MahsaAmini - released by family
This is a picture of Mahsa Amini. She died yesterday after being arrested by Iranian morality police for for '...allegedly violating the country’s strict hijab law' - a symbol of the tightening of that law is the annual 'Hijab and Chastity Day' that was implemented in July this year.
She died after (allegedly) being beaten in the back of a police van. The police say she suffered a heart attack. It's murder whichever way you look at it, the arrest and oppression of a young woman who chooses to exercise a tiny degree of freedom of choice leading to her death.
I don't know much about this image, but it touched me deeply. It reminds me of the awful pictures that were released by the parents of Emmett Till after he was murdered. They stood heartbroken behind his bloated, decomposing body staring out at the camera accusing not just the murderers but the entirety of white supremacy that enabled the crime to happen.
Here the picture is also evidence and there is also an accusation. Where the picture of Emmett Till accused white supremacy and its supporting institutions, this accuses male supremacy - which is a global affair and a growth bigotry.
You have no right, it seems to state, to judge, to control, to contain this woman's body. You have no right to project the psychodrama of your male inadequacy onto a religion and onto the body of this young woman.
It's a picture that says that her hair, her body, her skin are inalienably hers. They are not subject to laws invented from the pits of male neurosis, they are not obscene, indecent or an affront to civilised society. Rather, the efforts to control this woman's body and its appearance is what is obscene, the ongoing violence this body has undergone over the years is what is obscene. And that can be extended to the control of women's bodies everywhere, the ways in which male desires, neuroses, and general fear and hatred of women are used as an excuse to oppress and control women and the way they appear, behave, and dress in every country in the world, from Iran to France, Britain, India, you name a country and it happens there.
Well it might say that. I don't really know. Often we say that pictures mean one thing and we don't really know. Often as in all the time. Everyone, everywhere.
It's a terrible picture. It was a very brave thing to release the pictures.