Women, Life, Freedom
On Nov. 30, the University of Ottawa (U of O) joined together with over 100 universities around the world in protest for the Women, Life, Freedom movement in Iran.
The rally was organized by the Iranian Scholars for Liberty, a “collective group of Iranian scholars (faculty, students, staff, and alumni) from universities across the globe.”
U of O’s rally was hosted by the Iranian Students Association of the University of Ottawa (ISAUO). Despite the heavy rain and cold weather, Iranian students, community members, and allies all came together in peaceful protest.
Under a tent, ISAUO hung an Iranian flag with the words “Women Life Freedom” written along the centre, where you would usually find the emblem representing Allah. It was a strong statement in and of itself.
Rally members held up signs that were distributed by ISAUO, laminated to ensure the rain would not stop them. Similar to the first protest held by the association, Iranian music was playing as people joined together.
After organizers thanked everyone for their presence and support, and continued by giving a land acknowledgement to the Algonquin people, who are the original owners of the land on which the U of O resides.
“Students have been at the forefront of this protest,” said one organizer.
Organizers began reading out chants which were returned by the rally members. Among them was: “Women, Life, Freedom… Zan, Zendegi, Azadi” and “Your silence is their violence.”
Following this, organizers read out the statement from the Iranian Scholars for Liberty. They then read out a list of students in Iranian universities who are currently in the custody of the Iranian government for speaking up against the regime. It took a full three minutes to read the names of all the students.
To conclude the rally, ISAUO played “Baraye,” meaning “For” in English, which has become the unofficial anthem of the protests for Iran.
To learn more about the protests in Iran and how you can help, you can visit this easy-to-access document created by the ISAUO.