The Facebook page “My Stealthy Freedom” is another sign of social media’s power. Journalist Masih Alinejad posted a photo of herself at the beginning of May – and virtually started a mass movement
Masih Alinejad is behind the wheel of her car, driving through an Iranian city. And she’s not wearing a hijab, the veil women have to wear in Iran. More than 375,000 people have liked Alinejad’s Facebook page “Azadiye jawaschaki” (Stealthy Freedom) and more than 100 Iranian women have sent in photos that show them in public without the hijab.
It’s their protest against the mandatory veiling, and they want the entire world to see it.
“The page is a place for Iranian women to show the world how they really are,” Masih Alinejad told DW.
The women, whose names are not revealed, share their moment of stealthy freedom in short texts.
There’s a picture of a young woman without a hijab in the mountains.
“Mountains never hide themselves under covers,” she writes in a message to Alinejad, “so when I go mountain climbing, I do not hide myself under covers either.”
In another photo a woman is seen in a desert. She writes: “I have been waiting for such a movement to start and I hope some time soon these freedoms will not be stealth any more.”
One young Iranian who sent her picture to “My Stealthy Freedom”
But is it still stealthy freedom if the whole world can see?
If publishing photos, which were taken in secret, on a Facebook page seems paradoxical to you, it reflects the situation in Iran. Many women have turned their homes into safe houses where they can move freely, but public spaces are a whole other story.
“With social media, Iranians can break open the barrier between private and public life,” Alinejad says.
The country’s strong moral laws are very much alive. That became clear again only recently, when six Tehran residents were arrested, because they had published a video of themselves dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy.” And they were not wearing hijabs. They were later released on bail.
“The day after her release, one of the arrested women posted a picture of herself online – without a hijab,” says Alinejad.