Coronavirus has been wreaking havoc in Iran. The country has long exceeded the threshold of more than 1 million cases. The situation is so grave that authorities had to resort to imposing a night-time curfew in scores of cities. Meanwhile, the government has been blaming sanctions and foreigners for the rapid spread of the virus while ample evidence exists of the Islamic Republic’s criminal negligence in leading to the spike in cases.
Under these circumstances, wouldn’t it be wiser for a cash-strapped government like the Islamic Republic to channel its resources to public health? Well, it seems that even during corona times, authorities in Iran are more concerned with women’s hair and how many strands of it are coming out of women’s compulsory hijab than enforcing the indispensable health measures.
Many Iranian women have been sending us their recent videos of verbal altercations with the morality police chasing them in the streets for their hijab. It has to be borne in mind that while various government services have come to a standstill due to COVID19 and other adverse economic conditions, the notorious and widely-detested morality police have yet to see their budget slashed.
One of the videos sent to the #MyCameraIsMyWeapon campaign shows a woman being harassed by a female morality police officer in the street for her hijab. Despite the fact that the morality police officer threatened to bring in further reinforcement, the woman was unfazed by the threats; she filmed the entire incident, spurring the morality police officer to hide her face due to the popularity of the #MyCameraIsMyWeapon campaign.
In another video sent to us , airport officials are seen harassing a woman, preventing her from taking her plane to due her hijab. The woman bravely resists them while filming the entire scene. The morality police officers are seen accosting her violently. All of this because of her hijab.
In a third video , a female driver is being accosted by a group of morality police officers who seem to have no intention of letting go of her as her hijab doesn’t cover the entirety of her hair. At a time when the coronavirus infection rate has reached a pinnacle in the capital Tehran, she was accosted while driving to the North of Iran to get away from the pandemic. But as she’s seen saying in the video, even there, what really seems to matter to the officials is her hijab.
Iranian officials have a track record of allocating large sums of money to reinforce morality rules. However, as Iranian women are increasingly rebellious to such measures, thanks in large part to campaigns like #MyCameraIsMyWeapon and #WhiteWednesdays, the Islamic Republic’s morality drive is doomed to failure.