The Killing of the Iranian Mahsa Isn’t Just a Cover-up: “Repression of Ethnic Minorities” | Don’t miss these stories

with videoThe death of Iranian Mohseh Amini sparked a lot of controversy around the world. The uproar over religious dress codes would excite far fewer tongues in Iran than the economic crisis

Laila Mousavi

Last updated:
9/30/22, 4:29 p.m

Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested by the deputy police in Tehran last Tuesday and taken away in a truck because she did not wear her hijab (the clothing that covers her head) as allegedly. She was allegedly beaten on her way to the police station. Western media has paid much attention to the protests in Iran. Women have been seen cutting their hair on social media. Paul Aarts, an expert on Iran at the University of Amsterdam, caught the attention: “This is not the most important debate in Iran at the moment. People there are finding it difficult to make ends meet, but as a symbol, it is of course important.”

daily protests

According to Arts, the uproar in the news is about the way we view Iran. Arts: “The other problems that play a role in Iran have nothing to do with Islam.” According to him, protests and strikes have occurred almost daily in Iran in recent years for the sake of better wages and better working conditions. This is happening by almost every professional group, for example bus drivers, but also teachers in education are on strike on a massive scale. According to Arts, strikes are also common in the oil industry, but you read less about these disruptions in the news.

What many people don’t know, he says, is that women in Iran have been driving for many years. “And they really work everywhere. Even the top business. Women are very active economically. Women in Iran participate fully in public life.


If she was a Shia Mahsa and from the Tehran region, the Adab Division would not have behaved in the same harsh manner

Yunus Saramivar is a cultural anthropologist at the Free University of Amsterdam

Like Arts, Jones Saramivar, a cultural anthropologist at the Free University of Amsterdam, sees the protests as not only resistance to the veil. Mahsa’s story is close to his heart. Saramifar: Mahsa is a Kurdish girl from Iran’s Sunni minority. She lived in Samandaj in Kurdistan and was visiting Tehran. If she was a Shia Mahsa and from the Tehran region, the Adab Division would not have behaved in the same harsh way.”

oppression of ethnic minorities

Saramifar: “There are not enough discussions and protests in Iran about the oppression of ethnic minorities.” The country has many groups, the vast majority of which are Shiites. According to Saramivar, social media videos of women cutting their hair in protest unequivocally are usually interpreted in Western media as a protest against compulsory veiling.

Protests in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mohsa Amini. © AFP

According to Saramifar, these women, who do not all live in Iran, are in touch with each other in a kind of internet bubble and are making these videos in appreciation of each other’s suffering, to comfort each other and encourage each other about what is happening in their home Iran. According to him, women who live in Iran and have access to the internet via an expensive VPN connection are part of Iran’s upper wealth class. These women are at risk of arrest. Saramifar: “The people we should be watching are the people in Iran who are taking to the streets at immediate risk to their lives to protest the persecution of ethnic minorities.”

Iranian response

President Raisi orders investigation and condemns West’s ‘double standards’

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Thursday that further investigation should be conducted into the death of the young woman who sparked recent Iranian protests against police brutality against women. At least 26 civilians and police were killed in those protests, according to Iranian state television.

Police deny Amini died from a fatal blow to the head and say she died of natural causes. Speaking at a news conference in New York, where the two presidents of the United Nations General Assembly are attending, the spiritual leader reiterated the coroner’s conclusion that Amini was not beaten, a finding rejected by the protesters. “But I don’t want to rush to a conclusion,” my boss said.

Raisi used his speaking time to accuse the West of hypocrisy and “double standards”. His country is currently receiving a lot of criticism about women’s rights, but according to Raisi, this criticism is not justified. He is angry about the sanctions imposed by the United States on the Iranian Literature Squad. He pointed out that many civilians are killed by US police every year. “Why are there no studies then?”

Iran has now restricted access to Instagram in its country. In the western province of Kurdistan, the internet has been offline since Monday. There has also been unrest in the capital, Tehran, and other parts of the country since Friday, when the protests erupted.

Authorities warn that attending protests over Amini’s death is illegal and the protesters will be prosecuted.

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