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‘Women, Life, Liberty’: Why I cut my hair to support Iranian protesters NewsPipa


When 20-year-old Soutiam Goodarzi from Leeds saw a video of an Iranian woman burning her hijab and cutting her hair, she wanted to do the same.

Goodarzi was born in Iran and lived there until he was nine years old. Martha, 22, who is now a student at Oxford University, was arrested for breaking hijab laws. It remains in my heart,” he said.

“I cut my hair as a sign of solidarity with the women in Iran,” she told HuffPost UK. “To draw attention to the protests, especially since internet access is restricted in Iran”.

Goodarzi is one of thousands of women around the world who hacked their locks as a symbol of protest, solidarity and remembrance.

On September 13, Martha Amini was arrested by Iran’s so-called “morality police” in Tehran for wearing a head scarf. Three days later she died.

Her death comes amid growing reports from Iran that women face repression over how they dress. Some officials said women were barred from entering government buildings and banks unless they were dressed in accordance with Islamic law.

Now, Iranian women are setting fire to their hijabs and cutting off their hair to protest their rights, sparking the biggest protests in years.

Protests were held across the country, and many have seen riot police respond with pellet guns and water cannons, titled “Women! Life! Freedom!” At least nine people have died as of Friday, September 23.

The government has also imposed an internet shutdown, preventing Iranians from speaking to each other via popular social media messaging apps, as well as cracking down on information about the protests spreading around the world.

Still, the movement has spread around the world, with women of all ages filming themselves getting their hair cut.

What caused the protest?

On September 13, a 22-year-old woman named Mahsa Amini was arrested by Iran’s moral police for wearing a headscarf that was too loose while visiting the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Iran has strict laws that require women to wear a hijab (headscarf and loose clothing that covers the limbs). On Friday, September 16, Amini died in hospital after she was in a coma for three days.

Police claim she died of sudden heart failure, but her family claims she had no health problems and suspected she had been beaten.

The first protests occurred at a funeral in Amini, her hometown of Kurdistan. There, women enraged by Amini’s death in police custody began taking off their hijabs in protest against the regime’s draconian hijab laws.

Since then, the protests have grown and escalated. More people, including men, took to the streets in at least 15 cities to express their support for women’s rights and their dissatisfaction with the Iranian government, shouting “Take down the dictator!” And the “Death of Khomeini” (Supreme Leader) is being heard all over the country.

The government responded with a violent crackdown. Video footage from a Twitter user shows riot police using water cannons on protesters in several locations, including central Tehran.

In other videos, gunshots can be heard in the chaotic streets as protesters throw stones at riot police and fire with pellet guns.

Women who started off by taking off their hijabs to protest strict laws are now publicly burning their hijabs.

Pro-regime protests were also seen in some cities, with hijab-wearing women holding placards reading “We are obedient to our leaders.”

what is happening in uk

Protests and vigils in support of Iranian women have spread around the world, and the UK is no exception. So far, there have been demonstrations in Birmingham and London, with more to come.

UK-based women are also cutting their hair to show their unity.

Somaye Tohidi, a 34-year-old PhD student at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, moved to the UK when she was 22. “A symbolic act of mourning in my culture” – although she believes this could make returning to Iran difficult.

“I don’t wear a headscarf, yet I am religious and I [am] Be explicit about this aspect of my identity on social media. By cutting my hair and posting a video on social media, I thought I would declare that you can be religious and anti-government in Iran,” she told The Huffington Post UK. .

“I knew that by posting this I would make traveling to Iran dangerous. But I thought this was the least sacrifice I could make.” News from Iran unfolds from the UK It was difficult to see, solidifying Tohydi’s belief that the current system in her home country was “not reformable.”

“I was always afraid of the idea of ​​revolution because I was afraid of civil war,” she says. “But I think I’ve had enough for now.”

Somayeh Tohidi

Women’s rights groups are now calling for more Britons to support the people of Iran while respecting the right of women to choose to wear the hijab in this country or elsewhere.

Comedian Shapalak Khorsandi Vice President humanist ukBorn in Iran to non-religious parents, he was forced to flee with his family to the UK as a child to obtain asylum. she says.The Iranian regime is killing women who try to live freely. ”

“This is not just an Iranian problem, it’s a global problem,” she told HuffPost UK. “Don’t look away. The denial of this basic human right is an affront to human dignity.”

If British women want to support Iranian women, Horsandi recommends “Keep this up in the news [and] Go to protest and awareness gigs.”

She’s planning her own comedy gig. She added that our government “needs to be strong with the Iranian regime” and suggests that people reach out to their local MPs on the cause.

“Martha Amini cannot speak any louder. The world needs to act in solidarity and amplify her voice and that of all Iranian women who dare to speak out for choice and democracy. There is,” she says.

Nasmin Akhtar, co-chair of the women’s rights group Muslim Women’s Network UK, warned that footage from Iran may be particularly difficult for some Muslim women to see.

“While it may be natural for some Muslim women to see images of burning the hijab as an important aspect of their faith and religion, it is advisable to understand the context of the protests.” she says.

“Just as Muslim women have the right to choose to wear the hijab, Muslim women should be free to exercise their right not to wear the hijab without fear of punishment. No one or any country dictates what a Muslim woman should wear, and I think this is something that the majority of Muslim women can agree on.”

Akthar said those working for the Muslim Women’s Network (MWN) said:I applaud the courage of the Iranian women and men who are protesting for risking their lives for the human rights of all. ”

For Muslim women affected by the incident, she says the MWN helpline is available for support and advice.

The protests were sparked by tragedy, but student Soutiam Goodarzi says the global reaction is reason for hope.

“I have to say how I feel is full of anger and hope. I am angry with the regime that killed an innocent woman. But I am hopeful,” she says.

“Things could finally turn around in Iran, that the people of Iran would finally be liberated, and not have to live under a regime where even the slightest glimpse of their hair could cost them their life.” I hope that.”

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