One Life Lives On

A young woman stands with her brother on a train station in Tehran. They’re Kurdish and visiting the city from a small town. She is approached by the morality police for not wearing her hijab properly and is taken into detention. Three days later she is dead. Her name is Mahsa Amini and her death has unleashed protest and demands for human dignity in Iran and throughout the world. 

Hospital records, photos and eyewitnesses tell us that Mahsa was beaten and fell into a coma from which she never recovered. From her family we know she was a healthy twenty –two year old.

For forty years the morality police have been sanctioned with the task of ensuring the dress codes for women are followed. But today even women who wear the hijab willingly are saying, “Enough”. There is no need for violence; there is no need for coercion. 

For the past two weeks the women led protests carry on. Burning hijabs, cutting their hair, and defiantly rebuking government authority. The death toll of protesters is estimated at seventy-six, but no one really knows.

Here is what we do know: the death of Mahsa Amini has ignited a roaring fire from the smoldering outrage of young and old, women and men. What we do know is that there are people willing to sacrifice human dignity and life to follow orders. What we can do is to stop giving our power to those who are so very willing to destroy us with it.

This is not an Iranian issue, not a hijab issue. This is not even a woman issue – although women have paid the highest price for living under unchecked power. 

This is a human issue and one we must all work to change.

I stand with the women and men of Iran and throughout the world who are demanding human dignity and freedom from tyrannical leadership. I am saddened by the loss of life and I know we can all do better than we have done. Violence is a sickness and has no justification. It perpetuates itself.

I have always appreciated the song Bella Ciao now sung in Persian by an Iranian woman. Please feel the spirit of resistance it upholds. Please join in resisting the urge to comply with ignorance. That is something we can all do.

In a September 25 video, Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi called for the support and participation of the creative community: “I invite all artists, filmmakers, intellectuals, civil rights activists from all over the world and all countries, and everyone who believes in human dignity and freedom to stand in solidarity with the powerful and brave women and men of Iran by making videos, in writing or any other way,” Farhadi wrote.

Let us carry on in confidence that our day has come.

5 thoughts on “One Life Lives On

  1. So glad you addressed this critical issue this week. I’m in awe of the courage it takes to resist – in places where prison and death may be the consequence.


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