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Sat Sep 16, 2023, 05:14 PM

Transnational Solidarity With #WomanLifeFreedom: 'I Stand in Awe of Iranian Women'

(lengthy, important, hopeful article at link)

Transnational Solidarity With #WomanLifeFreedom: ‘I Stand in Awe of Iranian Women’
9/14/2023 by Yalda N. Hamidi and Dominik Drabent
In a showing of transnational solidarity and friendship with Iranian women, Muslim women from Turkey, India and Afghanistan, share their thoughts on the #WomanLifeFreedom movement.

A protest at the Iranian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 22, 2022, about one month after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Iran. (Omer Kuscu via Getty Images)

One year ago, Mahsa (Zhina) Amini was killed while in the custody of the Iranian Guidance Patrol after being arrested for improperly wearing a hijab. The aftermath of her death has brought increased awareness to the politics surrounding mandatory hijab laws, which are detrimental to the lives and experiences of Iranian women. However, “To Veil or Not to Veil?” is just one aspect of the broader issue of bodily autonomy that Iranian women have grappled with for the past nine months. The #WomanLifeFreedom movement has emerged after Amini’s death as a unifying force, bringing together Iranians across differences. All are striving to amplify their voices and demand recognition. This movement has sparked diverse conversations among Muslim women scholars both within their communities and in the diaspora. We are activists advocating for the rights of Muslim women. We reached out to four friends from across the Muslim diaspora to discuss the Woman, Life, Freedom movement, in a showing of transnational solidarity and friendship. Here are their voices.

. . . .

Ather Zia: “I wholeheartedly support the demand for ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ by the Iranian people.”

Dr. Ather Zia is a political anthropologist, poet, short fiction writer, and columnist. She is an associate professor of anthropology and gender studies at the University of Northern Colorado Greeley. Zia is the author of Resisting Disappearances: Military Occupation and Women’s Activism in Kashmir, which received the 2021 Public Anthropologist Award and Advocate of the Year Award 2021. She is the founder-editor of Kashmir Lit and is the co-founder of Critical Kashmir Studies Collective, an interdisciplinary network of scholars working in the Kashmir region. In November 2019, a group of Kashmiri and Indian feminists, including Zia, participated in a panel discussion with presenters from diverse Hindu and Muslim backgrounds coming together to raise awareness of the violation of human rights perpetrated by the Indian government.
. . . . . .

Tahmina Sobat: “Women of Afghanistan and Iran are re-defining the maps of resilience.”

Tahmina Sobat is a human rights lawyer from Afghanistan. Sobat began working as an assistant for women empowerment at Zardozi, then moved to the Independent Human Rights Commission in Afghanistan in 2017. She has done extensive research in legal analysis of women’s rights, including women’s harassment in the workplace in Afghanistan and women’s role in peace-building. Her Ph.D., titled “The Role of Grassroots Feminism in Demilitarization and Peace-Building in Afghanistan,” will offer a new perspective on the U.S. counterterrorism strategies and Afghan women’s advocacies for inclusion in peace negotiations. Sobat met Yalda and Dominik during her graduate studies in Mankato. The shared time in the program fostered a deep friendship and sense of solidarity. Tahmina’s fierce resistance in the face of the takeover of the Taliban’s regime in Afghanistan was an inspiration to her peers and a source of hope for Yalda.
. . . .

Sanober Umar: “I stand in awe of the Iranian women … just as I stand in solidarity with my fellow Muslim women in India.”

. . . .

The Need for Transnational Solidarity

These four Muslim women activists from Turkey, India and Afghanistan express their support for the #WomanLifeFreedom movement, acknowledging the shared struggles women across different nations face. They emphasize the need for transnational solidarity.
Ms. stands with the #WomanLifeFreedom movement. We believe in the power of transnational solidarity. These influential statements shared here are a reminder to all of us that we must stand together and address the injustices witnessed. The Iranian government is purposefully mutilating the bodies of young Iranians, robbing them of their lives simply because they demand freedom. This state violence must stop now. Change takes time, and so does revolution. We cannot remain silent. Young Iranians deserve freedom; they deserve to live.


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