In September 2022, nationwide protests erupted in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s “morality police.” These protests marked a significant moment as, for the first time since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, schoolgirls also joined in the demonstrations that intensified after Amini’s tragic death. The response from security forces to these protests has been a deadly crackdown, presenting one of the most formidable challenges to Iran since the 1979 revolution that ended centuries of monarchy. As of recent reports, more than 500 people, including over 70 minors, have been killed, and around 20,000 individuals have been arrested.
The Iranian government has imposed strict restrictions on independent media since the nationwide protests began, making it difficult to fully understand the nature and extent of the incidents. With the government blocking internet access, people struggle to organize and share information about the protests. Social media has become a crucial outlet for disseminating information and images from within the country.
In response to these events, the WARM Foundation is organizing an exhibition titled “Be Our Voice,” featuring over 150 shocking images of Iran’s protests, carefully gathered and verified by its members. The exhibition also includes posters from the protests, complemented by an essay from a prominent Iranian author, providing a broader historical and geopolitical context to the uprising.
The exhibition took place at Sarajevo’s Manifesto gallery during the WARM Festival 2023, held in Sarajevo from July 10 to 15. Prior to the exhibition, a theatrical performance directed by Ajla Besic was held in collaboration with partners. Bosnian activists lent their voices to their Iranian sisters by reading testimonies collected by WARM members in Iran, presented through performances and video links.
The message “Please be our voice” often accompanies the images of the bloody protests that Iranians are trying to share with the outside world, underscoring the urgency and importance of raising awareness about the situation in Iran.