Riots and Rebellions: Mahsa Amini
"I incite this meeting to rebellion." - Emmeline Pankhurst
Five years ago I was studying at Linneaus University in Sweden. During my semester abroad I met many people from all over the world - from the United States, France, China, Japan, Singapore, and Iran. This week my friend (who I will not name), approached me about the current crisis in Iran asking for support.
Now, I live in Britain, and obviously, a lot of stuff has been going down on our tiny weird isolated island and the news of Mahsa Amini's death has not really hit our mainstream news. I have seen a few articles here and there, between the Monarchy, Liz Truss, Russia and Ukraine, the cost of living crisis, Brexit, and so much more! Sadly, no one I know personally is actively discussing the Iranian Protests.
Now it might just be me, but I feel like in the age of the internet we should be aware of everything going on in the world (well as much as we possibly can), not just in our nation or the ones we like more (allies). I said this in a previous article but, if you use the internet you are, whether intended to or like it much, you are a global citizen. Nationality is irrelevant on the internet, we all exist here in the space digital space and it's our job as interconnected people to make sure all our voices are heard and valued, not just Western ones.
Who is Mahsa Amini? She was a 22-year-old woman who died under suspicious circumstances in police custody (also referred to as morality police). Consequently, this has since exploded into protests for democracy and women's rights. A BBC news report states:
"Mahsa Amini died after being detained for allegedly breaking headscarf rules. Officers reportedly beat Ms Amini's head with a baton and banged her head against one of their vehicles. The police have said there is no evidence of any mistreatment and that she suffered sudden heart failure.
And while Mr Raisi (Iranian President) says her death will be investigated, his Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi has insisted that Ms Amini had not been beaten."
As a Westerner who is worryingly witnessing women's rights being stripped silently away, I feel it is paramount, whether a democrat, woman, or in fact just an ordinary individual, that this is all our fight too. This is a global problem. The pendulum has been swinging from one extreme to the other for far too long now, so much so it has nearly tipped the entire thing to its side.
So why am I writing this, and why are you reading it? Censorship and lies. Lies are everywhere. Censorship is around every corner of the internet. We are in an era of abundant information, yet misinformation and lies spread quicker than covid. Deceit is normal now, corruption is expected, and the way I see the world is this: The governments of this world are slowly losing control and power, and are desperately trying to grasp onto it, but unfortunately for them, the people's revolution is here, and whatever the banner, people from all backgrounds have had enough. People are tired of being exploited, people are angry that profits take priority. Protests are happening everywhere, from Britain to Iran and then to Russia. Greed is a deadly sin, and liberty will never die, no matter how bleak our world might be.
“They’re lying. They’re telling lies. Everything is a lie … no matter how much I begged, they wouldn’t let me see my daughter,”
Amjad Amini (Mahsa's father) told BBC Persia on Wednesday.
Since the start of the protests, reports say fifty and more people have been killed (although all reports have different figures, which makes my job harder because what's the right number? Not only this, I hate how humans are reduced to just numbers and statistics). Women are burning their hijabs in the streets and cutting their hair. The people are united in the streets protesting for their freedom.
My friend warned me that the government would cut the internet to stop the world from knowing but their efforts have been completely futile because we know, we see you and the world is watching. When I tried to get in contact with my friend the following day, and after what felt like a lifetime in limbo, I got a chilling reply that read:
"They are shooting at us in the streets."
Censorship and freedom are often entwined together. Social media creates problems for governments because, in essence, we are all journalists sharing what we perceive to be our truths. Although this can be problematic for many reasons, we only show people what we want them to see. (Remember this when you think about states/leaders). But, ultimately, it holds people to account, and it ridicules governments in a way the traditional media could never in our modern age. That's why censorship exists even more so now and is thriving.
Videos circulating on social media have captured violent unrest in dozens of cities across the country, with some showing security forces firing what appeared to be live ammunition on protesters in the north-western cities of Piranshahr, Mahabad and Urmia.
Amnesty International has warned that evidence it gathered pointed to "a harrowing pattern of Iranian security forces deliberately and unlawfully firing live ammunition at protesters."
Of course, a corrupt government wants to censor what is really happening on its nation's streets. Why would anyone want outside interference? The USSR is the first thing that springs to mind - the lies, the fear, the power. The police are the upholders of fear, the law is their power, and the lies are the truths that bind it all together. Yet once you begin to remove fear and see that law does not equate to morality, and (as HBO's Chernobyl put it beautifully):
"When the truth offends, we lie and lie until we can no longer remember it is even there. But it is still there. Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later that debt is paid.”
The truth prevails as the saying goes. Combine all of this with anger and a bit of hate, and then you've got yourself what is happening all over the planet now.
Fear is nothing when your rights are being stolen from you, when you're hungry and can't make ends meet when your very life is on the line; fear doesn't exist, we learn it as we grow we are not born with it, which means we can unlearn it too. And as for power, I often think about Throne's Lord Varys:
“Power resides where men believe it resides. It's a trick. A shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.”
I believe it to be and always will be residing with the people, because people are the true power. When we unite as a collective, whether in Iran or Russia as we are seeing this week, my country last, we are together as one as equals. Our very survival is already at stake because of climate change, our planet is dying, and as a species, I think if we don't unite sooner rather than later, we will undoubtedly perish as one.
I just cannot believe in 2022 we are still on the conversational topic of Women's Rights, and Human Rights in general. In my mind it's a given, we are all people, with hopes, dreams, desires, flaws, vices, and bad habits. We are human, nothing more and nothing less. I stand with all women, I stand with the ordinary person. People shouldn't have to suffer or lose their life for things to change. People shouldn't have to struggle to have the basic means of survival. It should be a given. What has occurred in Iran is a terrible tragedy that should not have happened in this modern age. Sadly the truth is, this is not the first time, and probably not the last.
Despite how far women's rights have come over the past 150 years, there's still a long way to go for women globally, whether it's gender pay, or pro-choice. Even here in the U.K., 50% of men think Women's Rights have 'gone too far', it's absurd. Women shouldn't be told what they can and cannot do with their own bodies, and honestly, I'm just tired of the fact I have to even say that because it's bloody 2022 for Christ's sake!
Mahsa was 22, that is a life barely lived and it breaks my heart, as it has done many people. We must try to be aware of our surroundings, whether in the real world or digital. We must try to understand, but always challenge. We must try to accept people for who they are, not what they look like, what they own and how many followers they have. We must appreciate life and its privileges, and help and support those who do not have such things. We must stand together... did we learn nothing from the pandemic? Whatever God we believe in, we come from the same one, all valued, all equal, all being.
A new world is emerging as the old one screams its way into the history books, it's time to embrace change with fighting hands. But I think Charlie Chaplin said it best.
May your soul be at rest Mahsa:
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Stay safe, stay hopeful, and stay blessed.
About the Creator
Rosie J. Sargent
Hello, my lovelies! Welcome, I write everything from the very strange to the wonderful; daring and most certainly different. I am an avid coffee drinker and truth advocate.
If you're open to an argument follow me on Twitter @NuttallJasmin :)