This week marks the 22nd anniversary of the brave 1999 student uprising in Iran.
I was 15 at the time & living in Iran.
I lied to my parents about where I was going one day, and took a cab to the University of Tehran, the epicenter of the protests.
I listened & watched in awe for 30 minutes. Chants of “Down with Dictator” echoed in the hot summer air.
I remember many “backs” — people’s backs — as I wiggled my small body through them to get closer to the University’s gates.
Then, someone screamed “run!” & all the backs suddnely became fronts, as everyone ahead of me turned & started running past me.
The regime’s guards had started attacking protesters & were closing in. I smelled tear gas.
I turned around & started running as fast as I could too. A few blocks down, I saw column upon column of riot police in full gear, marching towards the University.
I caught a glimpse of one of their faces — a kid not older than 22-23; in another world, he could have been a university student too.
A few more blocks down I took a cab & went home. I ate lunch with my mom in the kitchen & went to my room for an afternoon “nap” - as I stared at the ceiling, in shock from the surreal scenes I had just seen.
May freedom ring in Iran & every corner of our world, one day very soon ✊🏼♥️
In the picture below, a university student is holding up the bloody shirt of a fellow student beaten & detained by the police. Countless students were jailed and murdered in the uprising. The student in the picture was jailed too for years; he fled Iran in 2008.