The scary crackdown on those aiding America and fighting for democracy in Iran here gave me a stomachache this morning but hope springs eternal. I received this from a coalition of students at Harvard (and across the country). They are leading a new drive to support the Iranian student movement for reform.
They alerted me to a much needed grassroots initiative that believes Americans have an obligation to speak out in solidarity with Iranian students facing all sorts of repression - and to insist that world leaders address the human side of the rapidly escalating crisis with Iran.
They are holding a freedom
concert this Saturday, March 18, at Harvard to kick off our campaign. Please pass this along, let everyone know.
VOA will broadcast the event into Iran for indigenous student leaders to see that they are not alone in their struggle for freedom in Iran.
Harvard Students Hold "Iran Freedom Concert" in Solidarity with Iranian Student Movement for Democracy and Civil Rights
CAMBRIDGE – On Saturday, March 18, Harvard University will host the Iran Freedom Concert, a rally organized by Harvard students to support their counterparts in Iran. Prominent Iranian student leader Akbar Atri and Harvard's Undergraduate Council president John Haddock will address the crowd.
"Iranian students are denied basic rights Americans take advantage of every day. But there is a brave student movement in Iran working for change, and we need to support them." Widespread student protests in Iran have broken out in recent years, despite a brutal crackdown by the regime's security forces.
"Iranian students are arrested for what they write on their blogs and have to take their exams in handcuffs," noted freshman co-organizer Nick Manske. "In fact, the essential elements of this concert are illegal in Iran: live singing, mixed dancing, and discussing social messages. Not to mention the restrictions on women, minorities, and journalists."
I hope this is the beginning of movement of American youth that takes a proactive, leadership role in the shaping of human events across the globe. Every generation must fight for their freedom and with the world becoming increasingly small, the fight for freedom is global.
"The coalition doesn't take a stand on policy debates like foreign intervention," explained freshman co-organizer Alex McLeese. "But we agree that the fundamental rights of Iranians cannot be held hostage to diplomatic maneuverings over Iran's nuclear program."
If they really believe in fundamental individual rights, they will come to realize that sometimes you have to make the hard choices for foreign intervention.
Above illustration: The Iranian student activist above is Ahmad Batebi who was imprisoned for having this photo taken in a 1997 protest. He is now in hiding.
That message is being echoed on campuses across the country, with simultaneous rallies planned at Georgetown, UPenn, Duke, and other schools. Prominent Iranian dissidents, as well as the American Islamic Congress, are sending statements of support.
"This is a critical moment for Iran," Scheuer said. "Iranian activists need to know that American students are ready to help them hold the Iranian regime accountable. We want to help our counterparts in Iran seize the moment and advance their civil rights movement." see IranFreedomConcert or call 617.661.0053.