The Islamic Republic of Iran, also known as Iran or Persia, has had problem after problem and one girl's death may be the end of it all.
By Elena Cartafalsa
Tragically, Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, was killed in Iran. The details of her passing haven't fully been made clear, but this is what we know so far: the government’s morality police took Mahsa into custody for breaking the Islamic dress code. She didn’t fully cover her hair. She was imprisoned for three days and didn’t return alive.
The police claim she had suffered a heart attack and then fell into a coma whilst in custody. However, her family claims that she wasn’t in bad health and that they saw her get beaten by the police. More recently, the Iranian coroner says that her death was the result of an underlying health condition brought on by a surgery she had at eight years old. They say she suffered from severe hypoxia, something that caused a lack of oxygen in the brain, a rapid heart rate, and difficulty breathing. Her family denies this.
Despite the ongoing debate over what truly caused Mahsa Amini’s death, people all over the world have spoken out against the Iranian government. Iranian women have burned their headscarves to challenge the strict laws. School-aged girls have also removed their headscarves and chanted slogans against the Islamic Republic. Beyond this, women everywhere have taken to the streets in protest. They are putting their lives on the line as a reflection of the misogyny of their country. Some even say they “have nothing left to lose.” Men and women rallied behind Mahsa Amini and the strict, misogynistic dress code they must follow but as they so often do, this protest turned violent.
Iran Human Rights, an advocacy group, estimates that around 185 people have died in this protest within the last three weeks. 19 of those were children. One woman named Nika Shakarami is said to be one of these deaths. She went missing on September 20 during a protest in Tehran. Her aunt says her last message was to inform a friend that she was being chased by security forces. After over a week, a body thought to be hers was found. She died from injuries likely caused by blows with a hard object. The police say she fell off a building at that her death was unrelated to the protests. Her mother actively denies this to be the case. She was 16 years old.
Another woman named Sarina Esmailzadeh was also likely beaten to death by security forces on September 23; officials say that she too fell off a building. They claim it was suicide. She was 16 years old. Protesters have been killed in 17 out of Iran's 31 provinces. They were standing up for their human rights.
This has been one of the biggest revolts against the Iranian government since 1979. A large crowd of protestors gathered on a road in front of central Tehran shouting, “By cannon, tank, or firecracker, mullahs must get lost" and " We will kill he who killed our sister." Its fate is the same as its past. It is hard to say with certainty what will become of this, but we can say that change must and will happen.