Exiles: Meet the Iranian women taking up arms in Iraqi Kurdistan
Her death has sparked the biggest uprising against the Iranian regime since the mullahs came to power more than 40 years ago. Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died on September 16 after being arrested by Iran's morality police for violating the country’s strict dress code for women. Since then, protesters have been taking to the streets to express their anger. The regime has responded with arrests, torture, death sentences and executions. Many demonstrators trying to escape this crackdown have fled to the Kurdistan region of neighbouring Iraq, where they have found refuge. Kevin Berg?reports.
Iraqi Kurdistan has become a refuge for those in exile from Iran. Faced with the crackdown by the regime, more and more Iranians are crossing the border to join the Kurdish commandos in a bid to bring down the mullahs.
Among them are women, determined to fight. To meet them, we had to cross the Kurdish mountains to reach a secret location just a few kilometres away from the Iranian border.?
We discover there an experienced commando with two newcomers: 18-year-old Sadia and 25-year-old Nour, who are being trained in using weapons. Both are Iranian and are wanted by the authorities for having taken part in the protests following the death of Amini. Only one of them is Kurdish.?
>>?Lack of leadership is both a strength and weakness of Iran's protest movement
Weapons and a poem against the brutality of the regime?
As they wait to return to Iran to fight for their freedom, the women recite a poem for their country:?
"Against this killer state. This killer state scared by simple pens. This killer state that is taking the blood of its youth.?
Trying to keep us quiet so that our voices cannot be heard outside of Iran.?
But in the cold and the rain, under the rubble of guns and missiles, sun has arisen and so has hope.?
For that hope, for years, our people have given their blood.?
Freedom, independence, we will take you back from this occupied state."
Other exiled Iranians, who have not taken up arms, are resisting in silence in the hope that freedom will come to Iran. This is the case of some Iranian families, who left their country in a hurry and now live in makeshift accommodation in Iraqi Kurdistan.?
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe