Iranian women against the compulsory veil
The recent “women’s uprisings” in Iran, which erupted almost by accident in a very sensitive political and economic context, have brought turmoil to the country for months now. With each passing day, they have protested against the mandatory wearing of the hijab, and this has become a global protest against the Islamic Republic and its supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. Some analysts, perhaps anticipating further developments, even speak of a new political and cultural revolution.
It all stemmed from a seemingly isolated incident, but one that, in reality, affected millions of women. Keep in mind that the Arab Springs of 2011 arose from the self-immolation of a street vendor whose cart had been confiscated in the village of Sidi Bouzid in central Tunisia. This gave rise to numerous demonstrations and popular uprisings, which quickly spread like wildfire throughout the Middle East.
It was September 13, 2022, when 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini was stopped in Tehran by a morality police patrol, which arrested her for wearing her headscarf in an “inappropriate” manner, leaving some strands of hair free. Taken to the barracks, she was tortured and beaten to death. The photo showing her in a coma in a hospital bed set the country ablaze. Mahsa died on September 16 from the violence she suffered, although a government statement read: “Mahsa Amini died of illness, and during her brief detention she was not beaten.”
Since that time tens of thousands of women, joined by men, have poured on to the streets in many cities of Iran for several weeks, uncovering their heads and often improvising hijab bonfires, shouting, “Woman, life, freedom!”