While an unprecedented uprising with a magnificent feminist element is happening in Iran, there is no sign of global support from the grassroots global women’s rights movement.
This story was originally published at Vocal on Sep 28th, 2022
In 2017, a day after the official inauguration of Donald Trump, thousands of women took to the street in Washington DC and other cities in the U.S. to defend the right of women. In solidarity with the women of the U.S., many people worldwide came to the street and added their voices to this protest.
Again, in June 2022, when the Supreme court of the U.S. overturned Roe, removed the right to abortion as federal law and deferred its legality to the states, again women in the U.S. and all around the world came to the streets to defend women’s rights and especially their right to decide what they want to do with their bodies.
People worldwide who added their voices to this protest were not directly affected by this decision or by the presidency of Donald Trump. Still, we all know that injustice against one person is injustice against all humanity. We all know that women’s rights are human’s rights, and we shouldn’t be silent when these fundamental rights are violated anywhere in the world.
So, where is the global outrage about what is happening inside Iran? Where are the protests in countries that champion human rights and women’s rights in solidarity with Iranian Women?
Yes, there have been many protests all around the world to support Iran’s protests, but these are protests held by Iranians. Yes, a few celebrities share a story on their Instagram accounts and retweet a post about this issue. But where are those grassroots champions of human and women’s rights?
In case you missed the news, ten days ago, in Tehran, an innocent 22 year girl was arrested by ‘Guidance Patrol’ – a division of the Police Force in Iran with the mandate to check all women wear appropriate Hijab. A few hours later, she was sent to a hospital. Mahsa Amini arrived at the hospital with multiple heart and brain strokes. She was brain dead when she arrived at the hospital. Two days later, she was pronounced dead.
Her crime was that her headscarf wasn’t cover all her hair.
Her funeral started a widespread protest in Iran. People came to the street and protested the ‘Guidance Patrol,’ mandatory Hijab and against the Islamic Republic’s cruelty against people, especially women.
The primary demand is simple: people, especially women, should have the right to decide what to wear.
Brave young women took off their headscarves and burned them in front of the riot police. The police responded with violence. Official sources announced that more than 40 people have already been killed in these protests, and many hundreds were arrested, including dozens of journalists.
Some intellectuals signed a letter – including Judith Butler – and labelled these protests a feminist uprising. Many called it a potential first feminist revolution.
The main chant of these protests is: “Women, Life, Freedom.”
So, let me ask again, where are the feminists’ grassroots organizers organizing a global rally to support the fundamental rights of women and their Iranian sisters and brothers who are literally dying in the streets to defend these fundamental rights?
Is there any difference in who is demanding women’s rights? Iranian people are in dire need of support. They probably know that they can’t count on politicians to do anything far beyond verbal support, but it is not a lot to ask social justice warriors, activists, and feminists all around the world to at least show their compassion and solidarity with Iranian people.
Let’s not forget that such support won’t be just about Iranians.
It is not about the Islamic Republic or religion. It is all about defending basic human dignity.
This is a pivotal moment for Iran and its future. Still, it is also a crucial and historic moment for the global women’s movement of the 21st century. The credibility of this movement in front of the eyes of history is at stake.