How Iran’s protests transformed into a national uprising
In Iran, women have always been able to participate in decision-making about their lives and their bodies. At rallies and demonstrations — or, increasingly often, online — women are the ones who show up to make the decisions.
This week, hundreds of thousands of people in Iran took to the streets again — this time to take to the streets to protest against the government. In doing so, they brought into question how Iran’s current leadership has handled this challenge. And as the women of Iran found out that the protests were getting traction, they decided to also take to the political process.
And when the demonstrations turned into a national uprising, I believe that this question — that question — about how to handle the new power wielded by women — now it’s become even more important.
In a world where women are still not treated equally and there are still no laws protecting their rights and freedoms, Iranian women have made it their mission to give women in the Middle East more power and agency in their daily lives. And it has been empowering them.
What I’ve seen is an Iranian resistance movement in the making, as activists within Iran are gathering and spreading word and knowledge throughout the world. And it’s been inspiring.
So, I’m going to walk you through one of these last few weeks with a personal story of what I’ve encountered. It was one of the last times I stood in Iran’s capital city of Tehran. In February, I had gone there to cover a protest in solidarity with the people of Egypt.
And what I saw that day, I have never seen before, nor will I ever see again.
The street that we were standing on was lined with women of all ages with signs reading, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” and photos of women who had been killed protesting on the streets. They also had portraits of the women who protested in the days before the uprising.
The pictures of the women killed showed the same faces, with the same expressions — the same signs of determination: “Down with the regime!” and “Revolution is coming to take power from the regime!”
While some were crying and some were screaming, some were laughing and others were cheering, their signs still in hand.
Over the past three days, I’ve been accompanying and reporting from a new