A Leaderless Movement

#MahsaAmini movement is a true reflection of voices from around the world

Opinion by Camryn Banafsheha ’27, Donna Enayati ’27, Darya Ghassemieh ’27, and Ellika LeSage ’26

A movement from the people for the people. Mahsa Amini, 22, died in the custody of the Iranian morality police for loosely wearing the mandatory hijab in Tehran. Amini was taken into custody on Sept. 13 and was said by the police to have died of a heart attack on Sept. 16 in Tehran Hospital.
However, this account is heavily disputed with claims from Amini’s family that she died of skull fracture from several blows to the head. Amini’s death provoked widespread protests and outrage, with people rising up against the oppressive regime that has dominated Iran for the past forty years.
The uprising has been summed up in a few Farsi words, “zan zendegi azadi,” which translates to “women, life, freedom.” These words have been plastered around the world, as they truly reflect the fearless state of the women in Iran. The phrase echoes the perspective of standing in unity with the Iranian people. Maybe our memory of the protests will fade through time, but the pain and suffering of the people of Iran is unforgettable.
Artists and journalists have taken a stand through creativity, as well. 25-year old Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour posted a song titled, “Baraye” on Sept. 28. “Baraye” is a Farsi term that translates to “for/because of.” Hajipour crafted the lyrics using tweets with the hashtag: #MahsaAmini. This is a true reflection of the assembly of voices from all around. Since its release, the video has rapidly circulated social media, becoming the anthem for this movement. At protests, this song is repeatedly chanted and blasted from the speakers of every car. Songwriter and lead singer of Coldplay, Chris Martin sang this song in support of women in Iran at Coldplay’s concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In Iran, girls of all ages are risking their lives by gathering in protest. According to Alarabiya News, 244 deaths have been confirmed in Iran. However, there is heavy speculation that the number is greater. Communication has been cut in and out of Iran, but many videos have managed to leak through social media. The videos show the streets overflowing with determined protestors, marching to gain the rights they have been stripped of for many generations.
Middle Eastern and North African Student Association (MENASA) has brought the movement into Harvard-Westlake. During their club meetings, the leaders show footage of current events and discuss how to raise awareness in the HW community. The power and courage of the Iranian women has united the world with the hopes of achieving a safe and liberated future.