“Woman, Life, Freedom”: the killing of Mahsa Amini


Photo provided by: Makayla Martindale

On Sept. 16, Mahsa Amini was killed for supposedly not adhering to rules regarding hijabs in Iran, creating protest for women’s rights around the world.

Nairie De Gregory, Staff Reporter

On Sept. 16, a young woman died at the hands of the police in Tehran, Iran. The woman, 22 year-old Mahsa Amini, was a Kurdish woman who was detained by the police due to supposedly “refusing” to adhere to the hijab rule. 

The rule, one of many that oppresses women in the middle eastern state of Iran, is under fire after this incident, to which global protests have started to oppose the rules and reign in Iran. Especially after the fact, that the Iranian government did not, and continues to not, take responsibility over the killing, even stating that Amini passed from an illness, rather than dying from blows to her head, which was her actual cause of death.

“It (the killing of Mahsa Amini)  makes me feel sad,” AP Human Geography teacher Carrie Foster said. “Sad that women by gift of location of birth can live such different lives. Sad that religion is being used to justify this aggression when most scholars emphatically disagree that the Quran supports such restrictions. Finally sad, because so many women, girls, and men who love them must live in fear. The president is using these modesty police to enforce restrictive laws for the way women dress. Women have been arrested, beaten, psychologically tortured and forced to confess on national TV. They see this as a reaction to the ‘westernization’ of Iranian society and again, a way to grip control a little tighter.”

The political structure of Iran consists mostly of a president, currently 61 year-old Ebrahim Raisi, and ranking above the president is the Supreme Leader, 83 year-old Ali Khamenei. This is another reason why the state of Iran is very fragile. The age and health of The Supreme Leader is declining, meaning that power is up for grabs. And with a potential grab, chaos can erupt and reveal some of the most shocking things.

“I was in shock rather than surprised by this news since similar conflicts between women in Middle Eastern countries had occurred, for example, the restriction of driving, voting, and education that activists such as Malala Yousafzai had protested against,” junior Amoriyah Robinson said. “However, the use of extreme violence against the women especially shocked and frustrated me. Still, I am shocked, proud in a way that they are protesting against them despite the possible impending consequences, and for that I applaud them.”

This movement has gained global attention through the use of the internet. Social media platforms provide a space where voices can be heard and movements spread, like the MeToo movement, and they have become the stage to allow a generation to shine. These platforms even allow for people around the globe to join in with this movement. 

 “The Iranian Gen Z are the most tech savvy and information rich generation,” Foster said. “Their ability to organize through social media makes them a force the regime cannot stop through traditional methods of violence and censorship, although they are trying by restricting internet access. Women cutting their hair in both mourning and defiance is one of the most powerful symbols I have seen.” 

The internet is also a place of unacknowledged individuals, who stay incognito and in the shadows, but their work most certainly isn’t. 

“We will never know the names of the individuals who advanced this cause in their small communities enough to make this impactful of a statement, and they themselves probably won’t even know they were so influential either,” AP Psychology and AP Human Geography teacher Kimberly VanDyck said. “So, I believe that technology has brought the message of the value of women, and individuals have used that enlightenment to fight for change in an incredibly brave way. People are beautiful and capable of amazing things. I am inspired by those who fight for change even at the risk of their own lives. To see women valued and honored in a society where they have often been oppressed is inspiring.”

Throughout several powerful movements, social media acts as a match to a flame. Sparking up support and gaining global headway.
“The way it spread via social media forced the conversation and raised awareness,” drama teacher Katie Rinaldi said. “The powder keg was already about to blow, this was the match that lit it”

Though global support has been coming through for the movement in Iran, more can still be done. 

“If I were being cynical, I would say that the leaders of other governments should absolutely pitch in to support the women, most likely economically since the main thing that would hurt a government or an economy would be its pockets.” Robinson said. 

Currently thousands have taken to the streets in Iran to protest the regime’s rules and many more have cut their hair and burned their hijabs in defiance. As of now, over 200 people have been killed from protesting, with over 20 of them being minors. And the death toll is still rising. People, women specifically, are putting their life on the line to fight for the equality they have never had because of where they are from; putting the issue into perspective, and making those around the world rethink the rights that they’ve taken for granted. 

“We are dangerously close to having our bodies regulated in a way they’ve not been in decades right here in this country,” Rinaldi said. “We need to do more here to end the oppression of women worldwide. By remaining complicit in what is being done elsewhere, we invite the extremists to form evidence based arguments here in this county on why women need these types of regulations. It is, and has been, a global problem.”