Hoping for freedom

Pourya Rekabdar 15 years old from IRAN  

Today is the 18th of November 2022, which coincides with the 53rd day of protests against the killing of Mahsa Amini by the morality police of IRAN.  

During the first days of the protests, I and many others thought that this time is going to be the same as before and these protests would continue for a short time. We thought some innocent people would be killed and after a short period of time, the situation would return to the same state as before. 

But when I saw that a large number of institutions, famous and non-famous people, some of whom even live abroad, were supporting these protests, I realized that these protests are different from the previous times. Many people are really angry with the ruling government because of injustice, especially around the rights of children and young people… 

I had not participated in any protests until that day and I told myself that there was nothing I could do, but after seeing violations of the rights of children, adolescents, and people of my age, I really wanted to do something and not be silenced. 

But before I do anything, the protests reached our school and… It all started very quickly, two of the students started arguing, one a supporter of the protesters and the other a young man who was a member of the BASIJ in school (basij is a paramilitary organization that the regime uses to suppress citizens who oppose the government). After hearing the protesting student’s words, he had almost nothing to answer and he started being violent with aggression and anger. 

Seeing this aggressive scene, other students began to support their protesting classmates and after a few minutes, the entire school began chanting slogans against the regime and the Islamic Republic. 

But on the second day of the protests, it was completely different, after the second bell rang, the children started chanting anti-Islamic Republic slogans from the school hallways and continued to do so until the third bell started to ring (which lasted approximately 35 minutes). The children then returned to classes and when they entered the schoolyard for the last time that day, they saw insults and disrespect from the principal and the school staff.  

Unfortunately, this was the last time the children carried out the protests in one voice. But this was not the end of everything, the children continued to write anti-Islamic Republic slogans on the doors and walls of the school, and teachers who defended the government had become the most despicable teachers. 

For two weeks, everything went the same way until Basij members decided to show the situation in the school and share it online. They were supposed to come to the morning ceremony and sing a few songs with the children matching them and chanting for them after the songs were finished. But when they started singing the anthem, the whole school started booing and announcing their opposition to them! They tried to stop the students by raising the voices of the school speakers, but they still couldn’t make students follow them. The students continued to boo them until the principal came into the schoolyard and greeted the students with the same disrespect as the previous week and sent everyone to their classes.  

It is now exactly one week since this happened in our school, but the children are still doing things to demonstrate their opposition to this system and the style of government, whether by writing anti-Islamic Republic slogans or doing other things.  

 Anyways, I’m proud and I’m glad that such solidarity in my school and many other schools in Iran exists. 

Until today, the 18th of November, 304 innocent people have been murdered on the streets of Iran, with 41 of them were children and adolescents. 

Hoping for freedom.  

Migratory Birds

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