“In the Iran of 2022, the obligation to wear a veil is an absurd and humiliating violence”

meHe was visiting the capital with his parents and brother. Autumn is a good season in Tehran. We move away from the summer oven and the great cold is still far away. She was 22 years old, she was not interested in politics, rather the singers of the time. Mahsa Amini came from the small town of Saqqez, in Iranian Kurdistan (northwest), a socially conservative region.

That morning of September 13, he had taken the metro to the center of Tehran and was walking through a park. She was wearing her “Islamic” veil: the theocracy in power has been imposing it since 1983. As she passes, a morality police van calls out to the young woman: her veil is in the wrong place, perhaps too far back. Mahsa Amini is boarded and then taken to a police station. A few hours later, she is transported to the hospital, in a deep coma. She died on September 16. She is buried in Saqqez on the 17th. There was no autopsy. Dead by a lock of hair, in the splendor of her 22 years?

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The authorities evoke a heart problem. Her parents, who went to the hospital, are sure that she was beaten. They speak of threads of blood running down her temples. In the brutal simplicity of it, these are the facts. But this unexplained death, except that it followed an arrest for “improperly” used headscarf, this death of a young woman who, until this fall morning, appeared to be in good health, will set off the storm. Dictatorships are always surprised. There comes a time when the little note at the bottom of the news, just one infamy among many others, becomes a trigger, the overflow that multiplies by ten the courage of a part of the population and causes the explosion. The regime is challenged as it has rarely been.

days of rage

For twenty days, in the four corners of the country, Iranians, women and men, have demonstrated by the thousands. Schoolgirls, students, Iranian women burn the “veil” in the middle of the street. In the more conservative regions, they free speech and their hair. The universities are mobilized and, here and there, strikes break out. These youth, born under the Islamic regime, defy the violence of a repressive machinery that does not hesitate to shoot into the crowd and disfigure adolescent girls with batons. The deaths number in the dozens, the arrests in the thousands.

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During these days of fury, the slogans have evolved. From the denunciation of the “Islamic” veil, we pass to the condemnation of the “Islamic” regime. Never has a protest movement lasted this long since the Iranian revolution forty-three years ago.

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