose Islamic ideals. The young women of Iran are fighting for their freedom, for their ability to choose the life they want to live without being suffocated by the endless burdens of government control.

What is truly awe-inspiring about the recent wave of protests in Iran is the sheer scope of individuals participating in them. Women and men, girls and boys, the old and the young, the rich and the poor, people from all ethnicities and walks of life are supporting this movement with fierce passion.

Never before in Iran have so many different types of people participated in a movement. The recent protests are a cry of humanity, a collective roar from the hearts of all Iranians yearning to break free from the chains of oppression. Their song is one of outrage, of courage, of compassion, born from throats raw with the repression of generations, both mournful and brimming with hope.

One would think that a moment as historical as this would be widely covered by media across the globe, especially in Western countries that place so much value on justice and liberty. However, very little of the plights and protests of the Iranian people have been covered by mainstream media sources. In any “Western” country, the murder of children during protests would make headline news for days on end. And yet, when this occurs in the Middle East, it is brushed off as something typical, especially by the media.

So what can the world do to support the people of Iran?

The Iranian government is trying to subdue the voices of those protesting against them. We must spread awareness about this movement and share the stories, pain and hope of the Iranian people. We must honor their bravery and courage. The young people of Iran see a shimmer of hope for their future on the horizon, and they are seizing this moment with all of the might they can muster.

The future of Iran is at stake. The world must do all it can to support those who are fighting for its soul.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post Limited capacity of TPHS pep rallies must be addressed
Next post Three Area 5 candidates run for school board