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This is not some naive or utopian uprising. The masses of working and
middle class people,  particularly the hundreds and thousands of women
at the forefronts of these protests, comprehend very well the
potential costs involved in destabilizing a highly hegemonic,
patriarchal, reactionary, sectarian and fragile militarized state.

People know very well that the current uprising can take any turn, in
good or bad directions. But they  also know  that a long oppressed,
alternative, non-sectarian, inter-ethnic conversation about  struggle
in Iran has finally (and unexpectedly) found its way into the public
space. Whatever the outcome of the protests, it is important not
torely on the usual victim blaming and regime normalizing tropes  of
“what did people expect?” or “people should know better” or  “don’t
play with  fire”. These are the same frameworks that are continually
deployed to dehumanize or erase  local  agency  in the Syrian

We cannot expect people living anywhere under unbearable economic,
social, and political circumstances to solve all the inherent and deep
contradictions of market capitalism, global imperialism, and
patriarchy before demanding their basic right to bread, dignity,
equality, justice and freedom.

What we can do is resist easy explanations and convenient readings of
history to describe a protest that by its nature defies them, and
listen to the voices on the street.


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