Dear Iranian girls, the courage you have I have never had to muster, so I do not even know if I possess it. Although I am no longer a teenager, the truth is that, having never had to fight for freedom by risking my life, I have little to teach you. On the contrary, I am learning from you.
Watching you take to the streets with your hair free, cut, loose, demanding the future you deserve and that every woman deserves, you have shown me by example, by physical presence under the endless sky and at gunpoint, that freedom is the irreplaceable root of life. Without it, we are only seemingly alive. Without it, we suffocate.
I would like to write my admiration and tell you that your cause is ours, that you are not alone. Even here, in this privileged corner of the world where I was born and grew up by sheer luck, here where - thanks to the women who fought before us - we are all free to study, to dress as we like, to work and to marry those we love, the reality is not as simple as it appears.
In Italy, almost every day a woman is killed because she tried to rebel against a violent partner who considered her his property. Every day women are victims of prejudice and discrimination, we are constantly discouraged from pursuing our independence, our careers, from exercising our happiness to sacrifice it to that of our children and husbands.
We are educated to be liked and be desired, much less to cultivate desires of our own, to speak loudly with our own voice, to disobey and take a large, social space outside the perimeter of our homes.
Everywhere in the world, to varying degrees, women are penalized, marginalized, silenced, raped, and killed for the mere fact of being women. Everywhere in the world, to varying degrees, we are denied the right to an identity. We are asked to belong. To submit. To obey. However, we are not things, we are people. Our bodies are no one’s terrain of conquest and judgement. They serve only us so may run, love, shout, travel, and know. To build our lives through free choices.
Your courage is a universal warning; in fact, the highest call to the future. A future, after millennia, that is finally just, that sees us not only as daughters, or mothers, or wives, but also, always and above all, as the expression of our desires, our dreams, our voice. A future in which we will be friends, because sisterhood is the only way to overturn a world that has offended and cornered us since the beginning of time.
Your battle is the battle for all - and of anyone who realizes that this scandalous situation cannot continue. Ride the rush of youth, the strength of an ideal without which life cannot be said to be.
Be protagonists, in the first person, of an unprecedented History.
With you, a new humanity is born. And I am grateful to you.
by SILVIA AVALLONE