Jin, Jiyan, Azadi: Women, Life, Freedom

The Kurdish ideology behind the current uprising in Iran

From Planet 249

by Shara Atashi

As the world watches the brutal repression of women protesting in Iran, Shara Atashi examines the roots of ‘Jineology’, a radical feminism born of the Kurdish resistance movement.

Sonia Sharifi is only seventeen. On the 15th of December 2022, this Kurdish girl was welcomed in her hometown Abdanan as a champion, with fireworks, Kurdish music, and horn-honking cars. Her arrival at the city gate was announced through a megaphone: ‘Here comes our brave lady, our “Shirzan” of Abdanan.’ ‘Shirzan’ means ‘lioness’ both in Kurdish and Persian, but it’s more commonly used among Kurds who are famous for their courage in Iran. In her honour, the crowd danced and waved kerchiefs in the air, screaming ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadi’. This is the Kurdish origin of the now popular slogan which marks the current revolutionary uprising in Iran: ‘Women, Life, Freedom’. Sonia’s image, standing on a car with a red wreath around her neck, both fists raised to the sky, gesturing the victory sign, will be preserved in historical records. Behind her is a large poster depicting the clerics, whom Iranians are working to overthrow. Not many of such posters have survived the Molotov cocktails in recent days.

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About the author

Shara Atashi is an award-winning author and translator of Iranian-German background based in Aberystwyth. She is a regular contributor of literary essays and reviews in Writers Mosaic, New Welsh Review and Nation.Cymru.