Mahsa Amini, the Iranian who wore her hijab “in a sloppy fashion,” will not be celebrating her 23rd birthday. But her short life can have an impact on tens of millions of women. Her death gave rise to the awakening of brave Iranian women, who are coming out yesterday and calling out in the heart of Tehran: “No to the veil, no to the turban, yes to freedom and equality.”
You can suppress people but not ideas, you can shut mouths but not minds, you can stop demonstrations but not progress. Iran, which for the most part brings us bad news and the threat of war, suddenly brings hope, that the ideal of gender equality and a woman’s right to her body and mind – is beginning to reach even the dark corners of global society.
Iranian women are embarking on a journey to freedom and equality, a journey that will change not only their status, but that of the entire Iranian society. Because recognizing the status of women is only the first stage of social empowerment, of an enlightened and progressive society, and of advancing an agenda of values: of recognition of human rights, acceptance of the other, openness, democracy, respect between people and between nations.
If I could, I would call the women of Iran today, in the name of the WIZO women of Israel and the world to say: We pray for your success in your holy mission! For you, for all the women of the Arab world, for the whole world. Your struggle is one of the most justified and important social struggles in the entire world, and we are following it closely. There will come a day when women from Israel and Iran will cooperate as partners in the journey, and on this day we will all remember Mahsha Amini, and the fall of 2022, in Tehran.