Zan, Zendegi, Azadi (Woman, Life, Freedom)
I hear my dreams in chants shouted by Iranian women, men, and children. They scream their hopes in the streets. I hope that the world hears them. They chant “Zan”; “Zendegi”; “Azadi” woman, life, freedom.
I dream an Iran that women take back the rights they have been demanding for decades.
Right now, in the street they are loudly screaming their demand for bodily autonomy, as simple as their choice of dress and equality before the law.
They shout against the ugly made-up discriminatory laws legalizing child marriage, legalizing domestic violence against women and children, and limiting reproductive health.
I even dare to dream bigger than just very basic human rights for Iranian women. An Iran where schoolgirls like Nika, Sarina and many others not only dream but plan to become judges, pilots, political leaders and presidents.
I dream that my people can live and die with dignity.
They are loud and clear calling for a country where nobody dares to imprison, torture, and murder journalists, writers, film makers, poets, environmentalist, academics, students, and workers and basically anyone for crime of speaking and writing about human rights.
They scream the right to fair trials, they hope to stop arbitrary detention, and cruel punishments and arbitrary death sentence for ethnic and religious minorities and LGBTQ community. They shout on behalf of all marginalized and discriminated women. They shout on behalf of every human with denied rights.
They shout “Azadi”; Freedom or liberty:
freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of opinion and expression, free flow of information and access to internet, peaceful assembly, and freedom of showing love to each other. Freedom of the soul and the body, to exist and experience life the way they deserves.
I am amazed by the brave women and men shouting their dreams; my dreams.
I hope that the world hears and honors their dreams.