Professors discuss women-led Iranian movement

By Steven Adamo

Panelists at the “Woman, Life, Freedom” virtual event Monday focused on moments in Iranian history that lead to the on-going revolution after Masha Amini’s murder.

22-year-old Amini was killed by Iran’s “Morality Police” in September, which sparked the current movement in Iran and inspired protests all around the world. 

The panel featured college professors from local community colleges and universities and was moderated by Kelly Velasquez, Professor of Political Science. 

Professor Sam Behseta of California State University Fullerton said the current president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, has a long history of extra-judicial murders.

“The reason this is important is because it shows you that the mentality and geology of a system that finds no solution other than eliminating opposing voices has not changed,” Behseta said. 

Behseta said one aspect about the current movement in Iran that differs from movements in the past is that there’s no single leader or group and that it is led by women and students. 

“It’s coming from the people of Iran, it’s organic in its nature,” Behseta said.

English Professor Amir Sharifi said that it is important for people outside of Iran to inform themselves and share awareness on social media. 

“Those of you who are not Iranian or don’t know much…first inform yourselves as you are doing right now and stay connected through events, protests and amplify your voice,” Sharifi said. 

“It’s enormously important.” 

California State University Fullerton professor Sara Safari was born in Iran and moved to the United States in 2002.

 She said the people of Iran used to be a democracy and many of the young Iranian people are chanting for a return to it. 

“A system that ultimately represents all of them, that provides opportunities for all of them, and that protect all of them,” Safari said. 

Safari emphasized the importance and effectiveness caused by striking workers. 

“This week, there are nation-wide protests and strikes taking place, and that includes groups such as truckers.” 

She said that when there were worker strikes at street bazaars, 70 to 100 percent of bazaar owners went on strike. 

“It’s an incredibly effective way to damage the economy of this regime and ultimately undermine it,” Safari said. 

“It might not feel like your one voice can matter. You never know the chain reaction it could cause,” Safari said. 

“The death of Masha Amini was initially covered by one journalist, one person posted about it on social media and look where we are now.” 

In 2017, Safari gave a TEDx presentation titled “Climb Your Everest,” about surviving an avalanche on Mt. Everest after the earthquake in Nepal in 2015. 

The panel was co-sponsored by the ELAC Equity Matters Program and Women and Gender Studies Program.

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