A Middle Eastern Renaissance is Being Led by Women

2 mins read

Everything started with a simple trip of a girl, Mahsa Amini, who decided to travel from her home town Saghez to Tehran, the capital of Iran, with her family on a lovely summer holiday.

Because of the visibility of just some parts of her hair from below her veil, she got arrested while walking through the streets of Tehran by Morality police officers, responsible for enforcing the country’s hijab and dress code mandates to women in Iran. She was taken to the Vozara street detention center to be “convinced and educated” about her hijab, which the Islamic republic has been trying to force on women for more than 40 years.

While waiting outside the building, Mahsa’s brother says he was distracted by an ambulance driving off at high speed. After a couple of hours, he learnt that Mahsa had been inside the car. She had been accepted to the hospital with symptoms similar to a concussion, according to her doctor. She went into a coma for three days and passed away on 16th of September.

News of her death spread rapidly through social media and reporters gathered outside the hospital looking for answers about what had happened under Mahsa’s encounter with the morality police, an unofficial organization with an unknown budget source. After suppression of all the protests and no clear explanations by the police authorities, people got angrier and started to protest in her hometown as well as in Tehran.

In the following days, the protests increased throughout the country while Iranian authorities remained silent. In an effort to suppress the demonstrations, the government threatened protestors with death if they did not stop saying Jina Mahsa Amini’s name on social media platforms. Eventually reports came out, with no approval by Amini’s family or forensic doctors, that she suffered from a congenital disease.

At time of writing, fifty-five days have passed since she was killed by the government for not wearing hijab correctly and protests continue all over the country. So far, at least 319 people have been killed while fifty of those were below the age of eighteen. An estimated 15,000 people have been arrested, including five hundred students.

The regime enforced nation-wide internet restrictions in order to prevent the spreading of Jina Mahsa Amini’s name. Now, the protests have transformed into an attempt to change the dictatorship regime of the Islamic Republic to a democratic one.

Since the 1970s, the people of Iran have suffered under non-reasonable dictatorship rules to which children and families to authorities are exempt. Especially restricted are the women who are not to show their hair in public. Iranian women are now leading the uprising which is spreading across the country’s 40 provinces, removing their hijabs in public as a symbol and request for global support against the oppressive regime.

Can you imagine that a girl’s summer trip is trembling the regime and is starting a revolution in a country? I am proud to see that a Middle Eastern renaissance is being led by women in Iran.

By: Nooshin Ranjbar

Image: Craig Melville

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