Written by Hawzhin Azeez
As the diverse peoples of Iran protest against their regime following the death of 22 year old Kurdish woman Zhina Mehsa Amini we need to remember an important fact: Iran is not a homogenous entity of one culture, one people, one language, one ethnicity. You protest the murder of Zhina’s womenhood but not the murder of her Kurdishness.
Revolutionary movements must avoid repeating the same patriarchal and racist values as the regimes they attempt to over throw; otherwise they make the mistake of simply replacing one group of racist, patriarchal people with another. This was the trademark of the 1979 Iranian revolution where women suddenly found themselves, along with various ethno religious groups, being the main losers.
True justice for Zhina looks like genuine change, inclusiveness and humanity. It looks like all the diverse groups accepting each other’s existence and historical systemic and intersecting oppressions. The Kurds have always been denied their rich identity. Even to date many ‘Iranians’ deny or refuse to acknowledge the Kurdishness of Zhina or that her ethnicity was a factor in her murder. As Kurdish women we want justice for Zhina but we reject any ideas of waiting for the right time or some mythical future where Iran is suddenly embraced by democratic values before our Kurdishness, and all the associated pain and suffering is seen and addressed by revolutionary movements. Conferring rights, whether it be ethnicity or gender, sexuality or otherwise, to a distant vague future has shown to be a mark of failure of social movements. Learn from history! Justice for us Kurdish women, justice for Zhina must entail our Kurdishness; anything that denies it, or asks us to set it aside cannot be trusted by us.
We gave the world “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi”; and we also gave you Rojava where Kurds, Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians and Yezidis amongst others have shown that they can live together in peace and mutual respect. Democratic Confederalism has shown us that right should never be denied and given now and immediately. Recognition of diversity and not fearing the cultural mosaic of our ancient societies enriches us, empowers us all and most importantly: liberates us all from the colonization practices of the capitalist-statist-patriarchal values. Together we are more humane. My existence does not threaten or weaken yours. Together we are richer, stronger and more capable of the progressive societies we fight for!