This project has been quite the journey; a big thank you to you for reading along, for sharing, as well as for reaching out, either in the comments or through my DMs, to offer loving encouragement and checking in on me.
Yes, it was difficult delving so deeply into these stories, because although ultimately, these women stood up for what they believed in, their lives were cut very short, and there is a lot of grief in losing shining stars like them. Every time I hear about an activist, anywhere in the world, being killed, I feel in awe of them but also sad that we, the rest of the world, have lost them.
The deluge of information has made some people wonder: How can I honor these women, not remembering all of their names and all the information?
Honestly, I don’t think that’s the most important thing to remember. I personally think that remembering them as “The Ten Women in Shiraz Who Were Executed by Hanging” is more than enough. The most powerful thing to remember, to me, is how far-reaching such a simple yet revolutionary act, of standing up for our beliefs in the face of powerful forces, can be. I can say with full confidence that none of these ten women would ever have guessed that to this day, they are remembered and that they still inspire others to arise to serve humanity.
One of the things that I write constantly about, both here and on my Instagram, is the importance of universal participation to the utmost of our capacity, however limited it is. I feel like the biggest challenge to universal participation is that we believe in the superhero trope, i.e. that only the superspecial people will be able to save us.
But what will save us are very regular, even boring, things, things that don’t get recognition as being special or powerful: getting to know our neighbors; saying hi and being polite to all service workers; starting or joining a Buy Nothing group; starting or joining a community garden; volunteering; helping others out with small things; and so many more. Doing a bunch of “boring” things is far less dramatic than what these ten women did. But it’s also exhausting and essential, and something we have forgotten the vital importance of.
To be fair, I can also see how ridiculous it sounds to say that, for example, climate change can be reversed through simple, daily acts – but that’s when universal participation enters the chat.
So what comes first, changing our habits or universal participation? In my experience, both come at the same time. We act individually and look for other link-minded people we can consult, reflect, and act with.
I am not here to compare who is better, the woman who got executed by hanging or the woman who does the daily work for over the 80 years of her life. That is not the point, and I will not tolerate any conversation in the comments in my DMs about this. But I am here to draw the line between the actions of these ten women, as well as the women currently in Iran standing up for justice and equality, to the actions of every woman around the world doing their own part, however small, to bring light into the world and making it a better place.
Honestly y’all, I don’t have that much capacity – and I am not humble-bragging, I sincerely mean this. But the one thing that I love to do and that I do well enough, writing, has been helping the world become better. I have lit my candle, and it is shining a little bit of light. I hope that, by sharing the stories of these ten women, I inspired you to do the same.