31 March 2023

Vigil organised to remember casualties of Iran protests

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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A vigil in support of Iranian women will be held in Wagga. Photo: Erich Karnberger.

Wagga’s Iranian community is organising a vigil to remember those who lost their lives during the ‘women, life, freedom’ movement in Iran.

Iranian women are continuing to be treated as second-class citizens in relation to marriage, divorce, employment, child custody, political office and inheritance.

Vigil organiser Dr Shabnam Azarm said that during the movement, thousands were arrested, and over a hundred children were killed.

“We are going to remember them and light a candle,” Dr Azarm said.

“We are inviting everyone that feels the connection to come to show solidarity and stand with us and raise awareness.

“If people can attend and stand with us to show that freedom is a valuable virtue in the world.”

Dr Azarm said people in every corner of the world deserved the freedom to “live in a fair country with a fair government” that was elected by the people.

“The current regime is not representative of the country with the gender apartheid,” she said.

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Dr Azarm said women and children in Iran needed support.

“We need to show we are aware of what’s going on and support the movement, democratic aspiration, and fight for freedom,” she said.

“The movement was started by women, and now it’s all about the whole nation.”

Dr Azarm said that while her family back in Iran weren’t involved in the protests, their lives were still at risk.

“You can send your child to school and don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.

“You’re out on the streets, and the regime doesn’t like what you’re wearing, you won’t know what’s going to happen to you.”

Dr Azarm said the Islamic Republic of Iran had recently imposed more restrictions and a fine of $100,000 on women for wearing hijab improperly.

“They are taking the women’s passport, driving licence and sacking them from their jobs.”

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The Wagga doctor moved to Australia in 2014 for a better future for her daughter.

“We didn’t like what was going on with the politics in Iran and I didn’t want my daughter to live in a situation and see herself as a second gender.

“She can’t fulfil her dream as a girl … .”

Dr Azarm hopes to see the current regime gone and for the people to elect their own government and live in a democratic secular country.

“We believe, if we give up (on the fight) now, it’s a betrayal to those who lost their lives.”

The candlelight vigil will be held at Victory Memorial Gardens from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm on 1 April.

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