By Midas Beglari
What is Happening in Iran?
On September 16, Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish women, was murdered by the morality police in Tehran, Iran; her death sparked an anti-government movement, referred to as “Woman, Life, Freedom”, in Iran and all around the world. As we share this message, Iranians inside the country are protesting in the streets, being shot at with military guns, and being abducted to unknown locations. The government has shut down internet access countrywide. Following over two weeks of protests in Iran that have left more than a hundred civilians dead (with ethnic minorities in Balochistan being especially hard-hit), the Iranian diaspora expressed their frustration with the Islamic Regime on Saturday, October 1st, the Global Day of Action for Iran, by attending demonstrations in over 150 cities across the globe. Iranian Ontarians rallied alongside over 50,000 protesters in Richmond Hill and London. Then, on October 2nd, the government attacked Sharif University, Iran’s most prestigious educational institution. Fully armed military forces with permission to open fire were sent inside the university while the doors were shut, trapping over 2,000 students, staff and faculty inside the university and its dorms. Innocent students leading a revolution for freedom were abused, arrested, and shot at by the Islamic Regime inside of their educational institution. This is just the beginning.
Why are we taking a stand?
The biggest women’s rights movement is happening right now in Iran, but Iranians are fighting for so much more than just women’s rights. Over the past 43 years, the Islamic Regime has been systematically oppressing indigenous ethnic groups in Iran (especially the Kurds) by erasing their languages, religious identities, cultural expressions, and traditional ways of life. Right now, they are bombing Kurdish schools. LGBTQ+ people in Iran are denied basic human rights and still face the death penalty. Two queer and trans activists Sareh and Elham Choubdar are currently in prison on death row waiting for the International Court of Justice to vacate their sentences. Religious minorities, like the Bahaïs, experience extreme systematic oppression at the hands of a legal system that is built to exclude them to the point of denying them access to education.
If you care about women’s rights, 2SLGBTQ+ rights, racism, police brutality, and religious freedom, you should be standing in solidarity with Iran.
The Islamic Regime has turned the hijab into a symbol of oppression for Iranian women. When Iranian women take off and burn their hijabs, they are asking for the same thing Muslim women in the West are asking for: freedom of choice and bodily autonomy. Please be mindful of this context, and do not use Iranian women’s choice to take off the hijab as an excuse to be Islamophobic.
How can we help?
-Share and Amplify Iranian Voices on Social Media and Use #MahsaAmini #womenlifefreedom
–Write to Canadian Officials (the template can be modified)
-Attend Protests and Learn about Global Day of Action for Iran
-Bypass Internet Censorship by Using Snowflake