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The Protest In Iran Is Not Just About Hijab And Hair; It Is About Hope!

It is a protest against objective misogyny, something that we should have left behind when we entered the 21st century. It is against a mindset that treats women and anyone else as second-class citizens in their own place of birth.

Trigger Warning: This speaks of violence against women and may be triggering for survivors.

Throughout my life, I have been fascinated, influenced, and inspired by some incredible women I have had the privilege of knowing. There are great men out there as well, but I often find myself harnessing the energy to do positive things in life by looking at women around me. Maybe it is the inherent gender inequity and consecutive suppression they have faced over centuries and how often, through the mere drive, passion, and insane capacity to not be deterred by crises, they come over these obstacles.

Hence, even though I am not shocked by how fast and how far the protests in Iran have gone by, I do feel that it is an unprecedented event in recent human history, something that must be considered to be put into textbooks of social studies going forward.

Protests in themselves are interesting. For a regular, law-abiding citizen to go out on the streets against their establishment, requires an immense amount of courage. Anyone who is not politically motivated or incentivized must feel critically disrupted or threatened to act in such a radical manner. They must, in some ways, reach their breaking point.

It is a protest for women’s choice

In a country like Iran, where human right protection has always been questioned, and where women have a long history of being treated much worse than most parts of the world, the incentive to get out on the street so vehemently seems even less.

This is not an ordinary protest against a government policy or law. It is also not a protest against a particular religious practice. Wearing or not wearing Hijab is and should be an individual choice based on how a person observes the teachings of Islam.

Women protesting in 1979 after the ‘revolution’ that brought in fundamentalist rule. Source: YouTube

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As far as my understanding goes, it is a protest against objective misogyny, something that we should have left behind when we entered the 21st century. It is against a mindset that treats women and anyone else as second-class citizens in their own place of birth. It is against a systematic methodology in societies that blame women for crimes committed against them. It is against, quite literally, moral policing based on gender.

This is also the reason I feel that it has gained so much popularity.

Everyone has joined in – women young and old, school children, men and young boys…

Women have removed their hijabs and cut their hair. Children have come out on the streets, small girls following the steps of their adult counterparts. And now, based on the news I hear, even the men and young boys have joined the demonstrations. When you have small kids cutting their hair, rejecting societal norms in the face of an almighty establishment, when you see voiceless people raising their voices against what is considered normal in a society, you should be able to see how deep-rooted the angst is.

Those on the streets, simply want their respect back, respect as women, respect as citizens of a country, and respect as human beings. It is a change movement more than a mere ‘protest’.

There will be pushback from the government. The government in the country, as per what I hear, is doing what governments generally do against protests. People have been traumatized by the police, casualties have happened, the internet has been cut off and independent media coverage is becoming increasingly more difficult. This is the predictable trajectory against protests that governments take and those on the streets must have anticipated it beforehand.

Nevertheless, journalists are passionately documenting the demonstrations, Iranians outside Iran are showing solidarity and so is the rest of the world.

Imagine the aftermath if it is able to bring any positive impact. It can change the life of every single girl child being born in Iran.

Even if it fails, they will read about it and get inspired. Events like this reshape the minds of present and future generations.

Moving towards light

As per Hindu beliefs, the Sun rides on a chariot pulled by 7 white horses. One of my favorite Hindi novels is Seventh Horse of the Sun by legendary writer Dharamveer Bharati, inspired by this concept. At the end of the book, the hero of the story says, “Among all the illusions and disappointments, there is something that inspires us to move towards the light.  And we keep moving, just like the seven horses who take the sun forward. The horse who is the smallest, the seventh one, is that of future and hope.”

Once again, I find myself being inspired and fascinated by women. This time, by their attempt to turn the wheel of a society that is credited for the invention of the wheel. By their audacity to dream and hope.

Image source: here and here on YouTube

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Anurag .

I can't speak well, so I stare at blank pages often. Words appear. read more...

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