Podcast: Woman, life, freedom – Iranian protests in Estonia

The Tallinn University Podcast with Terry McDonald seeks to shed light on the research and activism taking place in Estonia, especially at Tallinn University; the first episode of season three will address the women-led protests in Iran, and how they are taking shape on the ground in Estonia.

This season, the podcast is presented in conjunction with Estonian World.

On Saturday, 29 October, a “human chain” stretched along from Tallinn’s Freedom Square towards the Russian embassy in the Old Town in support of the current protests against the Iranian government – and specially to show the disgust at the Islamic Republic’s cooperation with Russia in the Ukraine war. People were chanting “Woman Life Freedom”, “Glory to Ukraine”, and the name of “Mahsa Amini”. Why are they chanting this name in Estonia?

For 43 years, Iranians have lived under an oppressive theocratic regime. Iranians are not only protesting the mandatory hijab; they also oppose living under the Islamic Republic in the bigger picture. Iran’s police brutality against Mahsa Amini was a powder keg moment to protest against decades of gender apartheid. For the not first time in the modern civil rights movement, an incident of police violence sparked protests against systematic oppression, and inspired solidarity protests in other countries.

Iranian women are fighting for their basic human rights – and to be treated and regarded as equal to men under Iranian law, which they are not currently. These Iranians are not fighting to reform their government – they wish to free themselves from the shackles of the Islamic Republic.

The current protests are the biggest nationwide protests in Iran since 1979. They have now spread to other countries in the world where the Iranian diaspora is supporting and amplifying the voices of the Iranian protesters who have been killed in the streets during the past two months.

In this episode, we will explore the history of human rights issues under the current Iranian regime, the evolution of protests in Iran, and possible ways to support Iranian protesters. Host Terry McDonald talks to Iranian poet and Tallinn University student, Maliheh Keshmiri about the origin of these protests, and Sandra Peets, a PhD candidate in Middle East studies in the same university, about why people in Estonia should care.

Also, we will hear about the international perspective. We also look at how this movement is manifesting itself here in Estonia, including a recent demonstration of solidarity at Tallinn University. 

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