22-year-old Mahsa (Jina) Amini was visiting Tehran from Saqez, Iranian Kurdistan when she was arrested on 13 September for ‘improper’ veiling by the morality police. She was badly beaten according to eyewitnesses, her skull fractured. She was taken to Kasra hospital in a coma and died in intensive care on 16 September.
Outrage over her murder has sparked a new round of protests that have spread across Iran. The slogan of these protests include: ‘Down with Dictator,’ We don’t want an Islamic government,’ ‘We don’t want an anti-women government.’
The main slogan speaks volumes: ‘Woman, Life, Freedom.’
Women leading the protests, their removal and burning of the veil, the feminist, secular slogans, the widespread nature of the anti-Islamic regime protests, the solidarity between women and men, the unity and courage herald a new dawn in the women’s liberation movement that must be supported by feminists everywhere. It is the women’s revolution we have been speaking of for many years that is taking centre stage to bring the Islamic regime in Iran to an end. The solidarity of women and men everywhere can help end theocracy in the 21st century once and for all.
Feminism today must stand with women in Iran and challenge Islamic misogyny of which the veil is a pillar if it is to have relevance in this crucial struggle. Key in all this will be to pressure western governments to end their support of and relations with the Islamic regime of Iran. A case in point is Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s president, who is now in New York to speak at the UN General Assembly. He is responsible for Mahsa Amini’s murder and that of many more, including crimes against humanity, enforced disappearance and torture. He should be arrested not welcomed.
On Mahsa’s gravestone, it says: ‘Dear Jina, You will not die, your name will be a symbol.’ And so it will be. Mahsa Amini, a symbol of the struggle for women’s liberation from religious rule.
16 September, the day of our beloved Mahsa Amini’s death will be known in history as a day against hejab, against the Islamic regime in Iran and against misogyny and for Women, Life and Freedom.
- Maryam Namazie is Spokesperson of CEMB.