Mahsa Amini was arrested on 13 September 2022 in Tehran by Iran’s ‘morality police’ for allegedly wearing her headscarf too loosely. Three days later, she died in custody. She was only 22. Mahsa’s untimely death sparked widespread resistance on the streets after some 40 years of hardline oppression. The images out of Iran show young people—mainly women—taking to the streets to protest. They’re dancing, singing, removing their hijabs and cutting their hair, chanting: ‘Women. Life. Freedom.’ These protesters evoke the power of humanity in the face of great adversity. Such images of bravery are absolutely inspiring.
Last Saturday, Nasrin Ghaderi, a Kurdish university student studying philosophy in Tehran, died while she was protesting. She was 35. Mahsa and Nasrin are not the only victims of this brutal regime—indeed, more than 300 people have been killed for expressing their need for freedom, including 41 children. I’m deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Iran. Iranians continue to be denied fundamental human freedoms, including the right to protest. The Iranian regime’s brutal denial of women’s rights must surely bring into question their seat on the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Berowra is the home to the fourth-largest Persian community in Australia, and I don’t doubt that those members of our community are hurting for family and loved ones in Iran. Even though we’re far away, we continue to witness the bravery of the protesters and applaud the strength of their spirit. We stand in solidarity, and we say: ‘Women. Life. Freedom.’