By Rafiqah Abdullah
Content warning: descriptions of police and gendered violence
Jina Emini was your name. You were 22. Even though the government calls you Mahsa Amini. The same government that allowed your death for not dressing “properly”. Is the same government that doesn’t acknowledge your name. Your name is Jina. As your mum named you. Say her name. Call her name. Revealed from a tweet by Beri Shalmashi.
Jina is not the first. Nor the last. To be oppressed. To be killed. To be violated. This happens across the globe. In so-called Australia, 55-year-old Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day died in 2017 while in police custody. And 29-year-old Joyce Clarke (JC) is another Aboriginal woman killed by police for allegedly carrying a knife.
Across the pond in Canada-occupied Turtle Island. 26-year-old Indigenous woman, Chantel Moore of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations murdered by police in New Brunswick. Then there is Black and Indigenous 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet. Who fell to her death from her apartment in Toronto. After the police showed up.
While in the Land of the “free”. Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black EMT was shot in the sanctity of her own home “accidentally”. Or 27-year-old Navajo woman Loreal Tsingine. Who was handed a death sentence by the “law” for allegedly shoplifting.
Don’t forget 24-year-old Dinah Ali Lasloom who disappeared after being deported back to Saudi Arabia. Trying to escape the “guardianship” laws. Remember when 19-year-old royal Mishaal bint Fahd Al Saud and her lover were executed for adultery in 1977. While Israel tried to cover up the assassination of 51-year-old Palestinian reporter, Shireen Abu Akleh.
Remember the women and people murdered and assaulted by the Western military “saviours” in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Nor ignore the insidious Al Qaeda, Taliban, Boko Haram, Abu Sayyaf, and Al-Shabaab. Born from Western imperialism. Kept alive by the hegemonic flames of misogyny and violence blanketed by so-called religious piety.
The Iranian state lied that Jina passed away from alleged sudden heart failure. The truth was bloody clear. Your skull was fractured. You had hemorrhaging. Then a stroke. You were murdered. This is police brutality. They say your demise was unfortunate (allegedly). You are not alone. But this is your own experience too. Experiences of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of women.
It isn’t only the state that perpetuates this violence. It’s society. It’s family. It’s strangers.
Qandeel Baloch, a Pakistani woman murdered by her own blood. Her own brother. For dishonoring her family. The price for her own agency was death. Or Shafilea Iftikhar Ahmed by her own family because she strayed from traditional values. The same values the so-called immoral “morality” police have.
Over in Atlanta, Robert Aaron Long murdered 8 people in cold blood. Including 49-year-old Xiaojie Tan, 44-year-old Daoyou Feng, 51-year-old Hyun Jung Grant, 69-year-old Suncha Kim and 74-year-old Soon Chung Park. Due to repressed sexual desires due to religious dogma. 22-year-old Jyoti Singh from New Delhi paid with her life after being violated by six men. 26-year-old Filipina trans woman named Jennifer was drowned to death by 19-year-old Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton due to his own transphobia and sexual frustration.
What’s the point? Jina Emini wasn’t alone. But this is her story!!! When men in power assert their self-given power. Over women both trans and cis. Over people outside the binary. Over intersex. Over their fellow men who they perceive as weak. They violate the very definition of human rights. These men think they can intimidate us. Make us into another Jina Emini. Just another statistic to them.
When they take women’s and people’s rights over their autonomy in sexual reproduction. When they mutilate intersex babies. When they force conversion therapy. When they harass us for expressing ourselves. Oppress and kill us for being our own autonomous agents. When we reject the boxes they put us in. They lost their right to complain.
I’m Rafiqah Abdullah. My whole life I’m told what to do. Not wear a hijab. Not to wear makeup. Not be myself. Harassed by those who feel my uniqueness is a threat. Hit by a rock. Gaslighted by professionals and society. Harassed and molested during broad daylight. I stand with you, sister Jina. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.
You are not alone. But your story is yours. We, women and people outside the binary have different experiences and journeys. United by pain and blood. Even we may not all know it. We are one!!! United by our differences. United by our sorrows. United by our joys. United by hope for a better future. While being divided at the same time.
No one is free until we are all free!!! Iran isn’t Free!!!! Iraq isn’t Free!!!! Kurdistan isn’t Free!!!! Saudi Arabia isn’t Free!!!! East Turkistan isn’t Free!!!! Australia isn’t Free!!!! America isn’t Free!!!! Canada isn’t Free!!!! France isn’t Free!!!! Africa isn’t Free!!!! Asia isn’t Free!!!! The Americas isn’t Free!!!! Europe isn’t Free!!!! The Pacific isn’t Free!!!! Everywhere isn’t Free!!!!
We wish for our dignity to be respected. Free from fear and pain due to our differences. Free from harassment. Free from torture. Free enough to be safe. Free to express. Free to thrive.
Rafiqah Abdullah is an autistic Muslim Filipina trans woman who advocates for social justice and equity. Based in Tamaki Makarau here Aotearoa. She strives for rights for LGBTQIA, BIPOC, disabled and neurodiverse people especially those within the margins. Rafiqah believes that community is very important but also addresses individual needs as well. She believes that systems and institutions need to be reformed to create a better planet for everyone. And we need each other for a better future.