What started out as a question of gas prices and internet disconnection, turned into a problem much bigger than what many thought. Instead, the world is witnessing the destruction of an entire country and the death of thousands of people. There is nothing left for Iranian citizens to live on, nothing left to live for. The protests in Iran commenced on the evening of November 15, sparked by the hike in fuel prices and an internet shutdown, but now it is an overall anger with the Iranian government.
It all began with the price rise in gasoline, as many people believe that with salaries being so low in Iran, they should be entitled to having cheaper gasoline rather than the government making it more expensive. Considering all that Iranians are to pay for, ever since the latest round of new sanctions from the U.S, the acts have caused their economic situations to worsen.
Economy has been going down every week more ever since the sanctions last year that have been imposed by the U.S. They have almost no more oil export in Iran, and the oil exports count for roughly 90% of the state revenue, according to Global News, which means that inflation is very high. The devaluation of the Iranian Rial (basic monetary unit of Iran) has lost more than half of its value within ten months and this means that the prices are rising for perishables such as food, rice, milk. The people simply cannot cope with that situation because salaries are not rising in the same speed.
The Iranian people are not putting the blame for this situation, as in the past on foreign countries such as the U.S. who imposed the sanctions, but rather on the Iranian regime as they believe that the regime should be the one to find a solution to the problem. Authorities, however, have responded with even more violence, killing many protesters and destroying many areas in the country. Regardless, the Iranian government concludes that they must keep on increasing gasoline prices on their own citizens as a way to keep the economy going.
The societal discontent has also resulted in women willing to remove their scarves, which is illegal and will lead to prosecution; this is just an example to show that the unrest and discontent has spread to many facets of Iranian society.
Some students at Riverside have taken action by spreading the news around the school. Rozhan Saadati, grade 12, wrote a spoken word about the issue. She states that the reason as to why Canadians should care more about this matter is because this isn’t about nationality, it’s about humanity. “My mother is there at the moment. When they shut down the internet, we couldn’t talk for almost a week. My dad and I were worried and scared!” said Saadati, who wasn’t able to communicate with her mother for almost ten days. When she finally did, she and her family were able to get a better insight on the issue. When she started writing her spoken word, she just wanted to be a voice that the Iranian people had lost.
There is not much we can do to help Iran during these hard times but to talk about it and share the word. In the age of internet, we have news on what is happening in the world accessible to us; therefore, we have access to bring awareness to the public. You can also help by joining the #KeepItOn campaign, which is more than 200 organizations around the world that fight internet shutdowns by offering technical support, legal intervention, grassroots advocacy and direct policy-maker engagement.
Photo courtesy of Wired.