On 13 September, the Iranian ‘Morality Police’ captured a Kurdish girl named Jîna Emînî in Tehran, who was visiting from her city Seqiz in Iranian Kurdistan, with her brother. Her brother tried to intervene and asked the police: “We are foreigners here, why are you arresting her?”, and they responded by beating him too. After that, they tortured Jîna until she lost consciousness. She was taken to hospital, and on Friday 16 September, she passed away because of the severity of her wounds.
After her death, the regime claimed that she died because of a heart attack due to an underlying illness. Jîna’s mother came out and denounced those allegations, in a phone call with a news channel she said: “My daughter’s condition was safe and healthy, they did that to her.”
The excuse of the “morality police” is that her hijab was “improper"; as if that, even if true, could justify these monsters killing her. The brutality of the Iranian police machine is well-known to everyone, and these practices are a daily routine for them. The Iranian political activist Puran Nazemi came out and said:
“I, as someone who has been beaten and tortured several times by the security police, was a year and some days before now held in the same jail [where Jîna was tortured] in Waziran, along with my friends; and we were insulted and beaten. I remind the police that that jail has lots of security cameras. If you are telling the truth then publish the whole record of those cameras to let the masses see.”
After Puran Nazemi’s statement, the Iranian regime published a video of the victim fainting. This 1:06 minute long video was supposed to prove the truth to their allegations. Jîna’s father in a subsequent interview revealed that that video is a complete lie and was staged. And he added: “22 years and my daughter didn’t suffer any illness other than a mild cold.”
Hypocrisy, hypocrisy and more hypocrisy…
Those who named themselves “leaders of the Kurdish struggle for emancipation” were shamelessly silent after this outrage. Nêçîrvan Barzanî, the president of the Kurdistan region, attended the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in Britain: the colonial power that contributed the most to the dismemberment of the living body of the region and the oppression of the Kurds for many decades, but he didn’t utter a single word about Jîna!
Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi said to Jîna's father that: “your daughter is my daughter, and what happened has left a feeling in me that it happened to a person dear to me”. The same Raisi, not long ago, was visited by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the president of Turkey, and welcomed him warmly as they agreed to a deal to cooperate against the “terrorists”, which means the Kurdish people in particular.
Also, the current National Security Advisor of the United States, Jake Sullivan, tweeted that the death of Jîna emînî is “unforgivable”:
We are deeply concerned by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was reportedly beaten in custody by Iran’s morality police. Her death is unforgivable. We will continue to hold Iranian officials accountable for such human right abuses. #MahsaAmini مهسا_امینی#— Jake Sullivan (@JakeSullivan46) September 16, 2022
This is a representative of the same US regime that sold out the Kurds in Rojava: and now this crime is unforgivable! The only real thing the American imperialists are concerned about are their own crude and narrow interests, the Kurdish people shall always remember that.
From a tragedy to a festival of resistance
After Jîna's death, thousands of people attended her funeral, with a heavy and militant presence of working-class women. And when it seemed that there was no hope, when Jîna's mother said: “They killed my daughter and we’re obliged to say nothing”, the sunshine of a mass movement began to cut through the clouds of grief.
People: old, young, men and women, began to sing Kurdish revolutionary songs, and they began shouting the beautiful slogan ژن، ژیان، ئازادی, “Women, Life, Freedom”. The tragedy of Jîna's death and the attempt to enforce the silence of her family was transformed into a festival of resistance, which in turn broke out into a mass movement driven by deep anger at the regime:
An appeal went out for a general strike in the whole Kurdistan area (Kurdish areas in Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria). The strike began in the Iranian areas, and it was very successful. Shops are closed, streets are empty, and workers are not going to work.
This is a very significant development. As Lenin stated: “every strike brings thoughts of socialism very forcibly to the worker’s mind, thoughts of the struggle of the entire working class for emancipation from the oppression of the capital.” A strike makes workers realise that they are the motor force of the whole of society. And if they stop working then the whole society stops with them. It reveals objectively that the ruling class and its representatives are mere parasites and what makes the wealth and moves the machines, the trucks and the trains are the workers. It also brings the question of power to the fore. It poses the matter of who is the master here?
At the same time, it is not enough, by itself, to seize power. There is a need for a revolutionary leadership that can organise the ranks of the workers and lead them to win the support of the rest of the toiling people to take political power.
If there were revolutionary leadership, credible in the eyes of the masses, this strike would have taken place simultaneously in all the major cities. It should have invited all the workers of the region, especially in Iran and Turkey, to join the struggle against the ruling classes that not only oppress the Kurds but also oppress them. That could have been a fatal blow to the regime.
The fire never dies!
The spark of Jîna’s murder ignited a torch whose fire never dies: the torch of revolution. Thus even if the current movement fades, its lessons won't pass in vain, rather they will be taught to thousands of toilers throughout the region.
This movement has already given us several valuable lessons. It has shown us the brutality of the capitalist system. It has taught us that the masses can only trust in our own strength. Neither the liberals, nor the imperialist powers, nor anyone except the toiling masses of the people, have a real interest in eliminating oppression and injustice, nor have the desire and ability to do so.
The only way forward is the revolutionary mass struggle using working-class methods: the general strike, the insurrection and the revolutionary uprising. We need to invite our brothers and sisters, the workers and toilers of the region, Arabs, Turks and Iranians, to wage a joint struggle against the capitalist regimes that oppress us all.
The working class all over the world has the same interests. No one can deny that the Kurds are being oppressed by imperialism and the regimes prevailing in the region (Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria), but they are not one united bloc. Whether within those countries or among the Kurds themselves, there are different classes with contradictory interests.
The Kurdish masses need a programme based on working-class foundations, and make a fraternal appeal to the workers and youth of all countries in the region. In this way, we can make a revolution capable of overthrowing capitalism in the entire Middle East. We must always raise the slogan: “Workers of the world unite!”
Jîna’s martyrdom has taught us a lesson we should have learned years ago: that all ruling classes have the same interests, the only courageous and heroic people that stood with us are the working class. As we could see in the videos above, thousands of ordinary people are standing fearlessly to face the Islamic Republic. This audacity must be the way of our struggle.
But we would be wrong if we believe that this movement, alone and in itself, will permanently destroy the Iranian regime. It is true that some layers of the masses have begun to move, but that alone will not guarantee victory. Trotsky once stated that: “Without a guiding organisation, the energy of the masses would dissipate like steam not enclosed in a piston box. But nevertheless what moves things is not the piston or the box, but the steam.”
We must not allow these struggles and sacrifices to go in vain. We must not allow this crime to go unpunished. Therefore, we must build a revolutionary leadership, which can lead the workers of the region to overthrow these bloody, dictatorial capitalist regimes and build a socialist federation where all the peoples of the region can live in peaceful harmony and mutual cooperation.
ژن، ژیان، ئازادی!
Long live the struggle of the Kurdish people!
Long live the struggle of the working-class!
Down with capitalism, down with dictatorships!