Women are the vanguard of Iran’s revolution - opinion

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable” - John F. Kennedy

 FILE PHOTO: Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration following the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, in Istanbul, Turkey, October 2, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/Dilara Senkaya/File Photo)
FILE PHOTO: Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration following the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, in Istanbul, Turkey, October 2, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Dilara Senkaya/File Photo)

Impelled by the inalienable right of the people to institute their government and replace it when it fails to serve its constituents in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, millions of Iranians representing the entire spectrum of society are demanding change from the repressive theocracy to an open secular democracy.

Anti-Islamic regime protests have now entered their third week in Iran despite strict internet limits and immense suppression; hundreds of deaths have been reported.

Iran's situation is shifting in an unprecedented way. The world has seen the largest demonstrations against the Islamic Republic inside and outside Iran. For better awareness and organizations of events outside Iran, The New Iran has launched Tazahorat (meaning protests) for a list of upcoming demonstrations outside Iran.

The current uprising was sparked by the murder of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish girl, by the "Sharia Police." This uprising is now advancing rapidly and gaining international support, so much so that the possibility of the fall of the Islamic Republic has gained momentum.  The widespread protest in Iran is the largest since the Green Movement of 2009.

The 2009 and 2022 revolts are very similar in comparison: Two movements and two iconic images of two women. In June 2009, it was a young, beautiful woman named Neda Agha-Soltan who was brutally killed while her eyes rolled towards the camera. The video went viral on YouTube; millions of people around the world watched it.

  A woman with her hand painted with the word ''Freedom'' takes part in a protest following the death of Mahsa Amini, in Athens, Greece, October 1, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/COSTAS BALTAS) A woman with her hand painted with the word ''Freedom'' takes part in a protest following the death of Mahsa Amini, in Athens, Greece, October 1, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/COSTAS BALTAS)

The main distinction is that back in 2009, there was still hope for reform. People still chanted in the streets for a free and fair election and the foremost chant was “Give me back my vote.”

A leaderless revolution

Today’s revolution is utterly leaderless in a way that none of the former political figures such as Mohammad Khatami or Mir-Hossein Mousavi are being called upon. This uprising has gone much deeper and far beyond of any reconciliation. People on the streets are not lingering for anyone to come and take the lead. They are the leaders of the revolution. Among other distinctions, this time women are the forefront of the uprising, supported by men and school children as young as 10 years old.

Iran is in now in full-fledged revolution and there is no going back.

More than four decades of rule by the Islamic Republic of Iran has not only failed to advance the security and well-being of the people, but it has also ensnared the nation in a stifling theocracy where the rights of the governed are routinely violated for the benefit of the governing.

The Islamic Republic has replaced every protective provision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with theocratic fiats of the state, which rule all aspects of the citizens’ private and public life. They have abandoned the administration of justice in accordance with the due process of law practiced in civilized societies, and have instead adopted the discriminatory laws of Sharia. The sacrosanct assumption of innocence is discarded. Arbitrary arrests, long detentions without formal charges, the administration of all forms of physical and psychological torture, and summary execution of political dissenters and religious minorities have become the standard behavior of the system.

The current revolt is the result of decades of oppression. For the past 44 years, all forms of freedoms - mankind’s precious legacy - were either taken away or severely restricted. Freedom of assembly, of the press and of association were taken away from the people and became the exclusive prerogatives of the state. Journalists and writers of all subjects were forced to serve the state or face merciless punishment. Numerous journalists, writers and thinkers were imprisoned; some languished for decades and some met an early death.

The regime’s response to protesters has always been a set of dastardly measures typical of dictatorships. People were severely beaten; huge numbers were arrested and herded like cattle into makeshift prisons; some were shot in the streets as they marched; others were raped and killed in Iran’s prisons.

Life for women under Iran's regime

Women, who during ancient times in Iran were honored as equals to men, were reduced to the rank of second-class citizens. Their family rights became severely constricted. Their access to occupations such as judgeships was denied, in line with the theocracy’s belief that women are incapable of rendering sound verdicts, and they were allowed only a token presence in high-ranking government positions.

The pressure, led by the vanguard of freedom, university students and notably women, is not subsiding - it is gathering more force. Yes, the end of the Islamic Republic is definitely in sight.

It is critical that freedom-loving people, governments and media rally behind the Iranian people and end the tyrannical mullahcracy that is a scourge on Iran and the rest of the world. The Iranian people themselves are fully capable and are determined to remove the cancer of fanatic Islamism from their country.