“Chehelom”… is Persian for fortieth, it also refers to the 40th day after a person’s death in Iran. It is a particularly respected day to gather with family, friends, and even strangers to mourn for the deceased as if they passed away yesterday. Chehelom is the last time before the death anniversary that people join the grief of and support the family of the lost one, and pay tribute to the beloved of a family, and the contributing member of a town or city. Mahsa Amini’s Chehelom, 26th of October, was also to pay tribute to the Kurdish daughter of the entire Iranian nation, to celebrate the young life of an innocent soul taken by barbarism of the Islamic Republic (of Iran.) As her death marked the beginning of the ongoing revolution in Iran, an unprecedented mass of mourners was expected. Hundreds of Iranians marched to Mahsa’s grave amid all the roads blocked by the regime’s security forces, and demonstrations and protests were widely held in her memory throughout Iran. Mahsa’s Chehelom was clearly additional fuel to the unbeatable spirit and bravery of the Iranian freedom-seekers every day and night since September 16th, in each city of Iran.
As a result of the significance of this day, and in addition to the constant armed repression of the protesters, the government caused two disasters on October 26th to distress and distract the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement. A mass shooting in Shah Cheragh, an Islamic sacred site in Shiraz, led to the killing of more than 10 pilgrims. Metropol, a ten-story tower in Abadan, was brought to collapse – for the second time in the history of this regime – and left dozens killed, injured, or missing. The Islamic republic publicized the Shah Cheragh massacre as an ISIS terrorist attack even though evidence like videos and eyewitness statements has sufficiently questioned the ISIS claim and pointed all the accusations back at the regime. No entity announced responsibility for the collapse of Metropol. While the brutal security forces were cracking down on the protesters across the country and the state media was busy spreading the ISIS sham about the shooting in Shah Cheragh, a second massacre took more lives in Zahedan, Sistan-Baluchestan, following a complete internet disruption in the region. Due to this internet disruption and very limited access to media and communication technologies in Sistan-Baluchestan, we will sadly never grasp the true gruesomeness of the two massacres that occurred in Zahedan.
The gravity of the violent crimes by the Islamic Republic during the past 47 days is unfathomable, and their frequency is impossible to keep up with. The inhuman brutality expands beyond the unarmed protesters and reaches civilians in their daily activities, even children. Mona Naghib was only eight years old when she was fatally shot by the regime forces on her way to school in Sistan-Baluchestan. Eyewitnesses in the Evin prison have only now relayed horrors on some details of the building fire and shootings of October 15th; a firefighter allegedly found 140 killed on the prison ground, and two detainees informed their family that the detainees from different wards were batoned and shot, or in the best case, medically untreated and left in critical condition. Raiding of the schools, which started with Sharif University, has spread so vastly that it now includes dorms as well – despite this life-threatening danger, students’ protests and anti-regime slogans have grown to create a country-wide wave of school-youth wanting an end to the Islamic Republic. Furthermore, the Islamic Republic has allegedly flown in 150 Iraqi forces to strengthen their protest suppression ability.
The number of killings, including kids beaten to death at school simply for chanting “Zan, Zendegi, Azadi”, and of civilian arrests are alarmingly increasing, more than 280 killed and thousands arrested only in 45 days. Considering the lack of reliable internal media, the internet shutdown, and numerous threats to the families of the victims, those numbers can only count as an extreme underestimation. Although that reduces the observable scale of the regime’s crackdowns, there are ongoing efforts to unofficially collect a list of known victims of Iran’s women’s revolution reported by civilians from different cities. On top of all that, the regime is in the process of holding public trials for some detainees for which the Iranians are deeply concerned about the resultant sentences. Several have already received a death sentence through a single trial session and in the absence of their attorneys.
With all the traumas and tragedies so far into the women’s revolution in Iran, Iranians are more motivated and hopeful than ever. Unlike the clerics’ theocratic ideologies of the past 43 years, this revolution, led by women and the young, is based on an exclusive but unanimous idea, freedom in the form of secular democracy. Decades of injustice and corruption in the totality of the Islamic Republic regime has left no hope for any reform of the existing system, and when accompanied with the current violent burst of oppression, massacre, and genocide, it has magnified the revolutionary force of “Woman, Life, Freedom” among the Iranians. We are witnessing daily evolution of this movement among ages, ethnicities, occupations, and major industries. For instance, the nationwide strikes that gained momentum by the strike of the workers in oil and petroleum plants in southwest Iran have now extended to other oil and gas sites, steel and sugar production companies, mining sites, various bazaars, and more.
We continue to look forward to your support, solidarity, and most of all, your helpful actions. Please, keep talking and sharing content about Iran. The list of helpful actions from last week still holds and is encouraged. The global conversation on Iranian women’s revolution needs to stay alive and progress to definitive actions to prevent further enabling the Islamic Republic in destroying the Iranian nation. Canada has already begun to legislate against the regime’s dependents and violent security forces and has voted for removal of the Islamic Republic from the UN commission on the Status of Women. The open letter concerning the latter (#2 mentioned also in last week’s brief) has been signed by more female leaders, including Michele Obama and Hillary Clinton. November 3rd is planned by some revolution supporters to be an International Call Day for Freedom in Iran to call political figures and news agencies to demand a firm stance and address action #4 on the list published in last week’s brief.
Thank you for your awareness and advocacy. I hope to come back next week with less bad news and more good ones.