Students honor Mahsa Amini, protest Iranian government

Students and faculty gather to honor Mahsa Amini and raise awareness for the injustice in Iran. (Grace Needham | Collegian Media)

Editor’s note: The online version of this article fixed the identification formatting of Fereshteh Majdi and Nooshin Zeinali. The Collegian apologizes for this error.

In response to the Sept. 16 death of Iranian citizen Mahsa Amini, students organized a candlelight protest in Bosco Plaza on Oct. 8 to bring awareness to the injustices taking place in Iran. Students stood with candles and posters in solidarity with the women who have been silenced by the Iranian government.

Fereshteh Majdi, graduate student in English, said the protests in Iran began after Amini’s death, who was allegedly killed by the morality police because her hijab was not worn to government standards. She was 22 years old.

Nooshin Zeinali, graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, said the protests also stem from other issues within the Iranian government.

“People don’t like to have that government, it’s just mandatory for them,” Zeinali said. “They’re protesting it, and the government is killing them.”

Kansas State students’ protest was just one of many across the world. Students gathered around a table with posters, candles, and flowers to honor Amini’s memory. Some posters read, “We all sympathize” and “Did you know blowing hair in Iran is illegal?” 

Majdi said students became more invested in the movement after meeting students from Iran at the protest.

“They don’t know that K-State has so many Iranian students, so I think that the fact that they saw us, it became real to them and it became more effective,” Majdi said.

The candlelight protest brought attention to serious issues in Iran, Majdi said.

“The government cut off the internet, so [Iranian citizens] cannot share what they are going through,” Majdi said. “We are here as the representatives of Iranian women, and we want all the world to know what they’re going through and be their voice.”

Madji said she hoped the protest would help to spread the truth.

“I’m not sure if the television, the news are showing it correctly,” Majdi said. “For example, Oprah posted yesterday that Mahsa Amini died, but she didn’t die. She was killed. She was murdered.”

Majdi said it’s important to support the women experiencing prejudice and to grieve the victims. 

“We remember them, and we want their family to know that we are there for them and we want them to gain their rights,” Majdi said.

Majdi, who moved to the United States from Iran one month ago, said she understands what the women are going through because she’s seen it first-hand.

“In these recent ten or maybe two weeks, there are so many people who were killed in Iran,” Majdi said. “Mostly teenagers are being killed in the street, being tortured, being raped.”

Majdi said the K-State community has been great to her.

“K-State was really supportive,” Majdi said. “My professors were really supportive. I went through some tough stuff.”

The movement is bigger than just one protest, but an ongoing fight for equality, Majdi said.

“I think this is the biggest feminist movement around the world,” Majdi said. “People, mostly women, are fighting for their basic rights: their rights to wear what they want, their rights to vote, their rights to get divorced, their rights to have their children after divorce.”

Both Majdi and Zeinali encourage students, faculty and Manhattan residents to utilize social media and spread the word about Amini.

“If you have the opportunity, please share it with your followers on Twitter,” Majdi said. “The hashtag is Mahsa Amini.”

“We need other people to pay attention to this problem,” Zeinali said. “We are asking people to be Iran’s voice.”