Every signature can make a difference
By: Shiva Mahbobi
As human beings, we often like to see the result of our endeavors immediately. This result is an indication of how well, or not so well, we have achieved our objectives. A positive result motivates us to continue working on our goals. The question is how would one measures success when it comes to human rights activities in which measuring accomplishments are complicated on a daily basis? Fighting for human rights has been a continuous part of human history but the struggle for human rights is often not a straight forward path, and most of the time, it may not even portray an immediate result.
In Iran, people have been fighting for freedom for more than three decades. Despite imprisonment, torture and executions that have been committed by the government in Iran, thousands of people have not given up their struggle for a free and equal living condition. Successful results of such activities were more visible when they managed to draw the attention of people around the world and encouraged different countries to show international solidarity. The uprising in 2009 after the so-called Ahmadinejad’s election did not bring down the regime in Iran but managed to draw the attention of millions of people around the world.
During all these years, people in in different countries often ask if their support, petition signing and participation in demonstrations can help to bring changes in Iran. My answer has always been, yes, even one signature can make a difference. I usually respond by explaining that you might only see your own signature on the CFPPI petition, but if we put together all the signatures and support letters and add them to demonstrations, meetings and seminars, then you will see a large and influential picture of the solidarity. This is a picture that represents the success of a campaign. An international solidarity is translated through a petition which consists of the signatures of all of us no matter where we are. Together, we can make a difference because humanity has no borders.
The supports and international solidarity we have received in the past have enabled us to force the government in Iran to retreat and overturn the execution sentences of several political prisoners including Hamid Ghassemi-Shall, an Iranian-Canadian who was released recently, and Zeynab Jalalian whose case is also included in this issue of our quarterly newsletter My Voice. The international solidarity with people in Iran has so far been decisive in forcing the regime in Iran to delay or withdraw execution sentences and stoning sentence such as Sakineh Ashtiani.
We hear and read about the imprisonment, torture and execution of people in Iran and because of that, sometimes it might seem difficult to pinpoint the result of the support we received but it is there and has been effective. The fact that CFPPI is continuously receives phone calls, news and letters directly from prisoners in Iran proves that the support has been effective and reached inside the borders of Iran. We publish the news on our Facebook and twitter and this enables the messages from prisoners reach far beyond the borders of Iran and attract a wide range of international support. The fact that the prisoners dare to send a letter from prison is the indication of the result of successful three decades of fighting against oppression in Iran. This is the result of attracting an international solidarity.
Every news on the abuse of human rights in Iran that we all read and share on our Facebook, twitter, blog, newspaper, books and etc., every petition we sign, every protest and gathering we attend, every protest letter we write to different governments makes a big difference. All these activities strengthen and keep alive the momentum of the fight for freedom in Iran. They extend the support for people’s struggle in Iran and make us one step closer to victory.
So when you see a petition in support of political prisoners in Iran and against their execution, please do not walk away, sign it and extend your support. Remember, every support can make a difference.
The above article was published in My Voice Dec 1st 2013
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