The Iranian civil disobedience it is increasing and every day more women are seen on the streets of Iran without the obligatory Islamic veil, in an unprecedented and unthinkable gesture against the Islamic Republic just a few weeks ago.
It all started with Mahsa Amini’s death on September 16, after being arrested three days earlier by the Morality Police for wearing the Islamic headscarf incorrectly, compulsory garment by law in the country and one of the symbols of the theocracy founded by Ayatollah Ruholá Khomeiní in 1979.
The death of the 22-year-old Kurdish woman in police custody has sparked strong protests that continue to this day, mainly led by young people and women shouting: “Woman, life, freedom!”, in which burn veils and ask for more freedoms.
But another type of protest is taking hold, more subtle, but just as brave, in a kind of civil disobedience: women who have stopped wearing the veil.
In the streets of Tehran you see women who not only do not cover their heads, it is that they don’t even wear a veil in sightover the shoulders or hanging.
Women who don’t cover their hair face prison sentences and finesin accordance with the Iranian Penal Code, in addition to possible abuses by the Police of morale.
Symptom of lack of rights
“I haven’t worn the veil since the protests started,” says Maryam (name changed for security reasons), a 19-year-old studying Physical Education.
For this hip hop lover, the veil is uncomfortable and a symptom of the lack of rights of Iranian women.
“Women do not have the right to occupy certain positions or we need permission to leave the country,” says the young woman, explaining some of the limitations suffered by women in the Persian country.
“This system is not good. This is a dictatorship”, adds the young woman, who wears the veil on her shoulders in case she is stopped by the Police, and who has participated in the protests.
“We are crazy?”
A 33-year-old doctor who has also stopped wear the veil supports Maryam’s opinion.
“Not wearing the veil is a form of civil disobedience”, says Soheila (not her real name for security reasons).
“You have to wear a veil to cover your head and if you also wear a chador (a black garment that covers the entire body except the face) even better”, says Soheila, explaining the position of the conservatives in her country.
“We are crazy?”he asks rhetorically.
The doctor describes the morality police as “sick” because of their obsession with female “modesty” and because everything seems “sexy” to her: loose hair, high boots, open coats…
“Until now we hid from the policebut we don’t want to do it anymore,” says Soheila.
The doctor, specialized in general medicine, also regrets the lack of economic opportunities in your country and is thinking of emigrating to Europe in search of better working conditions, but also respect as a woman.
“This is not a country to live in for a woman. There is a lot of inequality in things like inheritance or work, even in a person’s own worth,” she says.
trapped in the past
Mana, 40, goes even further and she doesn’t even have her veil over her shoulders or in her bag anymore.
“I’m going to go without a veil until the police stop me,” he says with his short hair, a piercing in an eyebrow and patches of the music groups Nirvana and Metallica on the lapel.
This woman from the audiovisual world acknowledges that she is “afraid” of being arrested, but even so she is determined not to wear the veil.
“These standards are unacceptable to me”, summarizes this fan of heavy metal music.
Mana (fictitious name to preserve anonymity) feel trapped in a traditional society that in which many aspire to a “modernity” that has not yet arrived.
She assures that many men “make fun” of her because she does not put on the handkerchief and ironically they tell her “woman, life, freedom” through the streets.
“It is men who deny me my rights as a woman“, He says.
Still believe that the veil is not the main problem of women in Iran: “Read the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and any of those rights that we don’t have, we should have,” she says.
The gesture of not putting on the obligatory veil may be one of the subtler aspects of the protests shaking Iran since Amini’s death, and are being heavily repressed by the security forces.
At least 108 people have died and 12 thousand have been arrested in the mobilizations, according to the Oslo-based NGO Iran Human Rights.
Polish reporter Ryszard Kapucinski wrote in his classic The Sha or the excess of power that objective injustices are not enough to provoke a revolution.
“It is necessary awareness of misery and oppressionthe conviction that neither one nor the other are part of the natural order of the world”, he recounted in his book on the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
“The catalytic word is essential, enlightening thought”, he continued.
Iranian women have become aware of the injustices they sufferwhose symbol is the veil, although we are not facing a revolution at the moment, as analysts point out.
And they have put catalytic words: “Woman, life, freedom!”.
With information from EFE