Highest Self Podcast 457: What Is Going On In Iran – Mahsa Amini, Patriarchy + Revolution


I never thought I would make this episode but here I am. My parents fled from the Islamic Revolution in Iran and it has created a great deal of trauma in my lineage. In this episode, I share the story of a beautiful country that was overtaken by tyrannical patriarchal dictatorship. I discuss why this moment is SO significant, especially as a woman, and why this is the time we need to be EMBODYING the divine feminine we preach about and showing up for our sisters being killed for basic human rights.

Please share this episode to raise awareness. We need as many international eyes on this as possible. Until all women are free, no woman is free.



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Episode #457: What Is Going On In Iran – Mahsa Amini, Patriarchy + Revolution

By Sahara Rose


[00:12] Sahara

Namaste, it’s Sahara Rose and welcome back to The Highest Self Podcast, a place where we discuss what makes You, Your Soul’s Highest Evolvement.


[00:20] Sahara

This is bit of a different Episode that I’ve done here on the Podcast, but one that is extremely important, especially at this time. And this is about my motherland, the country that both of my parents came from, escaped from, the country of Iran, that you are seeing right now all around the news because of the protests that have happened after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old girl who was beaten and killed due to showing a little bit of her hair, by the morality police of Iran.


[00:54] Sahara

And I know some people have been hearing about this in the news or maybe they don’t know the full context. And in this Episode, I wanted to share with you my lineage’s story, the story of why things are the way that they are today. And of course, the history of Iran and the Persian Empire is thousands of years old and very, very deep and intricate, and I can’t get to the bottom of it at all today, yet, I want to share my perspective because this story of the revolution has been a story that I have heard every single day of my life. It has been the story that has impacted every member of my family, it is the reason why my mom had to escape, the reason why my dad also had to escape and start all over in a new country, my grandparents, every person in my family, this story has created immense generational trauma. 

This story is also why I’m here and I was born in the United States, and I also know, in sharing this story, it puts me at risk of ever going back to Iran, and because of the momentum that we have right now in this protest, to me, it is worth it, it is worth never being able to go back, if me, sharing this Podcast and sharing this voice, can bring more awareness of the human right’s atrocities that are going on there right now. 


[02:11] Sahara

So, because I’m someone that you might know and trust, I wanted you to hear it from me, because maybe hearing it from the news or someone else, just isn’t really landing quite well with you. 


[02:21] Sahara

And again, there is so much more to this story that I won’t be able to get to and I want to make it as short and succinct as possible, and really speak into the way that it is related to the rise of the divine feminine and patriarchy, so, just know that there is a lot more to this conversation. There are many people coming out of Iran right now, risking their lives, also sharing, so, please, on social media, look up the #mahsaamini, which Facebook and Instagram is currently trying to block. #okiiran is also another good hashtag that you can look up; also going on TikTok, liking and commenting with different people who are, again, risking their lives, sharing the footage of the protests happening in Iran, and this is another really great way to support.


[03:02] Sahara

So, let’s start way back when, in Ancient Persia, which many of you guys have heard of. So, around the late 800s, the Persian people were forced-converted into Islam, and I think that this is important to note because Persian culture is different than Arabic culture. We have a different language, we speak Farsi, it’s a different actual ethnicity and a lot of people, kind of, lump up all of the Middle East and think everyone is an Arab, and it’s important to note that Iran and Persian people are not. And this is why there have been huge differences in the Middle East. 

So, when you read something like the Qur’an, it’s all written in Arabic, which is a language that Persian people actually do not understand. 


[03:46] Sahara

So, Persian people, before Islam, thousands of years were Zoroastrian. Zoroastrian, the tenants of it are “Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil”. So, if you’ve heard that phrase, those are the tenants of Zoroastrianism. And it is more of a polytheistic, spiritual tradition that honors the fire. And the holidays that we still celebrate today in Iran, such as The Norus, which is the Spring Equinox and our New Year, and the Fall Equinox and the longest night of the year, which are all related to different solstices and actual things in the calendar, based on astrology, these are all Zoroastrian traditions.

So, this is a very important piece to note that I think a lot of people aren’t speaking about, that being forced into wearing a hijab is not actually indigenous to our culture, but rather, we have been forced and converted. 


