Nearly 25,000 people have participated in an on-line poll launched by Radio Farda, on its website and Telegram channel, to identify the Newsmaker of the Year [Iranian year 1396].
Among ten newsmakers Radio Farda selected based on flow of the news, two got more than 90% of the votes; the December-January protesters and the “Girls of the Revolution Street”.
People voting on the website chose the protesters while social media users on Telegram overwhelmingly voted for the girls who defied compulsory hijab.
Finally, the “Girls of Revolution Street” won the title on aggregate (garnering nearly 11,000 votes, 1,200 votes more than the protesters).
|Newsmaker of the Year||per cent||Votes||Telegram||Website|
|1||The Girls of Revolution Street||45%||11,124||7,354||3,770|
|3||Victims of Earthquake in Kermanshah||4%||918||600||318|
|6||Whistleblowers of Saeed Toosi||2%||403||204||199|
|7||Outspoken MP, Mahmoud Sadeghi||1%||294||154||140|
|8||Kavous Seyed Emami – Victim in custody||1%||294||139||155|
|9||Mehdi Karroubi - House arrest||1%||280||141||139|
|10||Sepanta Niknam – Zoroastrian Councilman||1%||246||103||143|
On December 27, a day before the mass protests against the Islamic Republic’s mismanagement, the “Girl of Revolution street” stood on a high electricity box, removed her white scarf and silently waved it like a flag, in an apparent protest against the compulsory hijab, which in Iran refers to Islamic dress code which forces the women to cover their hair and body.
Amnesty International quoted three eyewitnesses as saying that police arrested the woman on the spot and transferred her to a nearby detention center.
In an interview with RFE/RL, Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh described her as the 31-year-old mother of a 19-month-old infant.
Sotoudeh wrote on her Facebook page that she was initially released after being detained but was subsequently rearrested.
The woman immediately became a symbol of defiance against the strict dress code enforced in Iran.
Since then, scores of other girls and women in Iran have followed suit by standing high in crowded and busy locations, removing their white scarves and waving them in the air to show their dissatisfaction with compulsory hijab.
The other newsmakers were; the victims of a massive earthquake in October 2017, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who repeatedly made news by his unexpected attacks on the regime and six individuals who were either victims or whistleblowers.
Niusha Boqrati of Radio Farda has talked to three of the “Girls of the Revolution street” at a roundtable discussion.
“I always wanted to raise my voice against the compulsory hijab”, says Niloofar, one of the girls who followed the footsteps of the first “Girl of Revolution street”, adding, “The voice of Iranian women should be heard across the world; they are against mandatory hijab.”
However, there are people who have described the move initiated by the first Girl of the Revolution street as “useless”.
Nevertheless, Niloofar insists, “Fear and despair have never solved any problem. If people join anti-compulsory hijab movement the authorities would relent and bow to people’s demands; that is a fact repeatedly proven right in the history of mankind.”
Another “girl of the Revolution street”, Yasmin cannot agree more, asserting “Our efforts are not useless. We are already witnessing the authorities’ embarrassment in confrontation with anti-compulsory hijab movement. They have even tried to replace our movement with a supposedly Islamic one, though, with no success.”
Niloofar and Yasmin believe that their movement is fruitfully going ahead, slowly but surely.
Bahar, another “Girl of the Revolution” also insists, “The movement is going forward with full force since many Iranian men have joined us. Giving the political regime we have, one should be cautious, but even the regime now understands that we are powerful and must be taken into the account.”
Moreover, Bahar insists that even religious hardliners have accepted that women are entitled to defend their rights. They have stopped calling us names, they have recognized that I am demanding my basic rights.”
The “Girls of the Revolution street” are not frightened by what would be the consequences of their movement. Bahar, Niloofar and Yasmin affirm, “The authorities know that we are unstoppable. They have poured acid on our faces, they have arrested us for the color of our garment, they have humiliated us; what more do you expect them to do?