Written by: Pallavi
Edited by: Ines
Visual by: Gladys
Hair down heads up. On March 8, 1979, millions of loud voices fought bravely for freedom on the streets of Tehran, protesting the permanent wearing of hijabs.
Four decades later, women in Iran are still fighting for freedom. Four decades later, without a veil, Iranian women are still “naked”. Four decades of arrests, abuse, torture, and far too much pain, yet nothing has changed; until now.
Until Masha Amini died at the tender age of 22.
In 50 cities across Iran, protests have broken out for Amini, whose unjust death has left an imprint on every person across the country. On September 13, Amini was seen wearing her hijab improperly by police and was taken into custody immediately. Just 3 days later, she was declared dead, and the police released a report that she had died of a heart attack in custody.
However, eyewitnesses to her last few days say that she was beaten to death while temporarily imprisoned. The police are denying her family the autopsy so the reason behind her unfortunate death will never truly be known, but people all over Iran showed continuous support for her. Many Iranians gathered outside the hospital where Amini was declared dead, and on the morning of her burial, protests began in her honor.
Women all over Iran have started removing and burning their headscarves in protest. The outrage that people are expressing due to her death has sparked the movement and revolution that is capturing the eyes of more prominent figures in the Iranian world. Singers, actors, and sports stars are using their platforms to raise awareness of the horrifying issues in their country.
Shervin Hajipour’s song “For…” has become the anti-government anthem and in the song, he sings about all the reasons why Iranians are taking to the streets, finishing with “For women, life, freedom”. The song went viral after being released on his social media, and he paid the price for his actions, being arrested and held in custody for several days.
In addition to his arrest, seven other public figures in Iran were detained for supporting the protests. Former footballer, Ali Karimi, tweeted that “our children are dying” after news broke that children of high-profile officials are fleeing the country. Hossein Mahini, another former footballer, said “we hate you” in a tweet addressing the police.
Not only is the support towards the movement huge within Iran, but celebrities worldwide are bringing their own support to the protests. Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid, Angelina Jolie, Justin Bieber, and many more celebrities recognize the efforts of the Iranian people and support them from afar.
Kardashian shared many posts on her Instagram to highlight the ongoing protests and even the death of 17-year-old Nika Shakarami, who was tortured and then killed for protesting. Her many posts that display the ongoing horrors shed light on the protests to her 300 million followers and raised plenty of awareness of the issues from her side.
On the other hand, Hadid shared her support with the family of Masha Amin, stating that the young girl “did not deserve this”. Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert, and several other female actors from France displayed their support by cutting off several inches of their hair in solidarity with the Iranian women who are being killed and tortured for fighting for themselves and the future generations of Iranian girls.
Within a month, the death of Masha Amini sparked a movement to fight back against the injustice of the police and the Iranian government. Amini’s death started the change that millions of Iranians are now courageously fighting for. Despite the tragedy of her death, she will forever be remembered, by people today and for years to come, for starting to break through to freedom. She inspired women with the strength and confidence to reclaim the freedom that is rightfully theirs.
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