Iran: Young women and girls are the real changemakers
Young women and girls are the real changemakers.
Just a few days ago, the world marked the 10th anniversary of the International Day for the Girl.
Although the world has paid increased attention to the issues that matter to girls, investments in girls’ rights remain limited and girls continue to confront a myriad of challenges to fulfilling their potential.
With adversity, however, comes resourcefulness, creativity, tenacity, and resilience. The world’s girls have shown time and time again that given the skills and the opportunities, they can be the change makers.
So, today, young women and girls in Iran have taken to the streets to decide the fate of their country and bring about change.
The NCRI Women’s Committee had earlier described Iranian girls as the most innocent victims of the clerical regime’s brutal gender discrimination in Iran. Most news about them concerns violence, suicide, forced child marriages, school dropouts, malnutrition, lack of medical care, and child laborers.
At the first glance, there seems to be a contradiction at work. But as was just mentioned above, with adversity comes resourcefulness, creativity, tenacity, and resilience.
Women have borne the brunt of repression under the mullahs’ rule, and among them, the girl child is the most innocent victim.
Deprived of many of their rights, these young women and girls are like a compressed spring full of energy and power when released. They make up a potent force.
This is what’s happening in Iran, today. Women are leading and inspiring the protests and injecting their energy to others. And again, you see that young girls are the most outspoken and the bravest.
The fact that young girls are coming out of their schools, marching on the streets, and calling for the regime’s overthrow, is a clear indication of the deep-seated, widespread discontent in society for schoolchildren and girls to come out like this.
These girls are very brave. They are at the forefront of the protests, countering the security forces with bare hands. The fact that so many young women and girls are among those slain during the protests is itself an indication of the widespread and extensive participation of young women and girls in the protests that seek regime change.
What is the root of this phenomenon?
It’s very important to realize that this is not a spontaneous movement, but dates to the early days when the mullahs seized power in Iran.
Thousands of teenage girls and boys and high school students rose up against the shah during the 1979 Revolution. They wanted freedom and the elimination of dictatorship.
Many more joined the opposition, when they realized that the mullahs betrayed the democratic goals of that revolution and clamped down on freedoms.
Hundreds of these young boys and girls were executed by the clerical regime. Fatemeh Mesbah was only 13 years old when executed in the summer of 1981. Maryam Qodsi Moab, 16 years old, was killed under torture.
A shocking example was when the regime published the photos of 12 teenage girls in its official press on June 21, 1981, just one day after its bloody crackdown on people’s peaceful demonstrations demanding their democratic rights. The regime asked their parents to go and identify them in the morgue. They had executed the girls without knowing their names.
Iran’s young women and girls have a history of fighting for freedom
Tens of thousands of young women and girls from the MEK and other dissident groups resisted against the regime despite knowing that they were going to be tortured and executed.
Thousands were among the 30,000 political prisoners who were massacred in 1988.
Again, during the November 2019 uprising, we saw that the 14-year-old Nikta Esfandani was among those who lost their lives during the anti-regime protests.
So, the young girls who walk out of their schools, march in the streets, and chant anti-regime slogans are the continuation of those rebellious souls who could not sit idle and tolerate the mullahs’ tyranny.
They gave their lives to bring freedom to their people and future generations. Today’s rebellious and fearless generation is the continuation of those brave souls.
The young women and girls who laid down their lives in Iran protests 2022
Nika Shakarami was only 17, a bright and happy girl who had high dreams. Her friends said she was fearless during the protest on September 20. Her mother called her several times and knew that she was among the protesters. In a last call to her friends, she told them that she was being chased by security forces.
Then she went missing. Her family found her body 10 days later in a morgue. They said her skull and nose had been smashed. Her family knew from insiders that Nika had been in the IRGC detention and interrogated and tortured for ten days.
The regime has tried to pretend that she had committed suicide, but the initial certificate of death indicated that she had died due to consecutive blows of a heavy object to her head.
To conceal the scars of torture on Nika’s body, they stole her body from the family and buried it in a remote village.
Sarina Esmailzadeh was also a very bright girl with many ideas and dreams.
There is a video clip from her where she talks about the social problems in Iran.
She says the only thing people may want from their government is welfare and well-being, but the people of Iran and the younger generation are preoccupied with the three issues of food, clothing, and housing.
She said in the video that it’s been one year that everyone is having problem with eating. They don’t have enough money to eat and every day, they must decide about what they afford to eat.
The new generation of young girls like Nika and Sarina are fully aware of what they want and what they don’t want.
Thousands of them come out on the streets and chant, “freedom, freedom, freedom!” That’s what they want, and they are not going to accept anything less than that.