There is a lot going on in Iran right now as the country has been in an uproar following the horrific death of 22 year-old Mahsa Amini earlier this fall. For those unfamiliar, the young woman was killed by Iranian forces for not wearing her hijab in the required manner. Since then, many in the Middle Eastern countries and across the world have been vocal about the social injustices occurring and in the last few days, there has been a particular narrative on social media picking up steam.
Chances are if you’ve been on Instagram in the last few days, you’ve seen reports of the Iranian government calling for the death of 15,000 protesters as well as the sexual assault of virgin women. While it is clear that the Iranian government is capable of committing horrendous acts, the above allegations are not entirely true.
So, here are the facts.
In late October, a court in Tehran charged 1,000 activists for the connection to the protests in honor of Mahsa Amini. According to Ali Al-Qasi Mehr, chief justice of Tehran province, those in question “have serious accusations, including assaulting or martyring security guards, and setting fire to public property… have been scheduled in Revolutionary CourtSince then, Iranian forces have been cracking down on youth involved as well without discrimination or remorse 14 and 15-year-olds are being thrown in adult jails and beaten.
Yesterday, on Monday, November 14, the court issued its first death sentence against an individual who set fire to a government building, in addition to “disturbing public order, collusion for committing crimes against national security, as well as “moharebeh” — waging war against God — and “corruption on Earth.”
As much as it is important to support and spread awareness about what’s going on in Iran, it is equally imperative, if not more so, not to indulge in misinformation and perpetuate the tradition of Westerners normalizing tragedy in the Middle East.
Continue scrolling to learn how to best support Iran.
1. Follow Iranian activists
Sometimes, the best form of advocacy is to give those closest to the issue a platform. The West has done enough in terms of trying to speak for others and it’s best not to replicate our forefather’s imperial, white savior tendencies in this area. Turning to those who have first-hand experience, as well as expertise when it comes to the nuances of Iran’s politics is a good first step in educating yourself on what’s truly going on. Check out the formidable journalists and organizations below to get started.
Christiane Amanpour — a renowned Iranian journalist
Hoda Katebi — Iranian-American organizer and writer
from: Iran — an Iranian feminist coalition
Full Potential — a transnational, anti-colonial organization designed to empower and advocate for Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) women
Safiyah aka disorientalizing — Swana journalist
What’s the old saying — put your money where your mouth is? Spreading awareness on your Instagram stories is fine and dandy, but if you can, providing material support is even better. Whether it’s cold, hard cash or non-perishable goods and hygienic items, anything helps and truly makes a difference for those without these crucial products. Below are a few organizations to consider.
The Center for Human Rights in Iran‘s mission is to fight and protect human rights in Iran. Funds are used to record and research injustices and crimes.
The Abdorrahman Boroumand Center is a non-governmental non-profit organization that also documents human rights violations, but shares victims’ stories in Farsi and English, generating wider awareness and knowledge.
3. Attend protests
If you feel comfortable, attending a protest can be an impactful way of educating and informing your community about the situation in Iran. While it’s easy to feel helpless in the face of such large issues, engaging with your local neighbors on a grassroots level is truly the first way to impact change.