Protests in Iran: the death of a man in France has shaken the Iranian diaspora – National

When a 38-year-old man in anguish over protests in Iran killed himself in the French city of Lyon, other members of the Iranian diaspora felt his pain.

Three months into the anti-government protests, Iranians abroad are going through an array of emotions. Activists and advisers hope Mohammad Moradi’s desperate act this week will inspire others to seek help and raise awareness of what is happening in Iran.

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In Farsi and French videos recorded before his death, Moradi criticized the Iranian leadership and called for solidarity from Western governments against him. The recordings featured him saying, « When you see this video, I’ll be dead. »

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The Iranian Kurd arrived in France in 2019 with his wife and was pursuing a doctorate in history. His death on Monday resonated near and far. Other Iranians from the Lyon area, activists and friends brought flowers and candles to the site where he died in what police were investigating as an apparent suicide.

Many members of the Iranian diaspora have been in distress since the unprecedented protests began, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody in Iran in September. Police had detained Amini for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.

“Mohammad Moradi is the image of all of us, of what we are experiencing today, as the Iranian diaspora around the world,” Hengameh Yahyazadeh, the main organizer of the solidarity demonstrations against the Palestinians, told The Associated Press. Iranian clerics in the French city of Toulouse.

Moradi’s Instagram profile speaks of a person interested in literature, poetry, and politics. Like many Iranians abroad, he took to Instagram to relay posts criticizing the clerical Islamic Republic regime, chronicling his participation in protests in Lyon and expressing outrage at the treatment of protesters in Iran.

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The feeling is widespread.

« Some days I wake up and I’m scared, » Yahyazadeh said. « I have a dozen friends in Iranian prisons, I’m afraid how I’m going to cope with the possible news that a friend of mine has been executed. »

Since the protests began, at least 507 protesters have been killed and more than 18,500 people have been arrested, according to Human Rights Activists, a group in Iran that has been following the unrest closely.

Iranian authorities have not released figures on those killed or arrested. A dozen people also face the death penalty for their involvement in the protests.

Hanae El Bakkali, a psychotherapist who heads a France-based organization that works with migrants, says news from back home has caused many Iranians in the diaspora to experience “decompensation,” a psychological state that results from their inability to manage stressful events.

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“When important events happen at home, it reactivates past traumas, it puts pressure on parts that are buried, that were thought to have been left out but have not,” El Bakkali said. to the P. “People relive what they experienced at home through flashbacks. They may have nightmares, looping thoughts, trouble sleeping, memory problems, anxiety and depressive symptoms, and may harm themselves.

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As a result, those who become activists abroad « plead with a deteriorated psychological state », El Bakkali said.

A prominent Iranian Kurdish activist in London, Halaleh Taheri, hopes Moradi’s death will encourage those in distress to come together and get politically involved.

“His name is with all the people lost in the revolution,” said Taheri, who took part in the 1979 revolution against the Shah of Iran, then fought against the regime of Islamist clerics before having to go into exile. . She is the founder of MEWS, a London-based charity that champions the rights of Middle Eastern women in the UK.

« I hope that in the future, instead of sacrificing our blood, ourselves and our lives, we will simply fight against the Islamic Republic by helping each other, by uniting, by showing solidarity, by working in groups, in networks, raising awareness about Iran, » Taheri said. said.

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« The country also needs us, » she said. “We all know there is so much pain in our country and we want to be part of that liberation. This is why we are on the street.


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