Was Mahsa Amini’s death natural or purposefully intentional?

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Mahsa Amini, 22, was taken into custody by the Guidance Patrol of Iran for not wearing her hijab properly, a religious standard set by the Iranian government. 

Three days after her arrest, on Sept. 16, Mahsa Amini was pronounced dead by authorities, inciting a plethora of different interpretations regarding her sudden passing. The most prominent and accepted interpretation being the use of foul-play.

In subsequent weeks, large-scale protests have unfolded all over Iran, with participants demanding full transparency about the situation and justice for Amini’s death. Government forces have kept suspicious amounts of details about the incident vague or misconstrued, further inciting furious protesting across the nation.

Given Mahsa Amini’s unfortunate passing and subsequent protests, was there something at play? Is the Iranian government truly telling the truth? Is there anything we can do in first-world nations to promote equality in this space?

Efran Mortezaei, cousin of Mahsa Amini, said during an exclusive Sky News interview that Mahsa pleaded with morality police that she was not from Tehran and was not aware of their rules, asking for some consideration. Despite her pleas, officers pepper sprayed Amini’s brother, Ashkan Amini before forcing Mahsa into a police van. Mortezaei said that a witness in the van saw Amini getting tortured and insulted en route to the police station.

Mortezaei’s explanation highlights a glaring disconnect between the Iranian government and transparency. The narrative parroted by the Iranian government versus those presented by eyewitnesses explains the notable disparity between what is federally accepted and what is societally accepted. Mistrust, in reference to Mortezaei’s point, is a pivotal driver with the current issue and will continue to be as long as transparency is absent.

On the basis of treatment, it is valid to propose that Amini died of a cerebral hemorrhage, opposed to the heart attack reason proposed by the Iranian Police. Repeated trauma to the head or other sensitive areas of the body could potentially produce symptoms similar to those exhibited by Amini, spawning a potential conflict between what was imposed and what was natural.

According to Reuters and appropriate on-ground sources, women across the nation have decided to cut off their hair and remove their hijabs in solidarity with Amini. With more protests taking to the streets, Iranian police began firing on protesters and even suppressed use of social media applications like WhatsApp and Instagram to prevent any sharing of the current situation going on. It’s generally agreed that a government taking lengths to suppress open exposure of their actions is most likely not acting in the interest of the truth. 

While the Iranian government points to the fact that Amini died of a heart attack, it’s quite notable to point to the fact that cerebral hemorrhage, typically due to blunt trauma, can cause such symptoms. As a result, one part of the story is revealed by the government, whereas the other half is left in the shadows. 

In light of such violence and trivial problems, what can we here in the United States and more specifically at UNLV, do to support or propagate such a cause?

One particular way that Americans, including UNLV students, can help with this issue is to bring attention to the issue and educate their peers on the topic. Sharing social media posts or videos can help more people understand the sanctity of women’s rights in the Middle East. 

Education is key in this case. Spreading awareness about the women suffering under the current Iranian regime and similar regimes will bring about proactive activism needed to truly bring justice to Mahsa Amini and those like her.

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