Including statements from the GMU Iranian Students Union and the GMU Kurdish Student Organization
In the wake of the continued murder and imprisonment of innocent Iranian and Kurdish women, the George Mason University Women and Gender Studies program wants to voice our solidarity with the women and people of Iran continuing to fight for women’s rights and justice. The civil unrest and protests in Iran, and spreading globally, began in response to the September 16th death of Jîna Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman in Tehran, who died while in custody of the “morality police,” taken in for not wearing her hijab.
Kurdish novelist Ava Homa, who grew up in Sanandaj, writes in The Globe, “The outcries are not necessarily against the hijab itself, but rather against its imposition on all women of all religions and nationalities walking down the streets in Iran; unveiled women face corporal punishment.” She emphasizes that “head scarves have a long and complicated history in Iran” and that ultimately these protests are about the “right to choose.” Women in other parts of the world are persecuted when they choose (or wish to) wear their hijab.
At this moment, it is also important for us to speak to the Kurdish erasure that is deeply painful for Kurdish women and community within this struggle. Jîna’s name is Kurdish for “giving life.” Let us meditate on that for a moment. Globally, voices rise proclaiming, Jin Jîyan Azadî or Women Life Freedom, a phrase rooted in previous Kurdish women’s resistance movements and fight towards Kurdish women’s rights. We acknowledge the dual suffering of Kurdish and Iranian women in this moment.
We recognize that this time is also particularly difficult for Iranians and Kurds in diaspora, which includes our own GMU students, faculty, and staff. For anyone within the George Mason University community struggling to process and navigate these times, we want to highlight some available resources and groups:
For students: GMU Counseling and Psychological Services
For students, faculty, and staff: Center for Psychological Services Support Line 8:30am-8:30pm
Student groups on campus for community and solidarity:
If you would like to talk with someone in Women and Gender Studies, please reach out to our associate director, Holly Mason Badra, at Hmason2@gmu.edu
The Kurdish Student Organization at George Mason University is saddened, frustrated, and angered by the senseless murder of Jina Amini and the unjust treatment of women by the shameful Iranian regime. As a Kurdish woman, Jina has become a martyr of the ongoing protests in Iran, Kurdistan, and all across the globe. We, Kurdish Student Organization, stand proudly in solidarity with all individuals putting their lives in grave danger to relentlessly fight for freedom. We commend their bravery, toughness, and commitment to human rights. Now more than ever, it is clear that a regime change is necessary in Iran for the sake of universal peace and justice. It is of paramount importance that we stand united throughout this fight, for no one can be free until women are free. Jin, Jiyan, Azadî – Woman, Life, Freedom
To all Kurdish Students at Mason,
Kurds’ inherent desire for liberty lights the way of freedom for brave Iranian women, who are fighting for their very basic rights on the street.
I am from Iran and I know how morality police behave with a woman when she is arrested due to morality standards forced by Islamic Republic. If I were in Iran now, I can tell that I am NOT as brave as the ones who protest on the street without Hijab! I know how horrible and scary are the streets these days in Iran and I am super proud of Iranian women who stand against what Islamic Republic did to Mahsa (Jina) caused her death. Iranian know that they are going to be killed if they do not wear Hijab or if they chant against Islamic Republic on the street, however, they do those, following Mahsa’s death. To be honest, this is not a new story for us in Iran or not even the only death due to Hijab standard violation! The point that makes it distinguished from others is that it is related to Mahsa’s life, a Kurdish lady’s life! We in Iran, are so proud of Kurds in Kurdistan of Iran that we do not tolerate their rights violation. Accordingly, we have a slogan in Iran, “Kurdistan, Kurdistan, both eyes of Iran.” We believe in Kurds’ power and are proud of their performance during history. I, as a representative of Iranian Students Union, stand in solidarity with Kurdish women and ask all women and men around the world to do so and amplify their voices through all means possible, especially now that Iran’s brutal regime has severely limited internet access across the country.
Vice President of Iranian Students Union