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How being a young woman with Iranian roots feels right now

Illustration: CBS WIRE

Blog |   12. Oct 2022

This blogger has chosen to be anonymous out of fear for the repercussions of criticizing the Islamic Republic regime. CBS WIRE has verified her identity.

Three weeks ago, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman called Jina Mahsa Amini was beaten to death while in the custody of the Iranian morality police. This incident is sadly not an individual case, but it brought thousands of women to the streets all over Iran to protest against the cruel behavior of the morality police.

While the protests started with the demand to end the obligatory hijab, it quickly turned into a much bigger cause: the demand for basic human rights and the end of the oppressive Islamic Republic regime. Up until today, this protest movement has been heavily driven by thousands of women and young girls.

The protests hit another level when students of the renowned Sharif University in Tehran were put under siege by a state militia group called “Basidji”, who shot, beat, and kidnapped the students on their own campus.

When this news broke, it was the moment in which my emotional roller coaster peaked. As a fresh CBS graduate, I can heavily relate to these students. In this blog post I will reflect on how these current events make me – a young woman with Iranian roots – feel:

Alone

I feel alone. For more than two weeks, the situation has been unfolding in Iran, yet almost none of my non-Iranian friends have reached out to me. All of them know my roots. They know my emotional ties to that region and culture. Even though I have never called Iran my home, they know I am deeply connected to the country. Don´t they care? If not for the people in Iran, then at least for me?

Illustration: Giphy.com

Sad

I am sad because I only see journalists with Iranian backgrounds reporting about this topic, which is needed desperately to create awareness of the situation happening right now. Where is the rest of the world? We need you! We need non-Iranians to explain to other non-Iranians what`s going on and why this is something we should all care about. On top of that, major news outlets either remain silent or report insufficiently and I cannot help but wonder if Iranian human rights are less important to them than others. Why does this crisis not get the attention it needs and deserves?

Scared

I am scared, because the lack of attention makes me feel like I have to actively raise awareness myself. But every Iranian outside of Iran knows that raising our voice even abroad comes with a price. The arm of the regime extends widely across borders and it´s a known fact that embassy employees do nothing else but spy on the Iranian diaspora. Speaking up means I can never enter the country again, or even my family in Iran could be harassed.

Illustration: Giphy.com

Angry

The situation makes me angry! How can such an oppressive regime limit my basic rights, even here in Europe? How can European governments simply accept that? How can this regime be so ruthless against its own people, especially the women? How can a regime sacrifice its young and bright youth, simply for their own survival? This is beyond inhumane. I am angry about the injustice of me having privileges here in Europe while others are fighting and paying with their lives to pass on basic rights and privileges.

Proud

But I am also extremely proud of the Iranian women, who after more than 40 years have had enough. They are going outside without the hijab, burning it, singing and dancing around fires. I could easily do it here in Copenhagen, but in Iran it is a crime and the women risk being beaten, imprisoned, raped, tortured or even killed. Yet, they are taking to the streets for the third week in a row to demand their freedom and basic human rights. Something I never had to do. This humbles me!

Illustration: Giphy.com

Thankful

I feel thankful for having been raised in Europe, for enjoying the freedom and resources to choose and design my life the way I want to. For having had the chance to pursue my studies in a safe environment. For being able to speak freely and now, for being able to amplify the voices of these brave Iranian women.

What is my message to CBS students?

Being half Iranian, when I was younger, I dreamed of one day being in a role that bridges Europe and Iran. So first and foremost, I am sharing my very personal reflections with you to bring what is happening so far away a little bit closer to us here in Denmark.

 

I would like to encourage you to show your solidarity

Anonymous blogger

Secondly, I want to urge everyone to think about what any further backing of the regime by Europe would mean for us. Bear in mind that, according to different sources, our European politicians are currently negotiating a deal that involves big sums of money for the current Iranian regime in return for transparency over their nuclear program and access to oil and gas.

While I understand that, given our energy crisis, access to those resources sounds tempting, I personally am having some kind of déjà-vu and wonder if we should really repeat the mistake we made with Putin.

Thirdly, if anything from these human rights violations resonates with you, which I am sure it does, then I would like to encourage you to show your solidarity.

There are many ways to do so. It could be asking your Iranian friends how they are doing right now or getting informed about the situation and how it is linked to current geopolitical events in the world.

Show your solidarity online or offline by posting about it or going to demonstrations.

Sign petitions or contact your local political representative to get active. What this oppressive regime fears the most is international attention. Let´s give it the most attention we can, such an easy task for us!

Last but not least, I want this to be a reminder for everyone living in a free democratic country to be aware that our freedoms are one of the biggest achievements made by our previous generations.

But this freedom is fragile and needs to constantly be defended. Be critical, be attentive and speak out when you see injustice.

Show solidarity with students all over the world who do not share your privileges.

Because, as Martin Luther King once said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”!

Comments

  1. Trine says:

    Thank you for writing this article. It can be difficult to remember, but human rights are often obtained through blood and struggles. My thoughts go out to all Iranians during these times, and I will be more active in raising my own voice on the issue.

  2. Pia Rønnow Torp says:

    Very powerful words. Thank you for sharing. My thoughts are with the Iranian women.

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