The voice of Baluch women, Woman, Life, Freedom!

We, the Baluch women living in Iran have suffer under intersectional discrimination and oppression day and night. The oppression, poverty, discrimination, unemployment, insecurity and exploitation of Baluchs’ labor and resources have become normalized. We, Baluch women, along with our brothers have been suffering under national/ethnic and classicist/religious oppression. On top of that, as women, we were considered as “namus”, not only by our fathers, brothers and husbands, but also by our tribes as well as by the religious system and the state. For years, sometimes passionate and openly and sometimes at home and in small groups, we, along with our sisters and brothers, have been sisterly resisting patriarchy, religious fundamentalism (Talibanism), ethnic and class discrimination, and the ruling shiite regressiveness. But we were under the impression that the guideline of the fight for a better life has already been written down for us in the form of democratization, progress and development programs, and that we needed to follow up our demands parallel to these programs.

However, with Mahsa’s tragic death and the wave that rose in whole Iran, we found ourselves in the forefront of the struggle. “Woman, Life, freedom” gave us a new life. Suddenly, this slogan, word by word, filled us with passion; we said: We want to live! Women seek to liberate their lives, and their liberation is the liberation of us all. Before this we were subjects trying to improve a few paragraphs of the law regarding marriage/separation, we demanded less discrimination for Baluchs regarding employment, we asked the clergies not to prevent girls’ education, we asked fathers and brothers not to force child marriage upon their daughters and sisters, we documented and publicized femicides, we tolerated the tribe and its laws of conduct, we tried to have an impact on the rigid patriarchal structures, we asked the state for permission to establish safe houses for protecting women against violence, and to provide birth control measures so that unwanted pregnancy could be avoided. These were all no small efforts in their own right, but in the face of the feminist uprising that has spread all over Iran seems insignificant, if not trivial. All of a sudden with indescribable passion and energy, along with our sisters all over Iran, we, Baluch women, started to demand life and freedom, not only for us, but also for all people in Iran; a life free of all chains, of all forms of oppression; we said NO to the fathers’ brothers’, tribes’ and the state’s authority and control over our body, life and freedom. “Woman, Life, Freedom” denounces all forms of oppression imposed on us. How wonderful it is that in the course of past weeks we learned this through our sisterhood with women of other nationalities in Iran: kurdish, lur, arab fars, and so on. There is still a lot to learn on this path.


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