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A series on the revolutionary uprising in Iran

Drawing created using thread on paper that blends classical images from Persian art with images...
"Mahsa Amini," Roya Amigh. Thread on paper, 2022. By arrangement with the artist.

This series is an attempt to create a space for the voices of Iranians who are using their words and their art to document the ongoing uprising in Iran as well as protest and fight the system.

Today Jina/Mahsa Amini’s name is not just a name anymore. The Iranian Kurdish woman who was beaten to death in the custody of the so-called “morality police” in Tehran has become the symbol of an unprecedented revolution in the country, a revolution sparked by women and centered around the slogan #WomanLifeFreedom. For more than a month now, Iranians of all ages, including Gen Z, from all walks of life, including university students and laborers, and from all over the country and the diaspora have united and taken to the streets to fight against a brutal patriarchal dictatorship that uses its ideologies, finances, and military power to rob the Iranian people, in whatever way it can, of their right to their bodies and minds.

Since Jina/Mahsa’s death on September 16, 2022, at least three hundred more civilians, including forty-six children, have been violently killed, and these are just cases officially confirmed by human rights organizations. Thousands more (according to some sources, as many fourteen thousand) have been arrested and many are disappeared. The numbers are rising every day as the protests continue, and the lives of many prisoners, including journalists and human rights activists, are in danger.

The #WomanLifeFreedom series at Words Without Borders is an attempt to create a space for the voices of Iranians who are using their words and their art to document these days as well as protest and fight the system. Taking inspiration from the horizontal, decentralized spirit of the movement and its collective collaborative approach, while wanting to avoid demanding more labor from Iranian writers and artists and activists hard at work in this intense time, I will be primarily curating material that has already been produced and shared among Iranians on various social media, a battleground where much invaluable communication and conversation joins the bodies in the streets standing against bullets and batons.

The #WomanLifeFreedom series will be published every three weeks, and besides offering a collection of works on our page, it will also link to other works out there that speak to the moment: visual arts, music videos, performances, interventions, creative actions of presence and protest on the ground, as well as already-published essays in English that have received attention among Iranians.

Poupeh Missaghi

A handwritten sign with Woman, Life, Freedom (Jin, Jiyan, Azadi) written on it in English and Kurdish
Pirehelokan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Four girls with their backs turned to the camera holding up their headscarves with their hair down
Photo via social media
People holding hands circling a fire on a street
Photo via the author
A pen-and-ink drawing of pedestrians looking downcast and concerned. A woman holding an image of...
Image © Syd Fini. The image depicts a video of Leila Mahdavi, walking around and showing people a photo of her son. Siavash Mahmoudi was sixteen when he was killed by the regime’s bullets on September 21, 2022, during the protests.
A black silhouette with a soccer ball over the chest over red flames and a yellow background with...
Image by Omar Momani
Close-up of "#WomanLifeFreedom," Roya Amigh. Thread on paper, 2022. By arrangement with the artist.
a family collage behind a pair of eyes
Photo via Celina Naheed
a barefoot man chained to a post
Photo via social media
A crop of the Stop Executions Poster depicting two hanging outlines over the words No more executions...
Poster designed by Iman Nabavi
A black wire bird against a colorful background
Photo via Khashayar “Kes” Mohammadi