Grad Student Spotlight: Fereshteh Majdi

A photo from Twitter shows a woman setting fire to her headscarf during a protest in Tehran on Monday, Sept 19, 2022. Source: BBC

From the very first day of school, we have been told that police are a constituted body of persons empowered by a country to ensure citizens’ safety, health, and possessions.

Now let’s imagine living in a world where you must escape from the police to be safe.

Well, you are not going to believe this, but you do live in this world.

On September 13, 2022, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini was arrested and beaten to death by the “morality” police because of violating the country’s conservative dress code. Although the authorities said she had a heart attack, her family has disputed that, and her death became a little spark on the gunpowder for the people who had been restricted from their fundamental rights. This little spark led to the most significant feminist protest in the world.

After several days of protests, the Iranian government cut off the Internet so the world could not hear the people of Iran. This protest is Iran’s George Floyd moment. It is not only limited to what happened to Mahsa Amini but also represents how furious Iranian women are as they have been fighting their whole lives for their fundamental rights.

As a woman who grew up in Iran or actually as a human being, I want to say that the Iranian people are not their government, and they deserve to live their life, as one doesn’t have a choice on where to be born.

Although the Internet is cut off, international celebrities’ support for protests is still rising. More than 300 celebrities worldwide have shared their opinion and stood next to the people of Iran, joining the crowd as Mahsa Amini’s hashtag is heading toward 100 million on Twitter and Instagram.

If you also want to stand next to us, you can follow #mahsaamini and be our voice.

— Fereshteh Majdi (MA ’24)


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