[Éditorial de Marie-Andrée Chouinard] The courage of Iranian women

Since the death of the young Kurdish Mahsa Amini on September 16, the anger of Iranian women has not waned. In the demonstrations that now extend across the country, women take to the streets at the risk of their safety. They know that protesting against the mullahs’ regime that cracks down on a strand of hair escaping from the obligatory veil can cost them the right to life. They are only courage and strength.

Hair in the wind, they walk proudly in the streets, united in the revolt that rumbles and contaminates determined crowds from everywhere. All generations of women rub shoulders in this fury, which also wins over men. These protests have caused dozens of deaths, hundreds of injuries: 41 deaths, according to the Iranian authorities; at least 76 according to Iran Human Rights. One thing is certain: screaming rage against a human rights regime is punishable by death.

Women walk hijab in fist, or they burn it. In viral videos, we see them slashing their long hair, the supreme symbol. This anger was certainly provoked by the death of Mahsa Amini: the 22-year-old woman was arrested on September 14 by the police for a misplaced veil which violated the misogynistic rules imposed by the Islamic Republic of Iran; witnesses would have witnessed scenes of violence. Two days later, she officially died in hospital.

This death is the straw that broke the camel’s back. The discontent is also the result of years of repression and a regime celebrating the enslavement of women, in perfect contrast to the breath of democracy that these demonstrations of the last days carry. In its latest annual report, Amnesty International notes in its chapter on Iran how discriminatory legislation mandating the wearing of the veil has led in 2021 to « daily harassment, arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, as well as the deprivation of access to education, employment and certain public spaces”.

Despite fierce attempts by the regime in place to silence the protest raging on social networks, a powerful fuel for modern revolutions, the cry of Iranian women has been heard all over the planet. The leaders of the international community cannot remain indifferent to a regime that eliminates women on the sole pretext of having dared to show what they are.

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