Days of protests have erupted across Iran after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died after being arrested and tortured by the Islamic fundamentalist state’s “morality police”, the Gasht-e Ershad (Guidance Patrols), supposedly for not wearing her hijab properly.
Women have cut off their hair and burned their hijabs at some of these protests in another wave of popular revolt against the patriarchal regime’s decree that women must cover their hair in public. They have held up signs reading “We are all #MahsaAmini” and this hashtag has gone viral on social media platforms.
Iranians in Melbourne gathered on 20 September to pay tribute to Amini, while large crowds took to the streets of Sydney the next day.
Solidarity demonstrations in Sydney will continue with a rally on Sunday, organized by Rojava Solidarity Organization and Sydney Kurdish Youth Organization, while the death toll in protests in Iran following the young woman’s death exceeds 50 according to human rights watchdogs.
According to her family, Amini was to start studying at university next week and went to the Iranian capital for a brief holiday before her courses began.
Her cousin, Irfan Mertezayi, said she had been arrested on 13 September in Tehran.
“While she was getting off the subway with her brother, she was attacked by the hijab police, and both were subjected to violence for defending themselves.”
“Later, Mahsa was taken into custody by these policemen. Her family and brother were told that they could get information from the Moral Public Security Center on Weza Road.”
“Mahsa was tortured while in custody.”
Mertezayi said Amini suffered a concussion a few hours after she was taken into custody and was taken to the hospital by the Iranian forces.
“The doctors said that Mahsa had a concussion and that she was brain dead. Mahsa, who was connected to [life support] devices for a few days, passed away in the hospital.”
Gulê Rose, co-chair of the Federation of Democratic Kurdish Society (Australia), is involved in organising rallies to honour Amini and to show solidarity with the protests that have erupted after her brutal killing. She told Green Left: “They picked on Mahsa not only because of the way she wore her hijab but also because she was Kurdish. The Iranian authorities knew she was from an activist Kurdish family so they targeted her for arrest and brutally tortured her.”
“Kurds are rising up all around Kurdistan and internationally and raising the slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadi!’ which means ‘Women, Life, Freedom!’. In Farsi, the same slogan is ‘Zen, Zendegi, Azadi!’”
“This has been the most uniting and inspiring slogan of our revolution which sees the liberation of women as the source of its power.”
“The Iranian regime, like the regimes in power in Turkey, Syria and Iraq, all are afraid of women who demand freedom.”
“And this revolution is not just in Rojava (in north and east Syria), although that is the most famous part of it because our freedom fighters defeated Daesh/ISIS. In all four parts of Kurdistan, occupied by these regimes, Kurdish women have put up a great resistance to patriarchy. No one can stop Kurdish women’s desire for freedom.”
* Peter Boyle is a well known journalist and political activist living in Sydney, Australia. He is also a correspondent of the Green Left Journal.