The Impact of a Voice - Iranian Protests
Following the appalling death of Masha Amini, Iranian citizens have generated protests throughout the nation against the oppression of women as a part of the Islamic State. Read more to see how the echoes of past protests have helped to fuel the fire for what will hopefully lead to political change in Iran.
On September 16th, 2022, a young Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini died while in the custody of the nation’s morality police, a government-sanctioned group with the power to evaluate, criticize, and detain women for the way they dress. The twenty-two year old Iranian was reportedly detained on September 13th by the morality police for inappropriate dress due to the fact that her headscarf was not properly in place. She supposedly collapsed of a heart attack while in detainment and died at the hospital only three days later. Her parents condemn and reject the announcement, citing corroborating witnesses who recounted that they saw Amini being physically assaulted and beaten in transit to the detainment center. According to Time Magazine, “Reports indicate that her death was caused by a skull fracture from heavy blows to the head, according to the Associated Press,” (Kohli). Iranian officials have assured the family that a further investigation will be made into the circumstances surrounding Amini’s death, but there has been no further update in the process.
Forever in the grim darkness that surrounds tragedy, however, is a sliver of light, and thus an opportunity to rectify the egregious wrongs that have been committed. Across the nation, protests have snowballed into what has become a seemingly unified, citizen run challenge to the tenets of their standing authority. Headscarves and feminine symbols indicative of Iranian culture are being destroyed in protest of the violence and persecution towards women that has intensified in recent months. Especially in and around the areas of the nation’s capital, Tehran, citizens are lining the streets in a vehement protest against the cruel maltreatment of women that has been sanctified by the regime for years. As of September 28th, forty-one protesters and police officers have been killed, and hundreds more have been injured. The government has severely limited internet access in its corresponding crackdown, and it makes it difficult for the other nations to understand the severity of the situation and provide aid to the citizens. These protests are strikingly reminiscent of those that occurred in 2009 and 2019, which were initiated as a result of an unjust electoral process and the inflation of fuel prices, respectively. What those protests lacked, however, was the substance of the value for debate, as well as the willingness of the people to collaborate and join the effort for change.
The death of Mahsa Amini was not in vain, for it struck a chord, one that has caused Iranian citizens to realize that their fight for women’s rights, who have been continually repressed due to their gender, is truly a holistic fight for democracy and individuality in Iran.
- “In Iran Protests, Anger at Hijab Rules Is ‘the Tip of the Iceberg.’” Edited by Connor Donevan, NPR, NPR, 28 Sept. 2022, https://www.npr.org/2022/09/28/1125772881/in-iran-protests-anger-at-hijab-rules-is-the-tip-of-the-iceberg
- Kohli, Anisha. “Iran Protests over Mahsa Amini's Death: What to Know.” Time, Time, 24 Sept. 2022, https://time.com/6216513/mahsa-amini-iran-protests-police/