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A Chronology Of The Iranian Protest

How the death of Mahsa Amini in Iranian custody united

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A photo from the Freedom Rally For Iran protest in Winnipeg, Canada on October 1. (Photo: File)

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On the 16th of September 2022, the Iranian ‘Morality’ police arrested, a 22- year-old Kurdish female Jina/Mahsa Amina, from Kurdish city of Saqqez, for unsatisfactory covered her hair according to the Islamic Sharia law, in the capital city of Tehran where she traveled a day before for a vacation.  

Closed-circuit cameras, wired on the eve of her death by the Iranian police, shows Jina was brought to the police station, where she collapsed and was taken to the hospital. She was pronounced dead three days after she was hospitalized. The state denied access to the body of Jina by her family and refused an examination taken by a non-state forensic doctor of the cause of her death. 

This triggered a protest in Jina’s hometown Saqqez with a slogan chanting ‘’Jin, Jian Azadi’’ (women, life, freedom), a slogan with a philosophical backbone and rhetoric articulated in the writings of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdulla Ocalan who is now serving a life sentence in Turkey. ‘According to Ocalan, freedom is meaningless until women are totally free.’  

The slogan fits well with the situation in which gender apartheid has been the state official policy for over four decades. The catchphrase has also embraced radical demands for political openness, freedom and human rights that have been denied by the government since 1978. 

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The protests quickly spread to other cities in Kurdistan and across the country, and in less than a week people from every corner of the country with different ethnic, religious, languages, gender and political orientations took to the streets demanding Justice for Jina under the exact same slogan. The protest is now surpassing 60 days with no sign of diminishing soon, targeting the very foundation of the regime and its political establishment. 

The state responded with a heavy hand, using every method of repression to crackdown the protest. According to the Human Right Watch for Iran the state security forces so far killed 340 people including 28 children and detained thousands. In the first trial of those detained, which was held on 31st of October 2022 the ‘revolutionary court’ charged four for being the ‘enemy of God’, an overt term that would lead to a death sentence in Iran’s judiciary system. 

The nature and the characteristics of the revolt led many Iranians to believe that this would be the beginning of the end of four decades of the Islamic Republic brutality, injustice, deprivation and suppression.  For some reasons, I believe the same, and if not, the uprising would be the foundation of a forthcoming revolution that would eventually overthrow the regime. 

Compared to the previous uprising taking place between 2008 and 2010 (Green movement) and in 2018, which was ignited by the rise in the price of petrol and other commodities, the current movement and the slogans people are chanting are far more assertive and radical than merely demanding changes to some policies. 

In its major campaign against the regime, the Green Movement showed no significant differences from the Iranian mainstream ideology when it comes to women’s rights, human rights, and ethnic/religious rights. Because of this, the movement attracted less attention from people who were not affected by the slight differences the movement had with the hardliners. The Kurds, Baluchs, Arabs, human rights activists, and feminists did not join the movement. 

However, when the two leaders of the movement, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Karoubi, who were also founder members of the regime, were placed under house arrest, the movement ultimately subsided. Nevertheless, many skeptics view the Green Movement as a safety valve that saved the Iranian regime from collapsing on many occasions since its establishment by the former president Mohammad Khatami. 

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On the other hand, industrial demands for a decrease in the price of petrol, energy, and other commodities that fuelled the 2018 and 2019 uprisings did not reach the affluent people, women, ethnic and religious groups. 

Consequently, except for the most economically deprived vulnerable people from the periphery of the large cities, the uprising drew no attention enough to challenge the very foundation of the regime’s political structure. 

The calm situation after the 2018 uprising comes after the government killed hundreds and detained thousands during the crackdown on the protest. 

A significant difference between the current uprising (Jina Uprising) and other uprisings is its idiosyncrasies that lies in the slogan of ‘jin, Jian azady’ (women, life, freedom) that unites an array of social factions and classes. The slogan is trans-ethnic, trans-religious, and transnational, with the potential to accommodate a wide range of social, economic, and political viewpoints and spectrums. A peculiarity that leaves behind only the theocratic ideology of the state founded on the control of women and discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities.  

Another distinguishing feature of the current uprising is its revolutionary nature. Over the past 43 years, the regime has exercised its power and authority in three arenas: the streets, mosques, and universities. To realize this, the Iranian government executed thousands of dissidents on the streets of Iran. Streets for the Iranian regime have always been a place for showing muscles, while at the same time, demoralizing the presence of women on the streets. 

Until this moment, this stage of exercise of authority has been taken by the people and more notably by Iranian young women. 

Supporters of the Iranian uprising gathered in Winnipeg on October 1 at The Forks. (Photo: File)

The other pillar on which the regime was built was religious institutions. 

Coercive forces and religious institutions combined to create a complicated machine of control over Iranian society. Religion provides a consented form of authority for the state. It is because the state claims to represent god. On the other hand, coercive power has been used as a supplement to total control of society. In the digital age, young Iranians no longer accept the authority that does not come from the people. Therefore, by rejecting the authority of religion they have practically rejected the authority of the state. Thus, in this situation, the state’s only tool of authority is coercive force which was proven to be ineffective during the last 46 days of protest in Iran. 

The last pillar of power lost by the Iranian state to the people of Iran was universities, a place that plays an important role in today’s movement. To prevent a repeat of the collapse of the Shah regime, in which students play a vital role, the Islamic regime launched a ‘cultural revolution’ (1980-1983) in Iranian universities. 

Thousands of lecturers, intellectuals, and students were replaced by people loyal to the regime and the entire curriculum was changed. ‘Islamic sociology’ was introduced as a means of aligning the curriculum with political Islam. The active participation of students in the movement exposed the flaws of the regime’s 38-year cultural revolution. 

Shamal Mirza holds a PhD. in sociology, is an Interpreter/Translator at Lionbridge and is a Lecturer Assistant in the Department of Sociology at University College Dublin.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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