Iran Deserves Better



Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against the Iranian regime, following the death of Mahsa Amini, near the Iranian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 11, 2022. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

One strand of hair. 


It took only one strand of hair for Mahsa Amini to be beaten to death by Iranian policeman in Tehran. Amini’s murder occured on September 16th, only days after she was arrested and abused into a coma for wearing her hijab (headscarf) improperly.


The police completely deny their role in Mahsa’s death, simply shrugging her passing off as a “sudden heart failure.” However Amini’s family and several other witnesses dispute their account, stating that they watched a group of policemen drag Mahsa into their patrol cars and assault her.


Since her murder, people all around the world have gathered in solidarity to brazenly protest against the Iranian regime. They have burned their hijabs, cut off their hair, and rallied around the streets chanting “Zan, zendegi, azadi!”: women, life, freedom. 

But still, the murder of Mahsa is not enough for the government. Since the beginning of the protests, at least 108 people, including 28 children, have been killed by the police, according to Iran Human Rights, with thousands more detained and arrested. Additionally, in their attempt to restore peace among the streets and limit social media activities, Iranian authorities have restricted Internet access in the country for almost two months now. 


The regime claims that services such as Whatsapp and Instagram are fair targets of government censorship. Two months have passed since I have been able to communicate with my family and friends, even just to call and make sure they are safe.


As an Iranian girl born in America, I take that small strand of hair for granted. I never realized how privileged I, and everyone else in the United States, are until I came here. Women in Iran cannot travel or obtain a passport without their husband’s permission. They cannot have custody of their children if divorced; They cannot even spectate men’s sports in stadiums. These are only some of the many basic human rights stripped in Iran that American citizens never think twice about. 


What pains me even more to think about is how so many young girls are forced into marriage as early as 13, by law. This robs them of their well-being and human dignity, not to mention their childhood. 


Every time I visit Iran, I am reminded repeatedly of how lucky I am to have so many opportunities that my family can only dream of having. My Iranian friends always mention to me every now and then that I have to grow up and do something important something that they could only wish for. “You owe us that,” they tell me. 


It pains me to think about how much better their lives could be if not for the prison they are contained in.


I will carry on for every one of my family members and friends who are deprived of the lives they deserve. I will continue to mourn for the Iranian women. I will mourn for my cousins and aunts, who tell me each time I visit how much they wish they could travel back with me. And each time they do, I can only muster a smile and say “one day.” 


 I hope that the fight transpiring today brings them one day closer to their wish. 


Mahsa Amini and all the other innocent citizens caught in the crossfire deserve justice. I urge everyone to step up. We must fight till we see the day when the people of Iran are freed from the brutality of the government. Go out, protest, share resources, or donate to the women who need help. 


Iran deserves better.