Sheinkopf Speaks: NYC progressives voiceless on Iran Morality Police

Iran protest
FILE – A woman holds a placard with a picture of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini during a protest against her death, in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. As anti-government protests roil cities and towns in Iran for a fourth week, sparked by the death of a 22-year-old woman detained by Iran’s morality police, tens of thousands of Iranians living abroad have marched on the streets of Europe, North America and beyond in support of what many believe to be a watershed moment for their home country. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)
Hank Sheinkopf

It was the most astounding event.

City streets clogged. Traffic—well we always have traffic. Not even a taxi cab driver honking. The progressives were on the march taking up protest in the memory of a woman who’d been murdered by government agents. 

Mahsa Amini, it is reported, was beaten into a coma by Iran Morality Police. The 22-year old Kurdish woman’s crime? Wearing an improper headscarf, known as a hijab.

Here in New York City the protesting progressives demanded action. They railed against the Iran government, and its oppression of minorities including the Kurds. They yelled for an immediate end to the hanging of gay people in public, and for a stop  to the  oppression of women in the majority Shia Muslim dictatorship. 

The protestors handed out flyers citing the Iran theocratic rulers well-documented world-wide exporting of terrorism, and their support for the outlaw Assad regime in Syria which has used chemical weapons against its own citizens.

It was a moment of which we could be proud. So proud.

But it never happened. 

The progressives were too busy to even think about the thousands of women in the streets of Teheran. They were burning hijabs and demanding justice for Mahsa Amini. And some of those brave women facing their armed oppressors are likely to be killed, or tortured or beaten into comas.

You would think New York City self-described progressives might find their moment of fire burning their guts with anger,  over the death of a woman who deserved to live. But it never happened.

There were no protests. There wasn’t even a moment of silence for Mahsa Amini in the City Council. No proclamations. No official letter of protest. No memorial service. 

There was nothing. Mahsa Amini won’t be remembered by the progressives. 

FILE – In this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, protesters chant slogans during a protest over the death of a woman who was detained by the morality police, in downtown Tehran, Iran, Sept. 21, 2022. (AP Photo, File)

They will tell you that Iran is so far away and after all there is so much to be done here. 

They will tell you that they are—most of them with their fancy educations, and uncalloused hands, and the toughest days in their lives were the days on which their grandparents were born—fighting for things that truly matter.

What are those things that truly matter? Do those important things that truly matter include actions to improve an educational system losing students? Do the things that truly matter involve having enough cops out there working, and  putting themselves in harm’s way so that guns can be take off our streets? Does this list of things that truly matter include actions that protect union jobs, that make sure civil servants won’t pay for the political mess that put this city in a $10 billion abyss?

The list could go on a few pages longer.

Politics is often about symbols, symbols that connect us to values, and the acting out of those values.

That’s why it would have been important to memorialize Mahsa Amini, a woman, a minority member, murdered by fascists. Real progressives would have had those protests. They would have ranted and raved about the murder of a 22 year old.

Imagine if the progressives had said anything about this at all.