Words by: Parisa Hashempour
Saturday, September 16th marks the anniversary of the death of Kurdish-Iranian 21-year-old Jina (Mahsa) Amini. Brutally murdered by ‘morality police’, her story sparked a global protest movement in defence of Iranian civil rights under an authoritarian regime. From Tehran to Edinburgh, Iranians and allies have come together under the Jin Jiyan Azadî or ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ movement, with women, trans and queer people and other marginalized groups at the forefront.
Jina is now the symbol of the struggle to reclaim life: the attainment of equality, justice and liberation from oppression. In a statement, the Edinburgh Women, Life, Freedom Collective writes that a year on, the regime continues its femicide politics and systematic misogyny. In response, they join with feminist collectives around the world to protest this continued oppression through a screening of two films, Pegah Ahangarani’s I Am Trying To Remember, and Mina Keshavarz’s The Art of Living in Danger, followed by a discussion and night march.
The films that will be shown prior to the march are testimony to the bleak realities of life for women and minorities under the Islamic Republic’s oppressive theocratic regime. In Pegah’s short film, a moving soundtrack encases this evocative story which speaks to the director’s own experiences of coming of age during the Iranian Revolution and the disappearance of a close family friend. Photographs, moving image and recollections are woven together into a touching and masterful portrayal of the realities of life under the regime.
Through the unravelling of a family secret, Mina’s documentary depicts how domestic violence against women unfolds when their legal rights have been eroded. This hard-hitting multi-generational story won awards at both the Busan International Film Festival in 2020 and the Cyprus International Film Festival in 2021. Both painful and powerful, it is a reminder of the enduring spirit of Iranian women, who will continue to make their voices heard.
Women, Life, Freedom Edinburgh say, ‘This [event] is a call on all those whose aim and ambition is a world free of sexual, gender, class, national, racial, ethnic and religious oppression to participate in a street night march on 16th September in Edinburgh, where we will loudly shout: Liberation is our right, Jina symbol of our fight.’