[04:39] Sahara

Again, now, Islam has been the religion of Iran for the past, over 1000 years, however, there has been, especially after the Islamic Revolution, which I’ll share more about, a huge renaissance of bringing back our Ancient Persian ways. So, the words that we used to use before we were forced to transition our words into Arabic, bringing back our old alphabet, bringing back our old customs, bringing back our old names. 

So, for example, in Farsi, in original Farsi, instead of saying ‘selam’ which comes from Arabic for ‘hello’, we would say ‘durud, durud barshama’, and instead of using, you know, different names that were, again, from the colonizers, we’re going back to Ancient Persian names. 

And I think that this just sets up important context because as we’re speaking about colonialism and the expects of colonialism around the world, colonialism had actually happened for thousands of years and Persian people have a different relationship with religion in general, because the religion that has been forced upon them is not the religion of our ancestors, Zoroastrian was. And Zoroastrian was really even a religion, but it was more of a spiritual path. 


[05:49] Sahara

So, I wanted to share that first. And even despite the forced conversions, religion had a lighter hold on Iran, it was never a very religious country at all. Some people wore head coverings for things, sometimes, not. Women used to actually braid their hair during the Qajar Dynasty in the 1800s. 

And zooming forward now into the 1950s, Iran had a chance at democracy with a man called Mossad Dib, however, this man was essentially taken out by the US government, because they didn’t want a strong hold country in the Middle East, because at that time the British and French Empires were dividing and conquering the Middle East and trying to make the region as weak as possible so they could have ownership, so they essentially took out Mossad Dib and instead they put in this western figure head named the shah, which is essentially the king, his last name is Pahrabi.


[06:47] Sahara

And now, things in Iran became forced to become westernized. So, now, you were no longer allowed to wear a head scarf and it was very allied with the United States, and there was a huge gap between the rich and poor. 

So, after several decades of this, around three decades of this, the people of Iran said “This isn’t fair, we want to have a country where there is more equality”, and this created a rise and a revolution, which is the Revolution of 1979. 


[07:20] Sahara

People were on the streets, like they are now, saying “We no longer want this government”. And in fact, at that time, they wore a black chador, which is like a black full hair and body covering robe as a symbol of unity with their religious sisters saying “You deserve the right to cover your body, if you want”. 

So, that was the movement that was happening then. And, at the same time, Iran was at a war with Iraq, a neighboring country that was ruled by Saddam Hussein, which is an extremely tyrannical dictator. And this war was extremely horrific, bombs were being dropped in Iran and over 1 million Iranian people were killed. So, because of this Revolution, and now a war going on at the same time, which is when my family fled, these clerics took over, they took hold of the weakness of Iran and the fact that there wasn’t a really strong oppositional leader, and they asserted themselves into power. However, they did not say that they were going to force people to follow Sharia Law, they said that “We are for equality, for the people. We’re going to spread the oil wealth”, and that’s what people wanted at the time. However, when they went into power, the did not do that at all. They were far worse than the Shah. They forced every single person to cover her hair, she had to wear a long jacket down to her knees, covering even her ankles, her feet, every single part of her body had to be covered in case it would turn on a man, as a form of protection. And not only were women forced to cover their bodies, music became outlawed, you could no longer listen to music if it was not religious Islamic music. Dancing was outlawed, playing games were outlawed, art was outlawed, any picture that actually had a person’s face on it – so, like, the Mona Lisa, was outlawed. Laying card games was outlawed, because these were all things they took. And they look at the Qur’an in this very, very literal way, saying “Well, technically, cards are related to gambling or a picture’s face…”, you know, there’s all these different stories around it, but it’s a very, very strict and regimented way of reading the Qur’an. And again, the problem is, they are forcing it upon people, not giving people a choice, but forcing it upon people. 

And this government became more tyrannical, they said “If you speak against us, we will kill you, we will torture you, we will take you to prison and do things to you that you will never see the light of day”, and who did they target? The young people.


[09:59] Sahara

So, gatherings became illegal, because if there were more than 8 people, that meant there could be a chance of any kind of protest. Men and women even talking, if you were not married, you were not allowed to be sitting, or talking, or walking, with someone of the opposite gender. So, Iran was completely oppressed, they changed the laws to make it so women are 1/3 of a man. 

