Iran's Fight for Rights | Melody Abouzari
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are not representative of Pulse Magazine, CCA, or SDUHSD, as a whole.
Currently in the Islamic Republic of Iran, women are fighting for their right to have religious freedom and to determine whether they wish to wear the hijab or not. This battle, however, is not just limited to freedom of expression. It relates to the right to display religion for Jewish people, Zoroastrians, Baha'i’s, and Non-Practicing Muslims, to name a few. It relates to women’s rights to live without the control of a man dictating their every move. It relates to animal rights, to allow for the homeless dogs in the country to be taken into homes and shelters without the government claiming they are “filthy” and “deserve death.” It relates to the right for smaller Persian ethnocentric groups, like Persian-Afghans, Persian-Kurds, and Persian-Armenian, to live. This fight relates to so, so much more.
When it was known as Persia, Iran was an empire based and founded on Zoroastrin ideals. Zoroastrianism is an Iranian religion based on ecological freedom and the pride of being a well rounded individual. Until the Arabs invasion of Iran, Iran’s religious population was fully Zoroastrin. After the invasion, it became essentially 50/50, with individuals either choosing to be Zoroastrin or Muslim (though there were others who also aligned with other faiths in smaller populations). Iran was a monarchy-based country until the exile of the Shah, which transitioned into an Islamic extremist dictatorship seizing power.
Now, women are forced to wear the hijab in public, even if they do not adhere to the Islamic faith. Recently, 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian citizen Zhina (Mahsa) Amini was killed by the Iranian Morality Police (enforced by said oppressive regime) due to the status of her head covering. Public outcry has exploded in Iran and the citizens have been shut off from the internet and contact as a whole. News of the situation has spread globally, and America, along with many other countries, are now taking a stance. Athletes and activists are showing their support through sporting events, as seen by the Iranian football team, and Instagram posts.
As many are aware, the situation between Iran and The United States has been tense since the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979. That was coincidentally also the year of the Iranian revolution, when said dictatorship gained control. Although many Iranians did not approve of the monarchy, it was infinitely better than what we have currently. The United States, while it is not an ally of Iran, has weighed in on the situation. According to The New York Times, “Senior officials from Biden have denounced the government crackdown on the movement, which was sparked by the death in police custody last week of a woman arrested for improperly covering her hair.” In addition, the US treasury has expanded on the Iran sanctions by issuing a license to relax sanctions on the internet services.
In my country, the streets are being lit on fire. Chants of “zen, zendegi, azadi” or “women, life, freedom” are filling the streets. Women are finally taking off their forcibly mandated hijabs. But people are dying. Children, elderly, scholars, thousands upon thousands dead or injured.
All of the hurt and anguish felt by the Iranian people has been spread tenfold since protests began. For four decades, the Iranian government has forced its citizens into an oppressive regime
in which women are to have no rights and Islam is forced on all. This fight, unlike what the media has brought it out to be, is not about Islam. Islam is a religion of peace, which is the opposite of what these disgusting, power hungry mullahs (an Islamic clergyman) are creating. What this fight is about is mullahs, their thirst for power, and the incessant need to control citizens in the masses.
While it may seem hopeless to individuals world wide, especially for Iranians like me, there is still hope. Continue posting and uplifting Iranian creators, listen to our struggles and hardships, and offer comfort during these hard times. With the help of allies worldwide, Iran has a chance at finally winning in this fight for rights.