‘Women. Life. Freedom!’ cry the protesters in cities across Iran.
‘Mullahs, get lost!’
‘This is the year of the blood, Seyed Ali’ referring to the ‘supreme leader’ Ali Khamenei.
Women have led the movement, sparked by the death of one of their own, 22 year old Mahsa Amini, who died while in custody for violating the Islamic dress code – not wearing or incorrectly wearing the hijab or headscarf.
Among the many dead protesters, there are 23 children. High school age girls have joined in the demonstrations. University students, oil workers, teachers, shop owners, doctors have stepped forward to show support. The effort has yet to reach critical mass but it’s getting there.
The winds of freedom are blowing. They are blowing from Ukraine.
For over 8 months now the world has witnessed an enormous display of heroism by the Ukrainian people, pushing back against the brutality of Putin.
The winds of freedom have reached Iran.
Women have awakened, fed up with the restrictions they’ve lived under, fed up with men controlling their bodies and minds in the name of Allah. Fed up with the clerics, fed up with a government that now is selling drones to Putin so he can better kill Ukrainians.
In their cries, women are saying ‘You are inept, Mullahs! Consumed with your thirst for power you abuse your own people in the name of god. Enough!’
The clerics blame foreign interference for stoking the unrest as if the protesters were mere instruments of foreign forces.
But no. This movement is home grown and will stay as such.
What should the West do to show support?
I believe steps have been taken to facilitate internet communication, helping bypass the restrictions imposed by the clerics.
We should cancel talks with Iran to reactivate the nuclear pact that president Obama had signed onto and Trump had terminated. Trump was right on this one. Iran’s government will do anything to cheat and still build their nuclear weapons. Anyway, to reactivate the plan will require for us to pay them a large (undisclosed) sum of money. How much, I do not know. The US has not been transparent on the amount.
So it will be up to Iranians themselves, to bring their courageous movement to the point that it will depose the present government. That day is fast approaching.
Meanwhile, the more we assist Ukraine to help them push the invading Russians out of their territory, the less likely that Russia will answer the mullahs’ call for assistance in repressing their people, as desperate clerics are likely to do. Assistance as in money, equipment, advice.
I can envision a call from Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi to Vladimir Putin.
‘I’m getting anxious. This has not happened before.’
‘Be patient, my friend, you have the guns… fire them,’ says Putin.
‘I understand… and I see your example in Ukraine… the thousands and thousands you have sent to the grave…’
‘For a good cause,’ replies Putin. ‘I have my hands full at this moment, but as soon as I push back the Ukrainians, I can send you experts in suppression of protest movements. I can send you the team we used in Belarus, they did an excellent job. But you can talk to them on the phone, so they can give you some tips.’
‘Great, thank you,’ says Raisi. ‘But you don’t have problems with Russian women…’
‘Ebrahim, it’s a different culture…’
‘You think if I just cancelled the dress code, let women dress as they wish, they will stop protesting?’
‘Will Iranian men be able to handle that?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘I think you’re past that,’ says Putin. ‘That could’ve worked before, but you didn’t think ahead… like I didn’t think ahead to invade Ukraine while Trump was president. He wouldn’t have objected. So I’m paying for my mistake.’
‘I see. But I may have to try it… the cancelling the dress code. Otherwise, it’s killing and killing more people. And our prisons are already full. I’m afraid we’ll end up killing the children of government officials…’
‘Ebrahim… absolute power carries risks… you have to choose. If I end up having to recruit the children of government officials to go fight in Ukraine, I may face resistance here at home. But I’ll take my chances. It may not come to that. I don’t think the unity of the West will hold. Particularly as winter approaches. And then, if Republicans win both houses in the American mid term elections, chances are they will give less support to Ukraine. So it will be easier for me to push back. Plus there are western leaders afraid to commit to the war. Take for instance Olaf Scholz in Germany. He is opposed to sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine. If he did, that would be harder on us. I made a note to send him a card when his birthday comes around, thanking him.
One for Christmas, too.’
‘You keep your sense of humor, Vladimir. I’m afraid of losing power.’
‘Ebrahim… don’t let go of that feeling… and keep up the repression. Don’t be afraid to be ruthless. You can do it. I’ll ask the specialists who ended the revolt in Belarus to give your people a call. I have to go now. Oh, thank you for the drones. They’re making a difference.’
‘You’re welcome, Vladimir.’
The winds of freedom are blowing.
Quotes at the start of this piece, taken from an article in the NYT dated 10/26/22
Oscar Valdes is the author of several self published books. Available on Amazon