‘Women, Life, Freedom!’

Iranians protest for political change, control of their bodies

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Leannah Messenger, Editor-in-Chief (Print)

The courage of countless women in Iran and surrounding countries has shown through their countless acts of resistance against a brutal government. As women protest their rights, chanting “Women, Life, Freedom!” they call for the Iranian government to end its systematic persecution of women. While fire has always burned among women in Iran, the recent spark of the movement began with the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman, Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, who was detained by Iran’s morality police — a branch of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces that enforces the country’s strict dress code — for not fully satisfying their veiling laws. 

To call for equality and social justice, women have been cutting their hair and burning their hijabs. They continue to unveil themselves publicly in opposition to a country where women’s bodies are controlled by the state. Mahsa Amini’s death is being mourned by many, as protests claim it was violent and unjust. The cries of women under political repression are finally being heard again. It is not shocking to see this uproar; since women have been at the vanguard of politics throughout Iran’s modern history. During their oil crisis from 1951 to 1953, where the issue was economic imbalance and government control, women’s suffrage was, again, among the demands of the protestors. Protesters are being violently harassed by Iran’s morality police, with beatings, countless arrests and killings of several people. 

While all of of this may not be happening to Americans directly, the effectsare still beign seen and many have something to say for it. 

“I feel like it’s inspiring more and more women in Iran, as well as in other countries, to stand up for themselves and their own free will. I hope these protests can change the opinion of the general public to a more equal opinion with less oppression,” senior Jacob DiCenzo said. “I think that it’s great these women are protesting, but the level of violence they are being met with is profound. Lethal force is being used against peaceful protestors for the sole fact that they are women.” 

Students and youth are also protesting against the state of their government and the control over their bodies. The anger and strain on those who have been fighting this fight for decades have pressed youth, specifically, to fight for a better future. The pandemic also added strain to the economic pressure already occurring in the country. In this time of reckoning, the intensity of protests is grabbing the attention of people all over the world, and many are showing their support through acts on social media and joining protests. This is the people’s fight for justice, freedom and women’s suffrage. It is a fight where the thought of control over one’s body should lie in their hands, not in the hands of government. There is a unity of cause, where the Iranian government and everyone around the world need to understand that Iranians are fed up with the failures of their government. 

The goal here is political change. It is a fight for freedom of choice, and a fight against the oppression of the people. Protesters chant, “Freedom for Iran!” in a battle for the future of the nation and its people. Pent-up frustration with the regime and its brutality toward women is being called out. America and nations across the world are being asked to rally behind the cause and stand against the injustice in Iran.