WASHINGTON, DC, November 9, 2022 – The woman referred to as the “Iranian Regime’s Most Wanted Woman,” seen by many as the leader of the recent protests against the country’s dictatorship, Masih Alinejad, received the 2022 Oxi Courage Award alongside Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on October 27 in Washington, DC at the US Institute of Peace.
To see video of the power introduction of Alinejad and her acceptance remarks that brought the sold out crowd to their feet, click here.
In her introduction of Alinejad, Danialle Karmanos said:
“Ask Masih about her courage and instead she speaks about other women who are making bold statements and sharing their stories…From celebrities cutting locks of hair to the women in Iran daring to feel the indescribable rush of purpose and possibility. Masih is creating the space for courageous hope.
While Masih gives voice to the women and girls of Iran, the regime threatens her life and smears her reputation. They believe fear equals silence and that their power is unstoppable.”
“In May of 1941, thousands of Nazis descended on the Greek island Crete, with most men away at war, they expected an easy victory. They were wrong. Underestimated at first, the women of Crete fought ferociously. They showed the Nazis the power of Oxi.
Masih’s campaign is empowering the women of Iran to alter the balance of fear in their country. Rather than run away, they link arms, stand strong…Now teenage girls are taking to the streets in protest…An army of motivated teenage girls…There’s probably not a more unstoppable force in the world.”
“The women of Crete should have been decimated by the invading Nazis they repelled. Rather than accept impossible at face value, they banded together and acted as one…Iran’s oppressive regime and the infrastructure that supports it is entrenched. And yet, tonight, all across Iran, women prepare for the seventh consecutive week of protests…The morality police, and their onslaught of injury and death against non-violent protestors, are met only with the spirit of Oxi, sung louder and louder as one chorus.
The only antidote to the regime’s fear is Masih’s silence, which doesn’t frighten her at all. She’s out for theirs too.”
Alinejad, in her acceptance remarks, turned the spotlight on young girls murdered by the Iranian regime and said:
“The word oxi, is the most beautiful word for Iranians…I say OXI to the gender apartheid regime. NO to Khamenei and his gang of killers.
Today, I am here…for the whole world to recognize and understand these brave women in Iran, and to repeat their voices to say NO to forced hijab and NO to the gender apartheid regime.
This is the moment that we, the people of Iran and Ukraine, must be united, because we are not fighting for ourselves. We are fighting for the whole world.
Women inside Iran are risking their lives to tell the democratic countries that if we do not get united to end the terrorist like Putin and Khamenei, they will get united and they will end democracy. So this is the time, for all of us here in the West, to say NO to normalizing Putin and Khamenei. This is the moment that our unity against the united dictators, must be stronger than ever.”
Previous recipients of the Oxi Courage Award have included: