Be Our Voice

Elham Dehdari, CONTRIBUTOR

On Sep. 16, 2022, Mahsa (Jina) Amini — a Kurdish woman — was visiting family members in Tehran, Iran, when she was stopped in the street by the “morality police” for not wearing her hijab in accordance with government standards. Mahsa was detained and severely beaten while in custody, succumbing to her injuries shortly after her arrest. 

Mahsa’s death has sparked protests across the globe against the Islamic Republic (IR) and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is an organization that safeguards the IR. Since the protests started over a month ago, the IR has violated multiple human rights laws by detaining and killing innocent men, women, and children all over Iran. 

On Sunday, Oct. 2, the IRGC deployed excessive force to stop a peaceful campus protest at the Sharif University of Technology, resulting in student casualties. The Guard Corps released tear gas onto crowds of students during the raid on the university to disperse the protesters off campus grounds or herd them into a locked parking garage. Students that funneled into the garage were either beaten by batons, shot with various weapons, or taken into custody. The well-being of demonstrating students and professors remains unknown to their families and the rest of the world. 

On Saturday, Oct. 15, massive fires and explosions erupted in Evin prison in Tehran. Evin prison is not an ordinary prison, but where activists, journalists, writers, students, reporters, and anyone who has spoken out against the IR regime is taken. This cruel act by the IR is being compared to the Holocaust where innocent people of the Jewish community were burned alive for what they believed in. The health status of these prisoners is unknown to their families and their future is unknown to the world.

In the past week, the capital of the Kurdish province in Iran, Sanandaj, has been under attack by the IRGC. Bombs have been dropped on schools, even Elementary schools, and shots were fired at innocent civilians simply because they are of Kurdish descent. Simply because the Kurdish people have decided to fight back for their sister, Mahsa. Simply because Jina is Mahsa’s Kurdish name and the IR has banned Kurdish names in Iran. Simply because the Kurdish province is one of the most impoverished places in the world due to IR’s years of neglect. The health status of the Kurdish people is unknown to their families and their future is unknown to the world.

These are just some examples of the extreme retributions the IR and IRGC have committed against their own people. It is said that the death toll is over 300 people, with over 1000 people injured and 5000 detained (these numbers are estimates as the IR does not release records to the public). What is known is that these crimes can be added to the long list of inhumane terrorist attacks premeditated by the IR. They have shut down the internet, so the voices of the people do not and cannot not reach other countries. This terrorist regime has revealed that their limitless attacks have no restriction of age or gender and they will raid anyone that they feel is a threat.

I am an Iranian- American woman. I was born in Iran, but was given the opportunity to migrate to the United States at a very young age. As an Iranian-American, I do not know how it feels to walk the streets not knowing if I will make it home at night or if I end up in jail because a man did not like how I was dressed. I do not know how it feels to attend schools where self-expression is not only discouraged, but reprimanded with detainment and degradation. I do not live my everyday life in fear of a government that demoralizes my culture and tries to destroy any type of economic growth within my community. 

In America, I dress how I want, say what I want, and practice my culture as I want. These are basic human rights that Iranians do not have. The disturbing thought of my family members leaving home and never returning is crippling, but this is reality for the people living in Iran. The recent protests in Iran have shown me that I can care very deeply for someone that I have never known  and I am asking you to care with me because we are all human and human rights are being violated extensively and severely. 

I am asking you to join me; reach out, post, educate, research, write, speak, and share any news you hear about Iran. I am asking you to be the voice of our Iranian sisters and brothers and stand in solidarity with the innocent men, women, and children being brutally murdered in Iran.

Elham Dehdari is a graduate student in the College of Business at California State University. The views expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of The Pioneer Newspaper or its members.