Not One More Execution, Solidarity with Refugees

May 9, 2010: Event Report: Protest for Jamal Saberi & the 5 Executed at Japanese Embassy in Washington DC

The news of this morning’s executions in Iran delivered a heavy blow to the heart that made my body lethargic and unwilling to move very quickly. For a while there I didn’t feel like shouting into the wind on Embassy Row.

But today’s protest for Jamal presented a good opportunity to focus both on what would become Jamal’s fate if he were returned to Iran, and also to condemn the executions of our four brothers and sister in Iran this morning. So despite my inertia, I moved myself down to the Japanese Embassy on a sunny but very windy and chilly day.

We had arranged for banners against torture and execution to be made for our January 24 protest against executions that had in the interim disappeared into some irresponsible person’s garage. One of our dear friends made a last-minute valiant effort to retrieve those signs for today’s demonstration, and although he was forced to go out of his way to pick up the banners fom the person who had kept them, with just an hour to spare before the protest was supposed to start, he was in fact finally able to get our banners back and into our hands; we put them up at today’s protest.

We dedicated the day and the protests to Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heidarian, Farhad Vakili, Shirin Alam Hooli and Mehdi Eslamian. We read their names loudly to honor them. We read their names to the community so they could know them too. We read their names to the Japanese Embassy, as a reminder of the true nature of the regime they were supporting, a nature that the Japanese government itself has taken on.

We also read excerpts from the Japanese Constitution, kindly provided by a local community member. We tried to see how the Constitution guided the Japanese government’s behavior, but could not see any similarity at all. And we criticized Japan for that very loudly:

We recognize that all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want. We believe that no nation is responsible to itself alone, but that laws of political morality are universal; and that obedience to such laws is incumbent upon all nations who would sustain their own sovereignty and justify their sovereign relationship with other nations. We, the Japanese people, pledge our national honor to accomplish these high ideals and purposes with all our resources.

Article 22:
Every person shall have freedom to choose and change his residence and to choose his occupation to the extent that it does not interfere with the public welfare. Freedom of all persons to move to a foreign country and to divest themselves of their nationality shall be inviolate.

We also shouted several rounds of chants. It felt good, at that point, to shout.

The rest of this report will consist of photos of the demonstration. You can see that represented in our demonstration are Iranians and non-Iranians, greens, reds, and neither. We come together in our unity against the bloodthirsty vampire known as the Islamic regime. Like any vampire, this regime is already dead. All that remains is for the final stake to be driven home, for the bright light of day to do its incinerating work.

The Japanese government takes better care of its precious cherry trees than it does of the precious people who seek asylum in that country.

~Maria Rohaly


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