So, let’s say your family passes on land to you, well, you technically are 1/3 of a man, so you can get 1/3 of what your brothers get. And they made it so women cannot get custody of their children, so if you were to get a divorce, your husband, even if he was abusive to you, got full custody. And they also made it, the laws again, in literal ways, if you didn’t give sex to your husband whenever he wants, then you technically aren’t serving your duties as a wife and he can divorce you or he can marry someone else. So, it was extremely barbaric and we went back 1500 years, and not even that, we had never been a country like this. 


[11:00] Sahara

So, they took over in such a harsh way that if you even spoke out against them, you were killed, your family was killed. They were so harsh that people, they would tap people’s phone calls, they have cameras all over the place, they’re watching what you’re doing. This is a true tyrannical government here! 

So, this has been going on for 43 years now, the Iranian people have been living under this. And the way that they’ve been fighting back has been to slowly push back what is possible.


[11:38] Sahara

So, there’s a beautiful book called “The Lipstick Revolution” and it shares about how, in Iran, lipstick, make-up, has been a form of revolution, because you’re not allowed to wear make-up in Iran, you’re not allowed to paint your nails. Before, if they would find women who were giving people manicures and after a woman would leave, if she had painted nails, they would make you stick your hand into these jars of spiders, so the spiders would bite your hands. They would even slash off people’s lips, who wore lipstick. 

So, this is extremely dark, but this is, like, the culture and the stories that I have grown up hearing. And people wonder “Why do you care so much about the divine feminine? Why do you care so much about moving past the patriarchy? Why do you care so much about twerking and being embodied?”, this is why, because I come from the most oppressed country on earth. And to me, me being liberated and free and express is the way that I fight back. 


[12:33] Sahara

So, the women of Iran have been so despite going to jail, despite being killed, despite being tortured, despite being shot at. They kept putting on their make-up, that was a form of political resistance, “You can’t kill all of us!” They kept pushing back the hijab little by little, by little, by little, that in the 80s you could barely show any hair, you were sent to jail, then by the 90s, you could show a little bit more, and then by the 2000s a little bit more, 2010s a little bit more, all because women kept pushing the boundaries – women! And because of this, those same politicians, before, who were slashing off people’s lips, eventually said “Well, what can we do?” and they started, even in their commercials, have women wearing lipstick, have women wearing nail polish. So, we have been progressing through resistance and resistance, and opposition and opposition, and fearlessness.


[13:25] Sahara

I remember the last time I went to Iran, I was just so scared, I didn’t want to go jail, and my cousins that I was with, they were like “No, you’re not wearing any make-up, you need to wear make-up, because if you’re not, they’re going to think you’re on their side”. 

So, expressing a woman’s beauty became an act of courage, speaking out is the ultimate act of courage. Sometimes these police people would come, these morality police, and women would say “No, I’m not coming with you, I’m like your daughter, would you take your daughter to jail for showing a little bit of her hair? No!” And they became braver and braver, and stronger and stronger. And then, finally, here we are today, in 2022, and Mahsa Amini’s death was the last straw on the camel’s back. She is our George Floyd, she is finally us saying “Enough! You will not kill our daughters, our sisters, our elderly, our youth, for something so trivial!” This is not Islam, it is haram to kill someone, let alone that at this point, the Iranian government has killed hundreds of people, hundreds of protestors, hundreds of young women in their early 20s just in the past 2 weeks, to prove that they did not kill Mahsa Amini. They’re claiming that she died of a heart attack and had nothing to do with them, yet, they are going into the protest right now with guns and shooting people. If you have nothing to hide, why are you trying to suppress any form of opposition?


[15:67] Sahara

So, for the first time, in these 43 years, we have international attention, this has never happened before and this is why so many of us are speaking about it,cand it can’t just be us Iranian people, it needs to be everyone, because for me sharing, I’m risking my life and my family’s life, for the people in Iran, they’re risking their lives for their right.


[15:29] Sahara

You know, our best soccer player, Ali Daei, he shared his opposition about the Islamic government, had to flee Iran to Dubai, and they’ve already ransacked his house, he can never go back, but that is the level of enoughness that we have collectively gotten to of like “I don’t give a shit what you do to me, I don’t even care if you kill me for this, but I cannot be abused by you any longer!” And this is why, right now, we have this momentum, we have the international community speaking about this. 

And just in the past two weeks since this has happened, so many more people are sharing. And slowly, and what needs to happen next, apparently this has happened in one city, the military and the police are coming on the people’s side, because if the whole world is looking at Iran, they can’t abuse their people anymore, they can’t just blaze over fundamental human rights, the whole world is watching. 


[16:25] Sahara

So, this is, right now, the most important thing that we can do is just share about this. It’s like, if there was a child in your neighborhood being abused and nobody talked about it, guess what, that horrific father is going to keep abusing the child. So, the first thing we need to do is look at it and say “Hey, I see what you’re doing here and this is not okay!” And this is why it’s so important right now to be talking about what’s going on in Iran because this is a women’s rights issue. If you care about the divine feminine, if you care about Shakthi, if you are about any of these things, this right here are women risking their lives, fighting to just be seen as equal. This is so much more than the hijab at this point, but this is about “I am worthy of the same basic rights that you are! I am worthy of being able to hold positions of power!”, which, right now, women are not even allowed in politics in Iran. “I am worthy of being able to walk down the street and not be afraid of being killed because of how you see me! If you’re sexualizing my hair so much, you are the one with the problem, not me!” 

So, instead, let’s train the men to not look at women in such a sexual and submissive and oppressive way that you’re afraid of what you will do to her if you see an ounce of her hair! Get a fucking life, bro! 


[17:45] Sahara

And the truth is, the men of Iran aren’t even like that, they don’t want to have this hijab, they don’t want to oppress women, but the government is forcing them to. Which brings me to the point that the government is using Islam as a way to hold over power. They’re not even really practicing it! Because the truth is, any religion will tell you that peace and love and unity are the most important virtues, no God would ever tell you to kill someone, ever! They are using Islam as a way of trying to make sense of their oppression, meanwhile, they are laundering money, hundreds of millions of dollars out of Iran and sending it to their families in Venezuela and Russia, and different countries, because they know their time is limited right now.


[18:35] Sahara

So, this is the patriarchy! And when I say patriarchy, I’m not blaming men, because there are a lot of beautiful men right now on the streets of Iran, hand-by-hand, and also being killed for this women’s issue as well. But this is even beyond that. 

The patriarchy hurts everyone, it hurts men, it hurts women, it hurts non-binary people. In Iran, by the way, it is extremely illegal to be gay, you are killed for that as well, it hurts everyone! 

The patriarchy is an oppressive system of separation and creating duality so the men can rule over who they believe is subservient, they actually believe that women are a subservient race that is here to serve men’s needs, that’s their actual belief of what they’ve brainwashed themselves, to help them make sense of why they can rule over 50% of the population. Meanwhile, the women of Iran are saying “We will not do this!” 


[19:30] Sahara

And I also want to share that the women of Iran right now are not just sitting at home in meek, Iran has the highest ratio of women at universities than anywhere in the world. 72% of the universities are actually filled by women! So, women are, despite all odds, despite all oppressions, still doing whatever they can to go to university so they can become an engineer or a lawyer, or something, we can’t go into politics at this point, but to be ready for this moment right now where there might be a revolution, so we are prepared! 

So, the women of Iran have been fighting this entire time and no one’s been paying attention, and finally they are, and they are fucking bad ass right now, they are taking their head scarves off and talking to those very morality police, which, by the way, many of these morality police are women who have been brainwashed, and they are saying “Don’t touch me! Would you force your child to cover her body and say that it is shameful? I am one of you! Remember me!” And they are helping awaken these police out of the misery that they have been swept into, because this government doesn’t give a shit about them, it’s using them! It’s using religion as a way of “One day, in the afterlife, you’re going to have everything that you need, but right now, you’ve got to do what I say!”, it’s using them! 

So, these women are getting on top of cop cars with their head scarves off and saying “Enough!” They’re talking back to the postar, which are the police there who are saying “I’m taking you to jail for not covering up your hair”, and they’re saying “I won’t go with you! You will not hit me! You will not take me!” 


[21:11] Sahara

And right now, we have power in numbers. Now that so many people are doing it, mind you, many are being shot, the police are going into crowds right now and just shooting into crowds, they are breaking into protestor’s homes, so it’s not an easy fight and it’s by no means the end of this fight, but despite that all, we have power in numbers!


[21:33] Sahara

So, this, right now, is the time for us to collectively share about it! Even if you have nothing to do with Iran, you’ve never met an Iranian person, besides me, or maybe you are Iranian and you’ve been afraid of sharing because your parents have said “Oh, be careful, the government might kill us”, we’re all putting our lives at risk right now, for sharing. And if we don’t share right now, in this moment when we have the momentum when change is possible, when we actually might be able to create a revolution and be able to create equal rights for men and women, and create a world where women are not killed simply for our sex, for being born as the wrong gender. 

If just us, sharing on social media, has an ounce of making that a possibility, let’s do so! Let’s do so! Because the time that women were suppressed, it wasn’t just the Witch Hunt hundreds of years ago, it wasn’t just in your past lives, it wasn’t just in your lineage, it’s right now, it’s still here. In many parts of the world, not just Iran, women are suppressed! And right now, we are looking at this specific situation as a way of telling the rest of the world the patriarchy needs to crumble, we will no longer subscribe by this way of being, we no longer see the men as the rules of the women and the women as shameful for simply being born with a vagina! We will not subscribe to this ideology! We will not let you use any organized religion to rule over us and force it upon people’s head and kill them if they do not follow, that is no organized religion, that’s some fucking bullshit! And we will speak out, and we will be the voices of those who are silenced right now. 

The people of Iran, the Iranian government, keeps shutting down the internet so they can massacre people and the rest of the world will not know! But it doesn’t matter because even if they shut down the internet, we will continue to be their voices! We will continue to speak out! They cannot silence this! They will not abuse that child in the house and we’re all going to look the other way and pretend that “Oh wow, we’re so lucky, we’re all feminists and women’s rights are just the thing of the past”, no! And if it’s hard for you to confront this issue, I invite you to really look at your relationship with your feminine, because often times in the spiritual space, I see this movement of “Oh, well, the feminist movement has been so harmful for women because it has kept them from their feminine motherly energy”, and while I see that perspective, you’re in a very, very small bubble. Because most of the world still does not have a feminist movement and most of the world, throughout the Middle East, throughout Africa, throughout South America, throughout Asia, in fact most of the world, in fact, still in the United States with the overturning of the Roe vs Wade, we’re not at a point that women are so equal that they’re forgotten to be nurturing, we’re at a point that women are still not given choices over how they’re going to dictate their own bodies – still in the US, still in Iran, still in Somalia, still in India, still in South Africa, still in Cambodia, still in Thailand, still in around the world. These issues are different, but the situation, the underlying situation is the exact same, that men think that they can control how women are going to cover or not cover, or have or not have, parts of their bodies, that’s the issue! The patriarchy is the issue! And if you think that this is a thing of the past, that we’re focusing on too much, you need to open your eyes, you need to look at the privilege that you are in right now to be in a place that you see so many empowered and working women that to you, the issue is just like “Women need to spend more time at home”, bless you, but most women in the world are still forced to be the servants of their husbands and the community, just travel.


[25:33] Sahara

So, until we really look at this, until we really look at whether it is the way that women are just being, Native American women are going missing and being sold into sex slavery and human trafficking on a daily basis in the reservations; the way that in Thailand people travel all around the world for the sex industry there; the way that in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa women’s clitorises are chopped off so they never experience sexual pleasure and their vaginas are so closed so they can never have sex until a man marries them; the way that there is still forced child marriage throughout the Middle East and South Asia; the way that, today, still, in China, if you are born a girl, you are no longer valuable and they just throw you away or hopefully even give you to an orphanage. This is real, this is still happening right now and if we don’t speak about this, if we don’t share about this, we’re not doing our parts as spiritual beings, it’s not a heaty experience of just doing meditation, it’s taking what you get from that meditation and bringing it to action into the world. 


