Iran protesting the death of Mahsa Amini by the moral police has supported all women
Iran protesting the death of Mahsa Amini by the moral police has supported all women

Iran protesting the death of Mahsa Amini by the moral police has supported all women

In my early 20s, in the wild, uncertain hope that the country of my birth had something in store for me, I moved to Iran from Los Angeles two decades after my family fled the rise of Islamic theology in the 1980s. his. The house where I lived in Tehran sat next to a mosque. From my window, I saw its high ceiling and golden dome. On religious holidays, the mosque would decorate the streets with string lights and the faithful would gather to worship.

On an afternoon like this, coinciding with the anniversary of the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter Fatima, after the commemoration began, the voice of a man singing the blessing of Fatima was met by the followers beating their chests. , I heard a girl screaming in the house. the streets below. Her voice picked up the pounding of my open window.

The year I spent in Iran, young and wild and hopeful, I lived in the shadow of fear.

I didn’t want to record that sound. I was waiting for a friend for lunch, while I was busy getting ready, I told myself that it was a girl laughing on the street. She must be playing Tag, perhaps, given how alarming her cries are. The doorbell rang, and I opened it to find my friend shaking, pale, leaning on a support frame. “The police outside,” she whispered, “are beating a girl in the streets.”

A month later, the same Iranian friend was arrested at a party with 12 other young adults for having sex with boys. She was in jail for three days. I visited while she was enjoying herself. Her eyes are bruised, and a large lump has grown out of her head, and she refuses to talk about what happened in those three days. We sat together in silence as I held her.

Following last week’s death of Mahsa Amini while in police custody for violating hijab laws, Brig. Gen. Hossein Rahimi, the head of Tehran’s police, immediately denied that she had used violence during her arrest or detention. He described the accusations as cowardice and claimed that she has health problems. Her family denied this, insisting that she was in good health.

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The Guardian reported that preliminary CT scans of Amini’s head revealed bone fractures, bleeding and brain swelling. But those who lived under the Iranian regime did not need forensic evidence. They know the fear that women face, physically and mentally, every day. It is common that everyone has directly met or knows someone close to them. The Iranians risking their lives by taking to the streets are there to protest not only Amini’s death, but the death threats all women face every day.

The year I spent in Iran, young and wild and hopeful, I lived in the shadow of fear. Every party I attended, every date I went on, every time I left the house, met friends, went on a trip, listened to music, danced, swam in the ocean, rode a bike, it was a negotiation. potential danger. Violation of the law and haste to live, to exist, to be happy.

On the third day of my arrival home, I had my first-hand experience with the Iranian police. I was going to play tennis with my cousin. In the first days of my return, I was very afraid of the police and followed the strictest hijab law. But before I reached the tennis courts, a group of women in black chadors surrounded me, wanting to know why I was dressed so poorly.

My abuse? I wasn’t wearing socks with my tennis shoes and part of my ankle was showing through the hem of my full length dress. They escorted me to the police station, where I was taken to a holding cell to see a man dressed in a heavy, soft table cloth. He asked me for 20 minutes.

When he found out that I grew up in Los Angeles, he attributed my rudeness to my poor American upbringing. He lectured me on the importance of modesty before finally letting me leave with just a warning. I am past the experience of violence, but it took something away from me. He lowered his head, his voice was muted, embarrassed and angry for a man who has the power to do whatever he wants with my body, I apologized, even when every atom in me screamed angrily at the humiliation. I remained silent, looked at my feet and thanked him for his kindness.

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Countless others were not so lucky. Videos of other Iranians It shows three mature men attacking a girl on the side of the road. She fell to the tarmac, hitting her head on the side of a police car before two policemen came out and threw her from behind. Another young girl in the park screams in terror for her mother as an elderly woman tries unsuccessfully to free her from the clutches of several policemen. When the police picked up another young woman who resisted being tied by her arms and legs to throw her into a white van, a female officer grabbed the girl by the hair to help her, and the young woman hit her head several times on the door. .

World leaders gathered at the 77th United Nations General Assembly
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addressed the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Wednesday at the United Nations headquarters in New York.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Ahead of his planned trip to New York to address the opening of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi reached out to Amini’s family with his condolences and said she and all Iranian girls are like his daughter, vowing said he will continue the event. . President Raisi tell me, is this how you treat your daughters?

Amini, the young girls who were caught on video and forcibly arrested, the girl who screamed for help under the window of the house, my friend who was beaten in prison – these are not isolated incidents, accidental mistakes at the hands of ruthless police. The sole purpose of protecting the public interest.

When prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes for allegedly representing women protesting Iran’s hijab laws, the courts did not punish a serious criminal. The forced confession of the writer, artist and activist Sepideh Rashno, who appeared on state television visibly beaten upon her arrest and detention, did not make Iran immune to brutality.

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Iran’s violence against women is systematic, deliberately orchestrated by a government that, in the name of religious worship, uses this violence to demoralize and control the tired, hungry and desperate. A month before Amini’s death, Raisi issued an order to increase restrictions and enforce the hijab and chastity of women in Iran. Soon, the government intends to use facial recognition technology to identify women on public transport who do not comply with these strict rules.

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The European Union said that Amini’s death is “unacceptable, and the perpetrators must be held accountable”. The US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, said that “those responsible for her death must be held accountable.” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken advised the Iranian government to “stop its systematic oppression of women and to allow peaceful protest.” Nada Al-Nashif, the acting high representative for human rights at the United Nations, called for an independent investigation.

However, Raisi was welcomed in New York at the United Nations where his police were said to have opened fire on people protesting the death of an innocent woman. As Raisi spoke to the council, the Iranian government continued to disrupt internet connections to silence people who wanted to organize and communicate.

In that silence, as usual, the government resorted to abuses. Yet the UN listened to Raisi talk about nuclear capabilities and human rights. Who stood up from the people sitting on the forum, including delegates, leaders and leaders, and held them accountable for the abuses they have inflicted on Iranian girls? Who among them will listen, and pass the empty promises of Raisi, the noise they are shouting?

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