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Mahsa’s death sets Iran on fire: Girls cut their hair in mourning, 3 killed in fighting

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The girls do it in the videos shared on social media, some men like the Kurdish footballer Mohammad Zobeir Niknafs of Esteghlal do it, and it also happens in the square, where a young girl from Kerman cuts her blond hair to applause. Cutting your hair as a sign of mourning it is a Kurdish custom that women may still only practice in the villages of Kurdistan. It has become a symbol throughout Iran of pain for Mahsa Amini – who was born in that region – and of resistance to the regime.

In dozens of squares and in all major universities in the country, the demonstrations that started last Saturday at the funeral of the 22-year-old girl who ended up in a coma shortly after her arrest by the so-called vice squad. In vain appeals to the calmness of the police that swears it was an accident, from President Ebrahim Raisi promising an investigation and defining Mahsa as “a daughter”. Condolences from an adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who assured the family that the Ayatollah himself was “sad” was useless. the scontri led to the death of at least three people: According to the Kurdish human rights group Hengaw, they died under fire from the agents; the authorities confirm the number, but say that the violence is being fomented from abroad and accuse, without explanation, even the embassies.

It is not only a challenge against the mandatory headscarf. Shouts like “Death to the dictator” and stones against Khamenei’s image have accompanied the protests from day one. Last night, two girls from Mashhad, the religious capital of Iran, standing in a burning police car shouted: “We don’t want the Islamic Republic”. On the balcony of Sari City Hall, to the north, two young men vandalized the effigies of Khamenei and the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khomeini; in the square a girl danced and threw the hijab into a bonfire.

In recent years there has been no shortage of protests against high prices, drought or the veil. Compared to December 2017, when a woman named Vida took off her veil and waved it like a flag on the street of the revolution in Tehran, imitated by many others, the videos from these hours seem to show a wider protest, starting with the symbol of the hijab and a return to the streets of the middle classimpoverished by the sanctions and mismanagement of the country by a regime that does not accept demands for reforms from within, such as those of the Green Wave of 2009. “At the time, we had hopes for some change from within. Now there is no more hope. There is no request for reform, only anger,” said Farahmand Alipour, who was one of the spokesmen for that movement and has lived in exile ever since.

Every totalitarian system depends on symbols and rituals, but in this way makes itself vulnerable. Challenge their authority by using the veil it becomes a political weapon. Someone on social media is even venturing a name for a new movement: “Women, Life, Freedom”. But dozens of arrests have already been made and the Islamic Republic rejects the convictions of the UN, the United States and Italy.

Source: Corriere

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