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It's not just about the headscarf: the mullahs' nightmare has come true


It's not just about the headscarf: the mullahs' nightmare has come true Created: 09/30/2022, 05:24 By: Natalie Amiri The protests in Iran are reaching a new dimension. Not only the women demonstrate, but all groups across society. An essay by Natalie Amiri. Tehran – The mullahs' nightmare has come true. Women across Iran are burning their headscarves, to frenetic applause from both women and m

It's not just about the headscarf: the mullahs' nightmare has come true

Created: 09/30/2022, 05:24

By: Natalie Amiri

The protests in Iran are reaching a new dimension.

Not only the women demonstrate, but all groups across society.

An essay by Natalie Amiri.

Tehran – The mullahs' nightmare has come true.

Women across Iran are burning their headscarves, to frenetic applause from both women and men.

The headscarf is the symbol of the years of oppression of women in Iran.

But it's no longer just about the headscarf.

Iranian society is largely disappointed in the Islamic Republic of Iran.



Those who took to the streets 43 years ago to overthrow the Shah for a freer Iran today apologize to their children for the legacy they are leaving behind: the Islamic Republic.

A repressive regime.

According to surveys, only 30 percent of Iranians see themselves as Muslims.

They have suffered for 43 years, now they have had enough.

Anger over the death of Mahsa Amini has taken women and men to the streets in dozens of cities across Iran.

Mahsa, a 22-year-old Kurdish girl who was visiting Tehran, was arrested by the vice squad in mid-September because her headscarf doesn't fit properly.

A few hours later she is dead. The authorities claim that they have nothing to do with her death.

She would have had a heart attack.

Nobody believes them.

Mahsa Amini was reportedly hit with her head several times by the vice squad on the window of the car into which she was being dragged.

"Gashte Ershad": The Iranian name for the Vice Police

"Gashte Ershad" is the Iranian name for the dreaded moral police.

Hissing a warning "Gashte Ershad" on the street makes anyone who has had dealings with Iran's religious police over the last four decades shudder - and there are many.

The religious police make sure that women in Iran are dressed appropriately for Islam.

Specifically, this means that arms, legs and hair are sufficiently covered.

If this is not the case, you will be shouted at, verbally abused, humiliated, arrested, dragged into minibuses and taken for questioning.

If necessary, the dress code is also enforced by force.

There are countless videos on social media that Iranians have uploaded in recent years to let the world see what is being done to them on a daily basis.

Iran harasses millions of women every year

According to human rights groups, millions of women are stopped and harassed every year in the Islamic Republic for not wearing the hijab correctly.

Scores of Iranian women are serving double-digit prison terms for refusing to wear the veil.

If their headscarf falls off in the car, their car will be confiscated for weeks.

The state constantly shows its arbitrariness, thus signaling its unconditional power.

The protests have now taken on a new dimension.

While students demonstrated in 1999, the middle class in 2009, and those thought to be loyal to the system in 2019, the less educated, ordinary workers, are all on the streets this time.

A cross section of the population.

There have been regular major protests for five years

For about five years, Iran has regularly experienced major protests.

In the first half of 2022 alone, more than 2,000 protests were counted.

People took to the streets for a variety of reasons: water shortages, massive increases in food prices, unpaid salaries, corruption and nepotism.

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But every time the anger threatens to spiral out of control, as it did in 2009, the regime has its weapons.

The security forces do not shy away from deadly force.

It was the same in 2019. People who took to the streets to demonstrate first against gas price increases and then against the regime were shot at.

Up to 1500 Iranians are said to have died at that time.

People know that protest in the Islamic Republic can mean death.

Iranians who have been pushing for change for years are faced with a well-armed state power that is determined to do anything.

For the rulers and their henchmen, a human life counts for nothing.

For this purpose, the Revolutionary Guard was set up with its voluntary unit, the Basij militias.

They fight for the existence of the Islamic Republic.

So far, the regime has reacted with all severity every time.

Because it is also about his survival.

This time it's different.

The Islamic Republic is reacting with all means, but the anger of the people is too great.

Natalie Amiri (44) has been reporting on Iran since 2007.

From 2015 to 2020 she headed the ARD studio in Tehran and moderates the “Weltspiegel”.

Her father is from Iran.

She studied oriental studies in Bamberg, Tehran and Damascus.

© Imago

Iran is a diverse, inspiring country

Iran is not only, as the widespread cliché has become entrenched in people's minds, the country of black-veiled women, mullahs and camels.

Those who travel there get to know a beautiful, diverse and inspiring Iran.

This applies to the impressive landscape as well as to the extremely hospitable people.

Iran could be one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with thriving tourism, start-ups and freedom.

But the power apparatus of the Islamic Republic has something against that.

The government headed by Ebrahim Raissi, a judge in the ultra-conservative judiciary known for thousands of death sentences, which has been in power for a year, has tightened the screws again.

Arrests have been taking place for months, and people who made critical statements were picked up from their homes.

The celebrities among them, like the internationally acclaimed filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, at least get some attention, while others sink into the anonymity of a prison cell.

pop protest

“The cluster of our anger thirsts for rain.

A new world, that's a start, the window to the dream is open (...) In the end, the chain, the worldwide oppression, will break with our hands."

