Recently, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri’s son said of Iran, “I don’t care if it’s a democracy, a monarchy, or Islamic, as long as it’s free.” This echoes the desire for freedom seen in the Green movement in Iran. The recent letters by 31 Iranian intellectuals stressed that, “God’s business is God’s business,” and the separation of church and state, which is a fundamental principle of my own country.
We’re here to stand for free speech, press, religion, and peaceful assembly in Iran.
I am an American. My family is Irish. I’m Catholic. For the last six months I have been inspired and in awe of my fellow students in Iran. By protesting first the fraudulent election in June and then the brutal aftermath, they knowingly face arrest, torture, even execution. If they’re lucky, their academic careers are over. If they leave Iran, even under good circumstances, they must choose between standing up for what is right and protecting family at home. I continually see my fellow students, my sisters and brothers, defy unjust laws, indoctrination, systematic oppression of women, unwarranted arrests, and stereotypes their own government and mine have forced upon them. I am an American, and I am Majid, I am Neda, I am Green, and I hope, if called upon, I can be as brave as my sisters and brothers in Iran. For now, I stand in solidarity with the students who fight for the rights I have known since birth.
An article published in “Nature” on July 2, only a few weeks after the election, stresses that the importance of students and young people in this movement was already recognized.
“It is above all a broad civil-rights movement that extends far beyond the ‘Twittering’ classes. It is led by young people-70% of Iranians are under 30-who are not ideologically motivated, but instead are hungry for the greater freedoms that were one of the main, but unrealized, goals of the 1979 Iranian revolution.”
Not on behalf of, but in solidarity with, the Iranian students, I encourage my fellow students worldwide to follow the brave example and speak out against oppression. The technology available today allows us to connect across oceans-the Green movement has allowed us to connect across cultures.
To the media, world leaders, and the United Nations: this is a demand to stop focusing on the pseudo-events, nuclear power, propagated by the regime to distract from its heinous abuses. Use your voices and vast resources to shed a critical light on the Iranian regime’s brutal human rights violations.
It is said often, and I will say it again: “We will protest until they no longer have to.”
January 24 2010
Washington DC USA