“This is a is a book dedicated to the research for freedom…” – Rossana Conte

Rossana Conte MEP reading
©All Rights reserved

I’m reading the book The Wind in my Hair written by Masih Alinejad, Iranian journalist and writer, civil rights activist and critical voice against the ayatollahs’ regime. It is a very strong, intense, autobiographical book, in which the author, who fled Iran in 2009 for New York, where she still lives, tells of the vicissitudes she went through after being born in 1976 in a conservative family, in a village in Mazandaran, a province in northern Iran. Today she is one of the most representative figures of dissent towards the ayatollahs’ regime.

Masih Alinejad was the initiator of the My Stealthy Freedom campaign, launched in 2014 on Facebook to publish the images of Iranian women who dared and still dare to take pictures of themselves without the headscarf, a transgression that many have paid with prison. She rebelled to the obligation to wear the headscarf by defying the ayatollahs, joining an underground reading club and engaging politically enough to end up even in prison and knowing the violence of repression. In May 2017, Masih planned a new protest against the veil, called White Wednesdays with which she encouraged Iranian women to remove the veil, strictly white, every Wednesday in protest. The police did not allow the protests and many girls were arrested.

Today, many women are still in Iranian prisons just because of those peaceful protests. And in prison has then ended their lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, sentenced in 2019 to 33 years in jail and 148 lashes for defending those who had demonstrated against the headscarf’s obligation. I have dealt with the story of Nasrin Sotoudeh as MEP and I am still following it, with the hope that the appeals made at the international level can help to give her back her freedom. Wind in her hair is a book dedicated to the research for freedom, which brings attention to the “Iranian question” and the situation in which not only women, but also those who have had and still have the courage to protest against the regime find themselves today, especially journalists, many of whom have managed to escape to the United States and are allegedly subjected to pressure from regime officials, according to their own complaints.