Iran solidarity gathering at Page Not Found in The Hague

The bookshop and art space Page Not Found in The Hague held an active Iran Solidarity Gathering on October 8th in the city. Feminist battles are presently fought in Iran: people are on the streets, resisting the strict regime and police brutality, risking their lives fighting for human rights. Demonstrations in Iran and transnationally are demanding the revision of laws and the discarding the unhuman practice of its execution as well as the enforcement of sanctions for murders committed by the police. The program at PNF included talks and screenings of works by Iranian artists with the utmost respect to all the women of Iran as well as supporters worldwide who fiercely stand up against the increasing crackdown on women and freedom of expression by the Islamic regime. 

Sediment, a docu-fiction film by the artists Vida Kasaei and Amir Komelizadeh, opened a critical gaze on both Iranian and Dutch society, exposing patriarchy as well as theocracy and capitalism, the ideologies that are suppressing women and exploiting humanity. The value of freedom in Dutch culture, which intertwines personal existence and the economic system, presumes that both an individual and a group of people can express what they want and achieve it in an environment of security. 

Katayoon Barzegar talked about the current situation in Iran. She explained the protests broke across Iran on 16th September following the death of 22 year-old woman Mahsa Amini, who was beaten by the police who accused her of not wearing her hijab properly.  Since then more than 200 people; calm protesters, bystanders, students, and children, have been killed by the police. Many are arrested, including numerous artists whose audio and visual works shared the drive to liberate people from oppression. She finished with a short introduction of women’s fighting against compulsory hijab, after the Islamic revolution.

Newsha Tavakolian’s audio-visual collection Listen echoes the voices of silenced women: the work focuses on women singers who are forbidden to sing solo or produce their autonomous CDs, due to Islamic regulations. For Newsha, a women’s voice represents a power that once silenced, imbalances society and makes everything deform. 

Atefeh Alaeddin presented a broad collection of artistic content produced in this short urgent time by Iranians inside and outside Iran that speaks on the force and determination of the Iranian people to fight for autonomy. Since there is poor media coverage, the main source of information is Instagram, where people are sharing news and expressing disagreement with the dictatorship led by fundamentalism – as much as they manage to bypass network restrictions by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Katayoon Barzegar drew attention to a Snowflake extension that anyone can install on their browser in a minute to help users in restricted areas bypass restrictions on the internet.* She added that there are other ways to help and support the anti-government protest in Iran: sharing and re-posting fact-based information on social media to be the voice of the Iranian people, attending demonstrations, writing to the member of Parliament and journalists asking them to support. 

She also said: ‘What brings us together in this uprising, is transnational solidarity, especially with women around the globe.’   Elena Apostolovski,   9th October 2022

Still from Sediment (2019) by VidAmir

More information on Page Not Found can be found here

Install the snowflake extension to help users in restricted areas surpass restrictions on the internet.