Writer-director Asghar Farhadi implored people around the world to stand in solidarity with Iranians protesting for women’s rights following the police killing of Mahsa Amini.
On Sept. 16, the 22-year-old was murdered in the nation’s capital for wearing what morality police deemed “immodest clothing.” Authorities denied harming her and claimed she suffered from pre-existing health conditions, which her family disputed. A widely-circulated image showed Amini badly injured and comatose before she died, igniting protests across the nation that have seen women burning their veils and cutting their hair for the last five days.
Farhadi, the Academy Award-winning Iranian filmmaker behind “A Separation” and “The Salesman,” called for solidarity with the protestors via Instagram video.
He began by referencing the images of “progressive and courageous women leading protests for their human rights” that have surfaced over the past few days.
“They are looking for simple yet fundamental rights that the state has denied them for years. This society, especially these women, has traveled a harsh and painful path to this point, and now they have clearly reached a landmark,” he stated.
Asghar described the scenes he had witnessed: “Most of them are very young – 17 years old, 20 years old. I saw outrage and hope in their faces and in the way they marched in the streets.”
He continued, “I deeply respect their struggle for freedom and the right to choose their own destiny despite all the brutality they are subjected to. I am proud of my country’s powerful women, and I sincerely hope that through their efforts, they reach their goals.”
Asghar invited his fellow artists and activists around the globe, along with “everyone who believes in human dignity and freedom” to show their support “by making videos, in writing or any other way.”
“This is a human responsibility, and it can further strengthen Iranian’s hope in achieving this beautiful and monumental goal they are seeking here, the country where I have no doubt women will be the groundbreakers of the most significant transformations,” he finished, adding #MahsaAmini to the end of the caption.
Farhadi joins his peers in the arts and entertainment who are using their platforms to call attention to the protests, especially in light of the Iranian government blocking internet access. Model and actress Bella Hadid shared a post by photographer Amanda de Cadenet with the message, “Rest in peace #mahsaamini You did not deserve this. Sending blessings to her family and loved ones.”
“The biggest fight of resistance for equal rights between men and women is happening right now in Iran. Women in Iran simply die for their hair being out. Join. Support. Share,” wrote Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani. “#mahsaamini died 5 days ago because of her hair not being covered properly.”
On Friday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for “solidarity with the courageous women and allies in Iran protesting for their freedom.”
“Mahsa Amini was senselessly murdered by the same patriarchal and autocratic forces repressing women the world over,” she wrote on Twitter. “The right to choose belongs to us all, from hijabs to reproductive care.”