By Hannah Rajalingam
22 year-old Mahsa Amini was brought into custody on September 16th by the morality police, enforcers of Iran’s laws on religious dress codes, for defying modesty laws. The police defined this law-breaking as Amini wearing her hijab incorrectly and too tight trousers. For this offense, they brought her into custody and brutally beat her, according to witnesses in her police van. Three days later, Amini, who had arrived at the hospital brain dead, died of cardiac arrest.
Though Amini was not the first, and definitely not the last, victim of the oppressive Islamic Republic, her death sparked the Iranian people into action. Since her death, there have been nationwide protests against the Islamic Republic. Protestors have come from all walks of life: from school children chanting “Death to the dictator!” at their schools, to women around their world cutting their hair to show how much Iran’s government thinks their lives are worth. These protests come from centuries of governments that do not represent the diverse Iranian people.
It is more important now than ever to support these protestors. Each and every one of them has risked so much to spread information about prisoner executions and the truth of the brutal deaths of protesting Iranians. “Say their names to save their lives” is a powerful truth. Rapper Toomaj Salehi received enough public attention to be sponsored by the German parliament. Like many other artists, he has spoken up against the regime through his music.
Several other political prisoners have been saved by shining the spotlight on the Islamic Republic. Countless others have reached trial and been convicted of their crimes in mere hours. The charges being held against them often serve as a bogus way for the Iranian government to silence political opponents. Mohsen Shakari was hanged for the crimes of injuring a security officer and blocking the street during a protest. There is, nor was there ever, a reason or method to these executions. The Islamic Republic’s rounding up of political “criminals” has been a failing scare tactic against ongoing protests. These unjust executions have only pushed the Iranian people to continue fighting for their rights.
It is on the rest of the world to support these protestors. Iranian diaspora activists have given up the ability to go back to their homes so that this news reaches more people. Iranian activists living in Iran have risked their lives for this information to reach us. And we don’t have to climb mountains to help them. Reposting their videos, sharing links to petitions for prisoners in danger of being executed, taking part in local protests, contacting local officials about this issue, or informing our loved ones who can donate or donating ourselves are all easy ways to support Iranian people as they fight for their rights. Please take the time to bring awareness and take action so that their voices are not lost.