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SOMETIMES all it takes is the will of one person to break the system. Just one person, with the courage of a squadron. But it has not been one person. It has been thousands of women and the system that is collapsing is one of the most perverse in the world.
Mahsa Amini was a 22-year-old girl. She wanted to be free and she wanted to show her beauty as any 22-year-old girl does in any western city. But she was not allowed to.
Amini was on a trip to Tehran, the capital of Iran, accompanied by her family. She is from Saqqez, a Kurdish province in western Iran. On September 13, she was driving with her brother, Kiaresh, on the Haqqani highway when an official of the so-called “religious police” (because yes, in Iran there are “religious police”) saw that she was wearing the wrong hijab. An unbearable Islamic veil that women in Iran are forced to wear because otherwise they are caught by the morality police.
The morality police — to write about it is tiresome in itself — arrested her and took her to the “Moral Security Agency” — another absurdity — with the promise that Amini would only receive a “briefing class” and in less than an hour she would be released. That was the last time Kiaresh Amini saw her sister alive.
From the Moral Security Agency, Mahsa Amini left for Kasra Hospital in an ambulance. After two days in a coma, Armini died on September 16.
Amini’s brother, after receiving her body, testified that the 22-year-old was covered with bruises on her head and legs. The other women who were detained with Amini said that the morality police officers beat her up for resisting and responding to their insults and curses.
Amini’s ears were bleeding and her eyes were black from the blows. Her skull was full of fractures and had hemorrhaged. The 22-year-old’s brain did not hold out.
But her death will not be in vain—or so say the thousands of women who have reacted across Iran. Mahsa Amini’s assassination has served as fuel for one of the most courageous and reckless revolutions in recent history.
Before the cursed Ayatollah Khomeini imposed his Islamic revolution in the late 1970s, Iran was a prosperous, Westernized country where women were able and willing to display their captivating Persian beauty.
Since Iran has been a theocracy, ruled first by Khomeini and now by Khamenei, it is a dark and repressive country. A dangerous country that wants to harm the world, that finances terrorism so to bomb Tel Aviv and that kills its women for being women. A sinister country, where no one dissents and where no one dreams.
And suddenly, in this nation of morality police, hijabs, minarets and muezzins, women have taken to the streets to say enough is enough. They say no more oppression, no more hatred of women, no more Islamic fundamentalism. They say enough of the hijab, absurd bans and intolerance.
Encouraging images are emerging from Tehran. Women have lost their fear. Bonfires, where the veil has replaced the firewood, appear all over the city. Hijabs burn in Iran. The veil falls as a portrait of the faltering of a regime that until recently enjoyed an iron grip on the country.
“Stop me!” a young woman says to a policeman at a Tehran metro station. “Stop me, then, if you’re so brave,” she insists. Why would they stop her? For showing her hair. A group of men, all around her, support her. They are young men like her, from Tehran University, and they too are fed up with oppression.
In the center of Gorgan, the capital of Golestan province, 400 kilometers from Tehran, a woman dances by a bonfire. She throws her hijab, twirling, and withdraws. She is followed by other women, who also throw their veils. The cloth burns and hundreds of people around them applaud. Everyone shouts with emotion.
“I have never seen anything like this in Iran. To walk without the veil in the streets is unthinkable. No one would dare because they stop you. And to see so many women without the veil, burning it, is truly inspiring,” a friend from India who lived in Tehran for a couple of years tells me.
It is a women’s revolution and it is a youth revolution. It is the students who are in the streets today and are furiously confronting the security forces of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.
The repression has been relentless. According to official figures, as of today, there are 8 dead people and hundreds of wounded citizens. The police come out with batons, tear gas, and pistols to stop the unstoppable crowd, which in most cases surpasses the efforts of the regime’s authorities.
Iranians have lost internet access in recent hours, according to several reports. The last time the Iranian regime shut down the internet was in 2019 when protests due to social tensions left 1,500 people killed.
In Iran, the only massive social media platforms are Instagram and WhatsApp. Iranians can no longer access the former, and the latter is only half-functioning. According to what some users told Reuters; they can only send text messages. No photos or videos.
But, however, the images have transcended and today Twitter is flooded with videos of women removing their veils, cutting their hair or protesting in the streets. Repression has also been recorded, portraying the cruel face of a regime that has been in power for more than 40 years.
Nothing can stop women who have lost their fear. And when a society has lost its fear, it is indomitable. Because there is nothing that can be taken away from women in Iran, who for decades have not been able to enjoy the freedoms they deserve and who now are demanding. The decent world can do nothing but shout with the young people who have decided to challenge the most dangerous theocracy in the world.