Massachusetts

Boston protests of Mahsa Amini’s death continue at BPL

“It’s a beautiful day for a protest,” remarked a passerby, glancing down the street in front of the Boston Public Library, where dozens of Iranian and non-Iranian supporters rallied Nov. 5 in solidarity with the ongoing protest movement in Iran. kindled by the echo Death of Mahsa Amini.

Amini, the 22-year-old arrested by Iran’s morality police on September 13 for allegedly wearing a loose hijab that violates Iran’s hijab law, died in custody on September 16. While the government insists Her death was due to an “underlying illness,” her family said, and police beat and beat Amini until she slipped into a coma, dying in hospital three days later.

Protests first erupted at Amini’s funeral in her hometown in Iran’s Kurdish region, and demonstrations have spread across the world in their sixth week. Beyond Iran’s major cities, solidarity events stretch from neighboring Afghanistan and Turkey to countries incl UK, Sweden, Greece, Italy, Germany, Lebanon, Spain and major cities in the United States.

in Boston, Independent Iranians of Boston organized the demonstration on November 5, during which protesters distributed roses and leaflets entitled “What it’s like to live in Iran under the Islamic Republic”. They waved the country’s flag and even wrapped the colors green, white and red around the neck of “art“, one of 84″ Bronze “Sisters of Literature” Statues sit in front of the library. The organization held another demonstration in front of the Boston Public Library on November 12, also in support of the current Iranian uprising.

“Woman, Life, Freedom” — a Kurdish rallying cry symbolizing the global feminist solidarity movement — echoed through the area, along with rhythmic chants like “Justice for Iran” and “Down with me [the] Islamic Republic.”

At its core, the protest movement is an uprising against the Islamic Republic four decades patriarchal oppression and violence against women. History shows that women have always performed in Iran acts of resistanceincluding the Pink Revolution in the 1990s the One million signatures campaign achieved by Iranian feminists in 2006 and the girls of the revolution Street protests that erupted in 2017 after a 31-year-old mother took off her headscarf and waved it in the air in central Tehran.

However, protesters in attendance say this time is different.

Camilia, one of the organizers of the protest, who asked to be used only by her first name for security reasons, told The News that the current uprisings are characterized and powerful primarily by being led by women and supported by the unity of the people against the regime.

“The amazing thing about this time and this revolution is that the people are showing that they were never the government. … We are loud enough to differentiate ourselves. So if we take to the streets and say we are Iranian, we are no longer associated with this terror regime,” Camilia said. “People know that the people of Iran have never been with the Islamic Republic. … We are all the same. They are all brothers and sisters [and] they die.”

Another unique aspect of the current uprisings is the large involvement of Iran’s Generation Z. Camilia said it is due to increased access to TikTok and other social media platforms that younger generations in Iran are more aware of the freedoms enjoyed by those living outside Iran.

Although Camila has now been living in Boston for college and work for six years, she said she had lived in Iran for many years and was herself stopped by the morality police.

“Every day [I] have this overwhelming sense of guilt that for whatever reason I didn’t end up there [in Iran], but I very well could have been,” said Camilia. “It’s that struggle between guilt and ‘OK, what can I do about it now?’ … How are we going to make a difference, to at least leverage [our voice] and try to lower that debt a little.”

Several protesters wear Guy Fawkes masks. These masks allow participants to protect their identities and have become a symbol of government resistance. (Jesica Bak)

Many of the demonstrators present dressed up Guy Fawkes masks for fear of possible identification and prosecution by Iranian agents. The mask – made famous as the one worn by Hugo Weaving V for Vendetta While playing a vigilante fighting against the UK’s dystopian fascist government, he has become a universal symbol of resistance.

Another protest organizer from the Independent Iranians of Boston, who asked to be called Gol for security reasons, spoke about the organization’s intention to hold the November 5 demonstration. It is the same day that Guy Fawkes, an English conspirator, attempted to blow up Parliament the gunpowder plot of 1605.

On Nov. 6, Pouria Salehi, a postdoctoral researcher in mathematics at MIT and Harvard’s Broad Institute and another organizer of protests at the Independent Iranians of Boston, told The News a statement the organization previously made at an Oct. 22 demonstration had in Washington, DC

“Over the past four decades, the absolutely criminal Islamic regime has brought the majority of Iranian society to a point where they see no way to freedom except to overthrow the regime,” the statement said. “We, the Iranian diaspora community, know that the best way to show solidarity with our oppressed compatriots and the freedom of our beloved country is to take the cries of our compatriots in Iran to the world’s ears.”

Addressing the “global community” and “the governments of the free world” are two priorities that are listed. The statement ends with a call for nine points of action – from prosecuting regime officials and their families to granting them the right to decide Iran’s political future without foreign interference.

Towards the end of the November 5 protest, the crowd began chanting: “baraye‘ by Shervin Hajipour, which roughly translates to ‘paths’ in English. The song’s haunting lyrics, which describe trivial reasons why young girls and women can be persecuted and killed in Iran, finally end with the movement’s mantra.

“For the girl who wished she had been born a boy / For women, life, liberty / For liberty,” the lyrics read.

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