Nothing is more central to Iranian culture than our poetry and the way we tell our stories to each other. We weave stories into carpets, recite poems at dinner, and tell fortunes from Hafez. We blog, write, and whisper to each other. Our music is rich and layered, marrying 700 year old poetry to modern music. Our history is one of many voices, styles, and ideas in conversation with each other over the centuries.
Sahar Khodayari became known as the blue girl for painting her face blue to support her favorite Iranian football team. When she was told she may face a prison sentence from six months to two years for daring to attend a soccer game, she set herself on fire.
The situation of religious, ethnic and gender minorities in Iran has been worsening in recent months. It appears that the regime intends to severely punish dissenting voices. This comes as the Islamic Republic weakens inside the country and external pressure increases.
We urge all activists and organizations with a focus on Iran to take the time to understand the impact of the US political posturing and the Iranian government’s response on the actual people inside of the county and from the perspective of Iran’s history and current climate. Our era is one that requires great strength in resisting authoritarian ideas that come couched in the language of freedom, security, and democracy. This is a time to hold firm to the values of human rights without forgetting the people who are caught up in a political conflict that they cannot control.