For three weeks now, Iranians have been on the streets braving the repressive forces of the state to protest against the death of 22-year old Mahsa Amini, at the hands of the notorious “morality police”. They beat her around the head until she was comatose, for not wearing her hijab modestly enough; she later died in hospital. The protests are the biggest in many years.
In fact women have risked jail and death in the fight for their rights ever since they were turned into 2nd class citizens after the revolution in 1978-79 was hijacked by Islamic fundamentalists around Ayatollah Khomeini. Today the fundamentalist regime is doubling down once more, under pressure from the US, following the re-imposition of sanctions under Trump. But it is the population which pays the price for this, as the laws to keep everyone in his or her place – to keep social peace – are tightened.
Iranian young people do not seem deterred this time, by the brutality of “supreme leader” Khamenei’s shock troops. Young women have danced in the streets and burnt their hijabs! And the protests are growing, despite the estimated 80 protesters who have been killed so far and the several thousands who have been arrested.
One of those put in prison is Shervin Hajipour, whose song “Baraye” has become the anthem of the protest, with young schoolgirls singing it in their teachers’ faces, ripping off their head scarves and running out of their classrooms shouting “death to the dictator”. The demonstrators sing it together on the streets. “Baraye” means “for… because of...” and the lyrics are taken from internet posts which say why people are protesting: for women, life, freedom; for the overthrow of the regime! The working class here in Britain can take inspiration from them!