Mahsa Amini is dead

Mahsa Amini is dead

Mahsa Amini is dead. The 16th of September, 2022 was a call to action for many Iranian women, as it sparked the largest Iranian protests since 2009. This, however, was not the beginning. Women from all over the middle east have been rallying behind the cause for decades, dating back to 1979 when the Iranian Revolution reformed Islamic standards. Since then, things have only gotten worse.

Amini was arrested by The Guidance Patrol, Iran’s religious morality police, for not wearing a hijab. It is a common occurrence for women to be harassed or even threatened by The Guidance Patrol when in public, with or without their hijab. However, according to eyewitness accounts, Amini was severely beaten in public. Her CT medical scans also depict a brain hemorrhage and a skull fracture, both potentially caused by a strike to the head. The CT also depicts blood and liquids in her lungs, caused by the state of coma. The Iranian government denies police brutality, instead claiming that she died of a heart attack during the moral police educational class. Amini’s family denies this, stating that she was perfectly healthy.

This sent the youth of Iran into a frenzy, sparking protests from universities from Tehran to Isfahan. Amir Kabir is one of these Tehran universities who clashed with bassij forces. These are paramilitary volunteers who serve as the auxiliary forces that engage in internal security. After attacking and attempting to disperse students at Amir Kabir, the students pushed back with anti-regime chants.

It has only been a month since, but the retaliation hasn’t stopped. Similar to 1980 – 1983, schoolgirls are removing their hijabs and cutting their hair in retribution. Unlike previous protests, these protests have been far more widespread and unifying. Directly after the dress reform in 1979, women and men alike took to the streets, rioting against the new regime. They were quickly shut down by The Guidance Patrol who attacked and arrested anyone involved in the movement. Those with any ties to riots were put out of work, their children were also prevented from going to universities. The modern government cannot sanction so many people at once without causing a change in the workforce, so instead they look to deflection tactics instead of directly suppressing riots and protests.

Tensions are rising every day in Iran, prompting more outrage in the country and even getting a reaction out of neighboring territories. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are taking extreme measures to quell protests that have arisen since Amini’s death. The protesters are often arrested, with some suffering wounds from the disruption. In Iraq, many people have escaped to the safety of their relatives, though still not very forthcoming about circumstances for fear of repercussions in their homes in Iran. This has caused a sort of dread and uneasiness to cloud the borders and even further into the Kurdistan region. Many are there to stay, some for work, others for family. One thing, however, is very clear. The protests in Iran are not going to end until something is done.