Natalie Amiri posted

this song text (including video) on social networks.

It is taken from a song written by the Iranian sisters

Behin and Samin Bolouri

to the tune of the Italian partisan classic

from World War II

"Bella ciao" .

"Bella ciao" goes back to a protest song from the beginning of the 20th century in which the rice pickers in northern Italy complained about their degrading working conditions.

The two sisters

from Tehran have been performing as a professional pop duo in their home country for more than five years.

Behin, 28, studied costume design, and the 20-year-old Samin have mainly covered Iranian pop from the 60s and 70s.

These last 20 years or so before the 1979 revolution are still celebrated among the population today as “the golden age of Iranian pop”.

The Bolouris first appeared with their cover songs in 2015 at the "Tehran Music Nights Festival".


In addition to the numerous arrests, reprisals include authorities planning to use facial recognition software to identify women who are not wearing a headscarf, or one that is in place, in public places or on the subway.

They should be punished.

The sentence will then be sent to you by post.

The authorities know where the "perpetrator" lives.

The regime's signal to the population: You don't have to believe that a trifle will be forgotten.

The government is showing: We know who you are, we will find you and you will bear the consequences.

Women have been systematically oppressed in the Islamic Republic of Iran for 43 years.

Since 1979, the marriage age for girls has been reduced to 13.

According to Sharia, men can again marry up to four wives and enter into countless temporary marriages, unlike before the revolution.

They are allowed to cast out their wives at will, whether the woman wants it or not.

Islamic law also puts women at a disadvantage when it comes to child custody: daughters are only allowed to stay with their mothers until they are seven and sons until they are two years old.

Divorce is not possible without the consent of the husband.

According to Sharia – the Islamic law that has prevailed in the Islamic Republic since 1979 – whether a woman can go to work depends on the consent of her husband or father.

For trips abroad, women must present the consent of their husbands or fathers – even if they want to apply for a passport to leave the country.

Women are not allowed in the football stadium, they are not allowed to sing, let alone dance.

Shortly after the revolution, hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets when they realized that the revolution was not Iranian in character, but was moving more and more in an Islamic direction, with the result that they had to cover themselves from now on.

The fight for morals has been going on since the 1979 revolution, when Islamist Basij militias - thugs of the system - "ya rusari ya tusari" - shouted "cover yourself or suffer".

Maximum form of civil disobedience in Iran

The fact that women are now simply not wearing their headscarves, loudly defying vice squads on the streets, cutting their hair in protest, and burning their headscarves represents the maximum form of civil disobedience - the greatest resistance to years of oppression ever seen.

They risk everything for this.

There can be prison sentences just for not wearing the headscarf.

In Iran you don't go to protest and then roll up your poster and go home.

If you take to the streets in Iran, you may be arrested - quite possibly even tortured or simply disappear.

The slogan of the women on the streets is, in addition to "Death to the dictatorship" and many others: "Woman, life, freedom".

And so that these slogans are neither heard nor seen the anger of the citizens, the regime not only uses brutal force of arms against the demonstrators, it also takes away their weapon - the internet, the only weapon that the civilian population has.

By distributing videos documenting the brutal crackdown on the protests, they could gain worldwide attention.

International journalists are scarce in Iran, and if they are, they are forbidden from filming the protests.

So the regime of the Islamic Republic is throttling the internet.

During the last major protests in 2009, it did not have this ability.

But now we are in a position to do so: The Iranian telecom authority can throttle or block Internet traffic almost at will within a very short time.

Then it doesn't just go black and no one can publish more pictures of the brutal crackdown.

The civilian population will then no longer be able to organize themselves via social media.

The authorities shut down the communication channels just a few days after the protests began: Instagram and Whatsapp are blocked, Twitter, Telegram and Facebook were already blocked anyway.

Help and solutions for the demonstrators on Iran's streets should be found with Elon Musk, in Starlink.

Starlink is a satellite-based system that is intended to enable Internet access even in remote locations that are not accessible via cable connections.

But the ground stations, the hardware, are missing.

And the regime of the Islamic Republic will certainly not agree to a delivery.

"We will only win if we arm ourselves"

A Tehran woman said in an interview on the phone: We will only win if we arm ourselves, otherwise we will only take beatings again this time.

The protests in Iran aren't really reaching the West, so the Islamic Republic's calculations are paying off: throttle the Internet, block social media, hardly any pictures, international news channels are losing interest.

And again the regime has the upper hand.

And could win against your own people.

The women and men on the streets in Tehran, Shiraz, Karaj and many other cities are risking their lives right now.

You are on your own against a brutal regime.

People fight for freedom and self-determination, the values ​​of the West.

Who, if not the West, now has to show the people of Iran that they are seen?

And that he is in solidarity?

If feminist foreign policy doesn't act now, then when?

And if women in politics don't send a signal of support, who will?

The Iranian people want that. But they find it difficult to hope for it.

Too often she has been left alone during past protests.

If she succeeds one day, then today's demonstrators will be able to tell their granddaughters: The headscarf was a symbol of the oppression of women in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Your granddaughters will then know if today's protests were the beginning of the end.

"It was never just about the headscarf," the granddaughters will hear.

(Natalie Amiri)

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2022-09-30

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