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Community gathers in solidarity with Iranians through “Lay me down” performance

On Saturday, October. 22, Queen’s students and local community members gathered at Confederation Park for a thought-provoking art performance to show solidarity with Iranian people amid anti government protests in Iran. The protests were sparked after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death while in police custody for not covering her head correctly. 

In Iran, women are legally required to cover their heads with a covering commonly known as ‘hijab,’ showing no hair outside that head covering. Soon after the incident of Amini’s death, people worldwide started to show solidarity through protests against the extreme policing of the government over women’s clothing and freedom. 

According to the US-based human rights organization Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), over 224 people have been killed in Iran’s antigovernment protests, including 29 minors. 

Credit: mohsen_zafari

The event (Lay Down Bloody) in Kingston, organized by Iranian Queen’s students and some other Iranian volunteers in Kingston, was an art performance in solidarity with the people of Iran. Performers wore white t-shirts that were stained with blood paint. Each performer was assigned a board sign with a victim’s name, picture, and a brief description of how and why they were murdered during antigovernment protests by the Islamic regime in Iran. 

“Iranian people are on the streets of Iran, unarmed, fighting with a government that has been breaching basic human rights for more than four decades. Women, Men, Children, and religious and sexual minorities are being killed for demanding their minimum rights. The government of Iran has survived on western governments support, despite Iranian people’s opposition,” said GKM.

Credit: mohsen_zafari

GKM also elaborated that ‘Lay Down Bloody’ was not to ask for help from the world “but to demand the world’s decision-makers to stop helping the Iranian regime.” 

An indigenous graduate student at Queen’s cut her hair in solidarity with the women of Iran fighting for their freedom during the event. Mayor Bryan Peterson and councillor Ryan Boehme also talked at the end of the performance to show their support to the Iranian community in Kingston fighting for “Women, Life, Freedom.” 

“The solidarity expressed by the indigenous woman who cut her precious her showed us that discrimination should be condemned everywhere in the world, whether in Canada or Iran. We are all human beings, and the right to have freedom of choice belongs to all of us,” said G.

Another supporter, FM*, shared that Iranian women don’t need anyone to save them, but they need people to stop protecting their murderers. 

*Editor’s Note: Names have been redacted for privacy reasons.

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