[26:42] Sahara

So, I shared this, not because it’s fun for me to, this revolution in Iran has been the biggest cause of trauma in my entire life. All I have heard about, from the time I was born, is the way that every single member of my family had everything taken away from them, the way that it has created PTSD in my mother and made her afraid of just so many things, the way it has created anger in my father, the way that it has created despair over my grandfather who then passed away, the way that is has created so much trauma and abandonment in my grandmother, it has affected every single person in my lineage. It’s not a fun thing for me to speak about, I watch these videos and I’m hysterically crying. And I share this with you because I know, I’m alive because of that country, that is the country that my lineage comes from and I am the descendent of that, I am the descendent of the good and the bad, and it is my Dharma, my duty, my gift, to be able to be the voice for this potent cause of women’s rights, of human rights, that is happening right now at this time. 


[27:53] Sahara

And I am here to be a voice for all women, anywhere, for their right to choose to wear a hijab, to not wear a hijab, to have a child, to not have a child, to work in the sex industry, to not work in the sex industry, I’m all about allowing a woman to consciously choose. And this can only happen if, right now, we stand at the face of patriarchy that thinks they know what’s best for us, but really, what they want is to diminish us, to beat us to the ground so we are so weak that what we think we want is more control. We’re not playing by those rules! 


[28:27] Sahara

So, I hope this Episode allowed you to just feel a bit of the depth of the situation and to see your role as a feminine being or an ally of a feminine being, as a woman, as a non-binary person, as a man, as a human on planet Earth that cares, because we’re all connected, and until all women are free, no woman is free!

So, please, share this Episode if it spoke to you, share the protestors in Iran right now on social media, use the hashtag, share the post that you see. At this time Iran is under sanctions, we have been under sanctions for decades by the US, so this is why it is very hard to send money to Iran, because the US government does not allow us to send any money there. 


[29:15] Sahara

There are organizations that I have found, that are related to helping children, children with cancer, orphanages, etc., but right now I don’t know and I want to really research and once I have it, I will put it in the show notes, if there are organizations, we can send money to, to support women’s rights in Iran. 


[29:35] Sahara

So, you can take a look at the show notes and I will put the links that I can on there, but right now, it’s just raising awareness.


[29:42] Sahara

There’s also a petition that is happening right now by Amnesty International, to support human rights in Iran, so one very easy thing you can do right after this, is just to sign the petition. Of course, you can call your senator, and I will share some links on how you can do so, emails that you can send and ways that you can be involved and use your message and use your voice to, again, just create even the slightest push towards truth and unity and freedom. 


[30:10] Sahara

So, thank you so much for tuning in, this definitely was not an Episode I ever, in my life, thought that I would do, but here we are, and I just also want to say that I have a lot of hope.

You know, as hard and challenging as this is, of seeing this all come to play and reliving the trauma of my family, I have so much hope that this can be the time that we finally see freedom there. And I hope and pray that this will also trickle into freedom for women throughout the Middle East; in Afghanistan where the Taliban has taken over again; in the countries where Isis has taken over; and the countries that are being bombed and killed right now, and in all of the places that women are suppressed, but also throughout Africa where there is still, like I mentioned, female, genital, mutilation; throughout Asia where girls are discarded for their gender; where sex trafficking is rampant; throughout the world!


[31:05] Sahara

I did an Episode not too long ago, in June, when Row vs Wade was overthrown, and that same anger that we felt then, it’s still here and that anger is sacred, that anger is ancient and it’s also a blessing and a gift to even be in a space to be safe enough to feel anger, because when you are being so abused, you can’t even feel anger, it’s not even safe for you to express it. However, if you can come to a space of safety to feel how you feel, that’s when the anger has space to arise. So, if you feel angry right now, based off of all of the oppression and domination and abuse and abandonment of the feminine, that is beautiful, because you are helping heal the anger that has been throughout your lineage and through many generations of female oppression.


[31:57] Sahara

So, work with that anger, don’t shame yourself for it, work with it and channel it into change!


[32:04] Sahara

So, again, thank you so much for tuning in. If this Episode resonated with you, if this feels like a message that you would love to share to your community, please share this Podcast. And again, I will have the different links to support below. 


[32:14] Sahara

Thank you so much for tuning in and I’ll see you in the next one. Namaste!                    


Episode #457: What Is Going On In Iran – Mahsa Amini, Patriarchy + Revolution

       By Sahara Rose


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