Iran Protests 2022: Different Battle, Same War
(Iranian schoolgirls holding their hijab, 2022)
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By Sarvi

Imagine having a dream that was so close to coming true, you could taste it. Right as it’s about to get to the best part, BAM! —you are rudely awakened by a living nightmare. This was the case for the people of Iran during the Revolution of 1979. 

It was originally organized by a group of highly intelligent and hopeful individuals who sought answers from an ambitious monarch eager to fulfill the country’s potential. Amidst a developing accordance, oppressive powers seized the gap between citizen and state by polluting the movement with false narratives and religious propaganda.

The royal family was ultimately forced into exile as Iran entered the dark era of the Islamic Regime—a fascist dictatorship that’s existed under the guise of a moral authority while the Iranian people have been the victims of its wretchedness and greed for decades.

Throughout the global community, we are all fighting different battles within the same war. While they press their knees into our necks for eight minutes and 46 seconds here in the states and expect us to do nothing, they’ve been pressing into the necks of Iranians for 44 years and expecting the same.

Women’s rights nonexistent in Iran

Patriarchy and the ungodly perversion of religion have infected the Iranian government just as they have American legislation regardless of how much our government claims separation of church and state.

As women here are fighting for their right to bodily autonomy, the women of Iran are also fighting for their freedom of choice: to choose whether they show their hair in public, to choose a career as a singer or a politician, to choose divorce or vacation without a husband’s permission, to choose to attend a sporting event in a stadium, to choose who they love and how to love them—to choose a life that’s their own.

At least in the states, we have the power to speak up within a democracy that grants us our freedom of speech. Iranians do not have such a privilege. 

(Iranian schoolgirls cut hair in Isfahan, posted on Oct 17 by @1500tasvir on Instagram)

45 Seconds of Defiance: An Iranian woman blocks the street, headscarf off, arms uncovered, combs her hair for the world (and the regime) to see. All are crimes in today’s #Iran , as protests enter day 38

— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) October 24, 2022

After 44 years of tyranny and horror, the nightmare continues. On September 16, 2022, a 22-year-old girl, Mahsa Amini, was arrested by the regime’s so-called “morality police” and killed in custody due to an “inappropriate” hijab.

Government officials claimed that she died of a pre-existing medical condition, although both her health records and her family indicate otherwise.

The treachery behind Mahsa’s death reignited the revolutionary flame from 1979 and spread like wildfire across cities and generations.

As a result of Iranians pouring into the streets once again and demanding their collective liberation, the Islamic Regime has resorted to excessive measures of abuse, manipulation, and corruption to maintain their power. 

(Iranian girl in Tehran on September 19, 2022 at the beginning of the protests)

Iranian regime abuses citizens for protesting against abuse

Regime officials have been preventing the sharing of news, photos, and videos of their brutal suppression on social media and international media outlets.

Authorities began a national internet shutdown on September 19 to inhibit public access to platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram, or Telegram to maintain control of the narratives portrayed in the media i.e., false claims about Mahsa’s death and ridiculous accusations of foreign powers inciting protests. This restriction on access is the government’s attempt to silence the Iranian people. In their stead, here are some of their stories:

At least 23 children have been unlawfully killed by security forces during nationwide protests in Iran. Most of the children were fatally shot with live ammunition fired by security forces.

— Amnesty International USA (@amnestyusa) October 22, 2022

On September 20, a 16-year-old girl, Nika Shakarami, was arrested, raped (multiple times), beaten, and mutilated for burning her hijab in protest of Mahsa’s death. She was missing for 10 days before her mangled corpse was finally returned to her family who was later ambushed during their attempt to bury her. 

On September 29, a 25-year-old artist, Shervin Hajipour, was arrested for creating a lyrical masterpiece that was quickly labeled the anthem of the protests after reaching 30 million views in just two days. As the world awaited the outcome of his arrest, authorities finally agreed to set bail in exchange for the deletion of the video and its replacement with a public apology. 

Iran’s Bloody Friday

On September 30, now known as Bloody Friday, the city of Zahedan in the Baluchistan province was massacred, leaving an estimate of 82 people dead according to Amnesty International. The violent attack by authorities occurred after Friday prayers in the Great Mosalla of Zahedan, a renowned prayer site near the main masjid.

Children were among the dead who were left lying in pools of their own blood on the same holy ground they just prayed on. The reason for such carnage? The people of Zahedan were protesting against the rape of a 14-year-old girl by the chief commander of police in the city of Chabahar, Ebrahim Khouchakzai, so officials felt it necessary to kill them to silence their sorrow.

On October 1, students protesting at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran were raided by police and held hostage as they were severely injured and several of them arrested. Families surrounded the building as they cried for the release of their children. The regime has historically perceived universities as the source of corruption, making them “more dangerous than cluster bombs,” according to Ayatollah Khomeini in a 1980 interview. 

On October 16, a 33-year-old athlete, Elnaz Rekabi, competed internationally in Korea without wearing the mandatory hijab in support of the protests and was forced to publicly apologize like Shervin.

After a clearly coerced statement was posted to her social media claiming her actions were “unintentional,” she arrived in Tehran around 3 a.m. on October 19. Wearing the same clothes from the airport, Elnaz was last seen in a photo with Iran’s Minister of Sports and Youth, Hamid Sajjadi, and her brother Davoud Rekabi.

Since then, sources say her and her brother’s whereabouts are unknown as she has yet to return home to her family in Zanjan.

Timeline of events

This brief timeline of the past month doesn’t do this evolving revolution any justice. It doesn’t honor all of those who have sacrificed themselves for the freedom of Iran such as Hadis Najafi (23), Sarina Esmailzadeh (16), Mohammad Reza Sarvari (14), Amir Mehdi Farrokhipour (17), Omid Sarani (13), Minoo Majidi (62), and hundreds more unnamed from Baluchistan to Sanandaj to Qom to Kermanshah.

We didn’t even get into the intentional fire set by authorities to Evin Prison in Tehran, the holding center of many political prisoners such as activists, journalists, artists, lawyers, and students. Official death tolls can’t be confirmed at this time due to limited internet access. By now, hundreds could be thousands. 

News outlets such as CNN or BBC can only release reports confirmed by regime officials as only their intel can be validated at this time due to the current restrictions on internet access.

Speak up for the Iranian people

Please speak up for the Iranian people to share the truths of what is happening right now. Be their voice using hashtags such as #MahsaAmini, #OpIran, #womanlifefreedom, or #iranprotests2022.

Look into the Snowflake Project and help grant Iranians legitimate access to the internet. Reach out to your state representatives and call for a UN investigation of the Islamic Regime so they can finally be held responsible for their heinous crimes. Sign all petitions in support of the removal of these parasites from Iran and as well as other countries for their endless violations of human rights.

We especially need to demand the removal of regime members and their families from the states as they have continued to lead hypocritical lifestyles here while detaining and executing Iranians for wanting the same freedoms back home. Most importantly, if nothing else, extend kindness and compassion to your Iranian peers because as of right now, many have been crying, pacing, and/or screaming for a month straight waiting for this nightmare to end.

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