SF State’s Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies to host teach-in event on Iran’s civil unrest
Iranian students and staff share their feelings on Iran’s civil conflicts following the death of Mahsa Amini.
October 6, 2022
The Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies will host a teach-in on Oct. 7 via Zoom in an effort to discuss the conflict happening in Iran, provide a safe place where students can speak out and explain what students can do to support their Iranian peers.
Professor Persis Karim is the Neda Nobari chair of the Center of Iranian Diaspora Studies at SF State. She hopes to educate students on what Iranians are experiencing.
“I think we live in a country where the news media and political rhetoric about Iran are so geared towards what the Iranian regime is doing and very rarely do people have the opportunity to learn anything about the human beings who live there [and] about their culture,” Karim said. “A very common misconception is that people of Iran are the government of Iran.”
For weeks, residents of Iran have grieved over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman, was taken into police custody after being accused of violating Iran’s hijab mandate. She died while in custody– her family suspects she was beaten to death by the police.
Iranian women have removed their hijabs and cut their hair in protest of the government’s regime. Karim sees this as a global fight for women’s right to choose.
“Even if you don’t know anything about what’s taking place in Iran, you can find common ground for women’s rights,” Karim said. “We want to draw people’s attention to the struggle of women, women’s rights but also the struggle of young people to determine a future free of repression and violence.”
As the civil unrest continues, there have been at least 154 deaths among thousands injured. The government has also limited internet access, causing a massive internet blackout.
Iranian graduate student Ferdos Heidari was blacklisted from the country due to a change in religion and has been living in America since 2014. She sees the protests as the start of a revolution.
“I’m so proud,” Heidari said. “The bravery of these women that go in the streets, take off their hijab and say ‘death to dictator,’ knowing they’re a bullet away from death. They say kill me, that’s fine. But, the next generation will have the freedom I’m fighting for today.”
Amini’s death has sparked widespread women-led protests, not only in Iran but around the world.
“I cannot fathom why we don’t have any news coverage about this,” Heidari said. “If it happened here everyone would have known about it but because it’s in Iran, not a lot of people do.”
Like Heidari, many Iranian students have mourned Amini’s death and the tumultuous uprising in their country.
Taghi Amjadi, an Iranian clinical counselor at SF State, has seen the effects of the conflict on Iranian students firsthand.
“It really negatively impacts our students on campus,” Amjadi said. “My colleagues and I have had several students express their sadness, depression and helplessness about the situation that’s happening. Some students can’t concentrate on school work, some are worried about their families in Iran.”
Register for the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies teach-in event to learn more about Iran.