Iran’s revolution of forbidden song, dance, and kiss
A woman protests in Tehran. Photo courtesy of Shokoofeh Azar.

Iran’s revolution of forbidden song, dance, and kiss

The nationwide demonstration in Iran is a manifestation of the anger and resistance of Iranians over the killing of an innocent girl by the Islamic regime. Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish girl, was killed by the morality police for showing her hair in public. Her death sparked massive anti-hijab protests across Iran, led largely by women. The regime has cracked down on these protests and nearly 100 people have lost their lives in the last two weeks.

The people of Iran have suffered oppression, corruption and lawlessness for decades. But they are fed up now. They have decided they no longer want to be the tools in the hands of regional and western military-political forces.  From the first nationwide demonstrations that began in the early years after the 1979 revolution to the latest, people’s demands — for freedom, protection of rights, and social justice — have been met with indifference, and bullets.

In the last four decades, people’s demands have only accumulated; the original promises of the 1979 Revolution — freedom, democracy and justice — have remained unfulfilled, giving rise to unrest among masses. Today, the people of Iran — cutting across religion, gender and race — have joined hands to overthrow this regime. They burn with the desire to establish a secular-democratic political system and remove the fabric of politicized Islam from the country forever.

Ours are the streets 

The Iranian streets were taken away from the people after the revolution; all these years, they have been occupied by the mullahs, Basij (the paramilitary volunteer militia) and the morality police. But, in recent years, people have regrouped to take back the streets from the regime.

Social media has engineered this, with like-minded people connecting online more than ever before. They no longer want the streets to be a place for the exhibition of the regime’s power. They would rather want the streets to be filled with various shades of colour and light. People want to paint the streets with the colours of their diverse tastes and make the street their own.

Since the 1979 revolution, people have been forced to censor themselves. They have been condemned to live dual lives: obeying the arbitrary and despotic laws of the Islamic Republic on the street and, in the privacy of their homes, live freely — in accordance with their evolved lifestyle and taste. The street and the house, thus, were separated. In all these years, we have had parties in our homes, worn our favourite clothes, drank to our health, sang, danced and kissed each other. But all these things have been forbidden in the street, school, university, and office, prohibited by law. Since 1979, thousands of people have been tried, imprisoned, and even executed for doing any of these things.

A poster shows Mona Lisa cutting her hair to join Iranian women’s protest. Photo courtesy of Shokoofeh Azar.

The upcoming revolution is not just against injustice, corruption, and poverty. Rather, it is a kiss, song, and dance revolution. This revolution is the revolution of forbidden kisses, forbidden loves and forbidden dances. We want to take back the streets… to dance, sing and kiss each other in the streets. We want to bring light and joy back to our streets. Without the presence and supervision of backward and grumpy mullahs, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or moral police.

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The Voice of the Iranian People

In the last two weeks, #MahsaAmini has been tweeted more than 130 million times around the world. For the first time, influencers, actors, musicians, parliamentarians of different countries, the world media, and Western writers and intellectuals are with the Iranian people. They have heard our voices, communicated with us through social media and expressed their empathy. For the first time in Iran, national team footballers, actors, singers, university professors, doctors and school teachers have stopped working or resigned to join the protesters. Scores of women have removed their compulsory hijab in solidarity. For the first time, women and men are cutting their hair to show that their bodies are under their own control, and not the regime’s, as a mark of protest against the growing interference of the Iranian government in the daily affairs and private lives of women and men. Incidentally, cutting hair is also an ancient Iranian tradition to express grief at the death of loved ones.

Today, it is not just Mahsa Amini’s Kurdistan, but the whole Iran that is mourning the death of Mahsa and the Mahsas, who have been killed cruelly and without any reason in these past 44 years. The recent spate of protests shows that the people of Iran have lost faith in the Islamic regime and no longer trust any promises for reform. We have been brought to a point of no return: we do not trust the regime and the politicians in the West. We only trust our roots…Our ancient culture which granted us Cyrus cylinder, the first declaration of human rights. The solidarity with the people of Iran in the national and international arena has been unprecedented. And that gives ushope.

We are all subversive 

During the first days of the recent protests, when people created the most beautiful slogan (“Woman, Life, Freedom”), they also started writing why they protested and why they wanted to end the regressive Islamic regime. Their messages, posts and tweets are diverse and capture the 44 years of deprivation, failure, suffering, injustice, and cruelty. Millions of Iranians from all over the world have responded and turned them into global trends. People have written: We are subversive…

#for dancing in the street #for happiness, freedom #for poverty on oil barrels #for longing for an ordinary life #for polluted air #for the atomic energy we don’t want #for worn-out trees on Vali Asr street #for preserving Iran’s environment #for Pirouz , the only Iranian tiger facing extinction #for forced paradise #for those who were killed for no reason #for all political executioners #for the day when no Iranian wishes to emigrate #for the experience of wind in our hair #for kissing each other #for no Iranian to be exiled #For all the ancient heritage that the mullahs stole or destroyed #For humanitarian laws #For the fugitive elites #For empty slogans #For Afghan children who don’t have the right to study in Iran #For the poor children of Iran who can’t go to school #For Baha’is, who are not allowed to go to the University #for imprisoned journalists # for the censored poems #for cultural, political and religious prisoners #for ending Islamic terrorism #for ending Shi’ism in the region #for the sun after long nights #for a girl who wished  be a boy #for a woman, life, freedom # for freedom # for freedom # for freedom…

So, in the world’s first feminist revolution that arises from the heart of ancient Iran, take off your hat in respect and join us: for women, life, and freedom…

(Shokoofeh Azar is an Iranian-Australian author and journalist. She is the first Iranian author to have been nominated for the International Booker Prize — for her novel, ‘The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree.’ She has been living in Melbourne (Australia) as a political refugee since 2011.)

(The Federal seeks to present views and opinions from all sides of the spectrum. The information, ideas or opinions in the articles are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Federal)

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