10 Ways you can support this women-led Revolution
My name is Shideh, and I was born and raised in Iran.
On 19th of October, Nova held its first event on Let’s Talk About Iran. The session was to provide a platform for the voices of people within Iran to be heard by the outside world, and to speak about the underlying issues that have culminated in these protests against the current Iranian government. The aim of Nova’s Let’s Talk About… series is to discuss potential ways to move from words to effective actions, and to provide support. This online session was the first in a series of events that will focus on this seismic chapter unfolding in Iran’s history.
87% (of attendees) had little idea about how to help
The panel consisted of 3 Iranian women, myself included, who wanted to share our experiences and offer our views on the history and potential for long-term change. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in the conversation and raise questions.
At the start of our session, we asked the audience how much they knew about the events happening in Iran. We then asked if people knew what they could do to help the Iranian people. Responses from the first question revealed that 38% knew little about the events, and 87% had little idea about how to help.
On the 16th of September 2022, Mahsa Jina Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish/Iranian woman was arrested and killed in police custody for not properly wearing her headscarf. In the following weeks, protests erupted across Iran and the rest of the world.
This historical movement, led by women of Iran, has seen men, women and children standing in solidarity against the regime. For the first time in 43 years of the dictatorship of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iranians of different religions and ethnicities from across the provinces of Iran, and in multiple countries around the world, are coming together with the united goal of freeing Iran from its dictatorship and reinstating human rights and freedom.
By mid-October, more than 298 people, including 47 children, had been killed and 14,161 more people imprisoned by the Iranian regime, for seeking their basic and fundamental human rights. Those in prison have no right to a fair trial, access to legal support or communication with their families.
The Historical Perspective
We started by reviewing a brief history of Iran and details of movements before and after revolution (see below). We also looked at the Islamic Republic of Iran government structure and covered a few key statistics on Iran; a nation of 88 million (49.53 % female, 50.47% male) with median age range of 25–54 years (48.94% of population). Where 60% of university graduates and holders of higher education are Iranian women.
Iran Protests 2022 — a Chapter Unfolding
We then moved on to the latest on current protests, the role of women, opposition, and different political agendas. Here, there is so much history and complexity involved that writing about what is happening in Iran right now only scratches the surface of 43 years of oppression, human rights abuses, and deaths at the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
It is important to understand that the protests are not just about the enforced hijab. Protests represent the wider stand against subjugation; corruption; unjustifiable imprisonment (e.g. confessions obtained under torture); acid attacks; and disappearances and deaths at the hands of the Regime.
The protests are about basic and fundamental human rights. The right to life and liberty. Freedom from torture. Freedom of opinion and expression. The protests are about women’s rights, the children of Iran and their safety and about the protection of the LGBTQIA+ community.
In response to demonstrations, from 19th September, the Iranian government shut down internet access along with nationwide restrictions on social media.
Iran’s Education Minister, Yousef Nouri, confirmed that some of the school students who had been protesting were detained and referred to what he called ‘psychological institutions’ to reform and re-educate them to prevent ‘anti-social’ behaviour.
Our collective voices are helping…It has allowed the people of Iran to see we stand with them and that they are not isolated.
As soon as we heard about Mahsa Jina Amini’s death and the ensuing protests we, the Iranian community in diaspora, have been actively sharing the information that we receive about the protests in Iran, not just in solidarity but to help protect the protesters by disseminating information through mobile and internet networks.
Our collective voices are helping as it has allowed a disruption to the clampdown on internet service by the Regime. It has allowed the people of Iran to see we stand with them and that they are not isolated. The propaganda, gaslighting and brutal actions of the Regime are being seen across the world and weakening their hold. International condemnation is gathering pace and strengthening the cause of the Iranian people.
The sharing of information has assisted journalists to report on matters, as the BBC and other independent media are banned from reporting from inside Iran. All the information being shared is preventing the normalisation of the Regime’s actions, and that is a powerful tool against any oppressive government — collective voices calling them out, shining a spotlight on the atrocities and giving the people hope to carry on their stand against oppression.
Through our platform of Let’s Talk About Iran, we are asking people to raise awareness and amplify the voices of the Iranian people, to help defend them and counteract against the Regime’s attempt to isolate and extinguish their voices and their lives. Every time we post or share, we legitimatise their voices and their chances of survival increases. The hashtag #mahsaamini has been used over 100 million times, and the power that is bringing for the Iranian people is extraordinary. So many in Iran have contacted us, saying how grateful they are for their voices to be heard after 43 years of isolation - so please be their voice.
10 ways we shared to help this women-led Revolution
5 large scale actions:
All countries to demand the release of their political prisoners and stop their political relationship with Iran. For example: to stop the JCPOA (Joint Comprehension Plan of Action) Agreement with Iran (The agreement was made in 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States — plus Germany P5+1)
Encompassing the idea of removal of Iran from UN commissions such as Commission for Status of Women (CSW)
The UN is committed to “..maintaining international peace and security; developing friendly relations among nations; promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights” — this is unacceptable that Islamic Republic members have not been appropriately charged with crimes against humanity and are still allowed to be part of UN.
Methods in which we can freeze the assets of members of Islamic Republic of Iran government and removal of their family members in UK and other countries — Sizeable assets, real state and bank accounts have been associated with key figures in Islamic Republic of Iran with their families living a very luxurious life outside Iran.
International Law Communities to come together in order to support efforts with Human Rights Activists and Organisations, to facilitate the previous points of removal and progressively set up an accountability system where members of the Islamic Republic can be charged with crimes against humanity, and for the future to establish a reasonable law for Iran. This may be through signing relevant Petitions, writing to MP’s and taking it to the Courts.
Gain assistance from tech-companies to provide internet and technological support from within/outside Iran and resolve anti-censorship measures.
- They require VPN (Virtual Private Network)
- An idea is to provide (financial) support (donations) to independent companies willing to provide these Networks
- Labels such as “Iran-State Controlled Media” on posts
5 small scale actions:
Speak to Iranians you know and ask them to explain the situation to you and how you can help. Also ask them how they are coping!
Post or share about the protests in Iran using hashtags #MahsaAmini #womanlifefreedom #FreeIran #Iranprotests2022 #BethevoiceofIran
Speak about Iran and raise awareness amongst family, friends and colleagues.
Write to your MP to ask them to give visibility to this issue.
I would like to thank my fellow panellists:
- Mersedeh Prewer, practicing Costs Lawyer for an International Law Firm based in the city of London. British-Iranian born and raised in England. She spent her early twenties travelling to Iran learning about her family and their lives pre and post revolution. She is also a recipe developer and writes a recipe blog primarily focussing on Persian recipes. She has used her food blogging social media* platform to raise awareness of the issues in Iran.
- Dr Mana was born in Iran in 1983, and subsequently her parents left Iran emigrating to a few countries, before settling in London in 1988. She is now one of the many adults of the first generation immigrants, from parents that chose to no longer live within the early days of the Revolution and so reluctantly left Iran. She lives and works in London and frequently travels to Iran.