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Mandana Karimi reveals the ‘weird excuses’ made by Bollywood actors for not joining her in the protest supporting Iranian women

The actress also spoke about how the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, protests following the incident and the violent crackdown on the protestors made her feel like the last three weeks have passed like months and years.

As the protest in Iran is gaining support and solidarity across the world, the women’s rights movement reached India as Mandana Karimi, an Iranian-born Bollywood actress recently staged a solo protest in Mumbai. The actress was seen dressed in black attire holding a placard in her hands in solidarity with women of her native country. Karimi, however, has expressed her disappointment over the weird excuses her Bollywood colleagues made to not join her in the protest.

In a conversation with the Times of India, Mandana Karimi talked about what motivated her to stage a protest. “The past three weeks have felt like months and years. I’ve been reliving everything that’s happening to my people in Iran. I make sure I speak to my mum and brothers every day. My first waking thought is – what if something happened to them? Buying groceries could land you in jail or worse. The past three weeks have also been a time to unite, making new friends with amazing people from around the world and trying to make a difference. Everyone must have witnessed the bravery of Iranian women by now. The world heard us roar”.

She said, On October 1, people across the world organized a Pan Global Protest Day to stand in solidarity with the women of Iran, battling against Sharia police and the compulsory hijab.

“150 cities worldwide stood in protest but I couldn’t find India on that list. So, I decided to organize one in the city. The responses I received from people were disappointing. They ranged from ‘I have to speak to my PR team’, to ‘we are just two of us, what can we do?’, ‘It’s better to post online about what’s happening back home, and give interviews”, ‘I have family commitments, ‘I don’t care, I don’t live in Iran anymore’, ‘I will put a story for you’. These were just some of the words that left me hollow and broken”, she added.

She continued by saying that as a result, she made the decision to do a solo protest. “I was reminded of Mahsa Amini. She was also alone. She didn’t know anyone in Tehran and she is the reason for this movement. Saturday was important to show our people back home in Iran that we are with you. So, I went out alone, held Mahsa’s name, played Sherveen’s song, and explained to the few who gathered about the current situation in my country. Although it was overwhelming, I felt like I was a part of something bigger,” she added.

The actress also spoke about how the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, protests following the incident and the violent crackdown on the protestors made her feel like the last three weeks have passed like months and years.

In a series of tweets, Mandana Karimi clarified that her protest was not against hijab or Islam but for basic human rights. “I wasn’t protesting against the hijab!! I was out to support my people, who are fighting For human rights! basic human rights! Like having the choice to wear a scarf or not, getting a dog, having the right to divorce, getting their child’s custody, being able to hold hands…,” read her first tweet in the series.

Mahsa Amini, Womens Rights Movement and anti-hijab revolution in Iran

Protests erupted in Iran with Iranian women publicly taking off their hijabs, and chopping their hair after the death of a 22-year-old girl Mahsa Amini who was detained by Iran’s ‘Morality Police’ for wearing the hijab in an ‘improper manner’. She was assaulted in the police van and eventually succumbed to her injuries. The enraged women protesters were seen chopping their hair and burning hijabs in a bid to resist the mandatory veiling of women. The women have come together to seek their fundamental rights in opposition to what they claim is a regime of gender apartheid.

Recently, Oscar-winning actresses Marion Cotillard, Juliette Binoche, and several others chopped their hair as a mark of solidarity with Iranian women protestors. Sharing the video of the same, Arsen Ostrovsky, an international human rights lawyer, tweeted, Deeply moving and powerful! Oscar-winning actors Marion Cotillard and Juliette Binoche, as well as several other French cinemas and music stars, have filmed themselves cutting hair in solidarity with women in #Iran.”

Niloofar Hamedi, a woman journalist who broke the news of Mahsa Amini’s death on September 22, was reportedly detained by Iranian authorities. Her social media accounts were suspended as well. Several women protestors like Mahsa Mogoi and Hadis Najafi were reportedly shot dead by the oppressive regime.

On October 4, thousands of schoolgirls joined in to demand freedom from the mandatory hijab laws in the Islamic country. Girls in schools are removing their headscarves and showing their hair as a mark of protest.

“Zan, Zendegi, Azadi (Women, Life, Freedom)”, they yelled often throwing away or burning their hijabs in remarkable scenes. Protests by schoolgirls were reported in Karaj, Tehran, and the north-western cities of Saqez and Sanandaj.

Since the Iranian revolution in 1979, taking off the hijab is a criminal offence there. Women are required to cover their hair and neck with a hijab in accordance with this mandated dress code, which is applicable to people of all nationalities and religions, not just Iranian Muslims. Women have frequently demonstrated against the regressive law in public spaces and on social media.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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