HomeUSAIran faces global feminist reckoning as it joins LA protestsOUS News

Iran faces global feminist reckoning as it joins LA protestsOUS News

Newja Niazmandi was born and raised in Iran and moved to the US when she was 17 years old. In recent days, his thoughts have focused on another young woman living in Iran – and whose death has touched a global nerve.

Mahsa Amini, 22, died last week after she was detained by Tehran’s ethics police, who were accused of not wearing her hijab properly. Street protests in several Iranian cities have turned deadly as protesters burn scarves over their heads and cut their hair in defiance of strict dress codes.

“It’s about feminism. Everyone should understand that women are fighting for their freedom,” said Niazmandi, one of hundreds of protesters who gathered outside the Wilshire Federal Building in Westwood on Wednesday night.

“They’re taking to the street trying to protest, and they’re being shot,” she said of people in Iran. “If you watch the video over there, they don’t care whether you’re a woman or not; They don’t care if you have a hijab – they just want to crush you.”

The hijab, the headdress worn by some Muslim women, has been made compulsory in Iran since the 1979 revolution. The United Nations Human Rights Council says Iran’s ethics police are cracking down on women who accuse them of not wearing the hijab properly, the Associated Press reported.

According to the United Nations, videos have emerged in which women are beaten with batons, thrown into police vans and slapped in the face for not covering their hair completely.

Amini was born in Saqz, western Iran, and was on her way to Tehran with her family when she was arrested on 13 September. He died three days later. Police have denied that Amini was abused and say she died of a heart attack, while her family has maintained that she did not have a heart condition and was healthy, multiple media outlets reported. told.

Independent UN experts have said Amini was beaten up by morality police, but did not provide evidence. The United Nations Human Rights Office has called for an inquiry into his death.

“If they are not held accountable, Iran’s security forces will continue to feel enthused to kill or injure demonstrators and prisoners,” said Diana Elthavi, Middle East director of Amnesty International, in a statement that denounced women’s mandatory veil laws. have been arrested for violating it.” Wednesday.

Los Angeles is home to the majority of people of Iranian descent outside Iran. Many live in Tehrangels, a Persian enclave in Westwood that began in the 1960s and flourished after the 1979 revolution. According to Census Bureau data, there were 87,000 people of Iranian descent in the city in 2019.

Many members of the community are now taking to the streets of LA in solidarity to protest against Amini’s death around the world.

“Similar to George Floyd and what happened here in America, people in Iran are fed up and they want women to have their rights,” said John Asghari, who lived in Iran as a child. Lived, but moved to America for about 15 years. Earlier The 28-year-old said it was just “minimal” to show up at Wednesday’s protest and help “spread the word”.

Ariana Siddiq, 22, said Amini’s death was particularly disturbing because it could happen to any woman in Iran.

During the protest, she said, “I could have gone to Iran and my hijab could have fallen a little and I could have been killed in Iran.” “If that happened, America would be doing something about it because I’m a US citizen.”

At least nine people have been killed since demonstrations began over the weekend, the AP reported on Thursday, in ongoing unrest between protesters and Iranian security forces. The protest coincides with President Ibrahim Raisi’s visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

The Guardian reported that Iranians have reported widespread internet blackouts as the country blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp and completely shut down the internet in Tehran and parts of Kurdistan.

Raisi attempted to address the outrage over Amini’s death while speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. He mentioned the difficulties faced by the detained migrant children and Palestinians in the US.

“Human rights belong to everyone, but unfortunately, it has been crushed by many governments,” Raisi said.

Emily Doyle, 23, whose mother was born in Iran, said she struggles to speak out against Iran because she is concerned about the negative attitude many Americans have about Iranians. But ultimately she believes it is important to stand up for women’s rights.

,[Iran doesn’t] There’s no internet right now,” Doyle said. “They took down Instagram, and now I think the internet is down in Iran. That’s why it’s important to be here, because we have the internet and we can continue to spread the message of what’s happening.”

Siddiq insisted that Iranians in the US should speak up because they have more freedom to protest.

“It just shows that we need to be the ones to do this,” she said. “We are less likely to be killed compared to a country like Iran. Women are being killed for protesting. If you are in the states and able to protest, you can too. If they have a voice now, you can.” If not, then we need to be their voice.”

Niazmandi said she understands what it feels like to be “oppressed” and “cursed by your society” as a woman because she attended a girls’ school in Iran and a strict dress code, including requiring her to wear a hijab. had to follow. And to cut his nails to a certain length.

“I want to be there,” she said of Iran. “I want to go out and I want to show off my hair, and I want to be the person who lights up their headscarf. When I see women without hijabs in front of the police they know they’re going to get beaten up at some point.” So it’s inspiring and brave. They’re in a state of desperation that they just have to stand there and say, ‘Hey look at me. I’m without the hijab, and I’m here for my human rights.’

“It had to happen at some point, and now it’s happening, and I’m really happy for them,” Niazmandi said. “I’m also really sad because it’s not happening for free. They’re making a lot of sacrifices out there.”