Thanks to chaos and quantum, reality is driven by probabilities. There is no certitude, shit happens, always, particularly relating to revolutions as one can never predict how they start. Just ask the French about this and now, possibly Iran, a nation seemed poised to finally end the shackles of the ayatollahs thanks to an overstep of the morality police who tragically ended the life of a young woman for wearing inappropriate clothing.
No one can predict how a revolution starts. Nor can anyone know when one injustice will be what causes a people’s fury to overcome their fear. In 2011, in Tunisia, a street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, sparked an uprising by setting himself on fire. In 2022, in Iran, the death in police custody of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, has brought Iranians onto the streets in every corner of the country.
Amini and her brother had traveled from Saqqez, a city in Iran’s Kurdistan Province, to visit relatives in the capital, Tehran, when, on September 13, the so-called morality police arrested her for improperly wearing her hijab, or headscarf. Three days later, she was declared dead. The authorities claim she died of cardiac arrest. According to a U.K.-based independent Iranian news site, the CT scans of her skull showed signs of fractures.
Each time I see the images of her lying in a coma in a hospital bed, I cannot help thinking that I could have been Mahsa Amini. I was a girl in Iran in 1981, when a law making the hijab a mandatory dress code for women first came into force, two years after the Islamic Revolution. And I was a teenager when the morality police began making the rounds, stopping and arresting people on a whim, sometimes on no more pretext than a few strands of hair peeking out from under one’s scarf.
These demonstrators are asking not for lower fuel prices, or better salaries, or fair elections—the demands of so many previous protests. In fact, they are not asking for anything at all. They simply want the regime to go.
Addendum. The Morality police are gone.
Iran has abolished the morality police, according to an announcement by the attorney general carried on state media, following months of protests set off by the death of a young woman who was being held by the force for supposedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress laws.