Nowruz Greetings Can Bring Hope to Prisoners in Iran and Their Families
By Elise Auerbach, Iran Country Specialist, AIUSA
You can make a real difference in people’s lives to celebrate the coming of spring! This is the ninth year that Amnesty International USA has been asking activists to send messages of solidarity and support to prisoners of conscience and political prisoners in Iran and their families at Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, which marks the beginning of spring. Over the years, caring people around the world have sent literally thousands of Nowruz greetings. Many of the recipients of these cards have been released, thanks to the concerted efforts of so many human rights advocates.
Three of the subjects of the 2016 Nowruz action: physicist Omid Kokabee, student’s and women’s rights advocate Bahareh Hedayat, and artist Atena Farghadani were released from prison in the past year. Your activism does work!
Nowruz is a cherished holiday in Iran with many ancient rituals attached to it. Sadly, hundreds of people in Iran — -labor activists, journalists, social media users, artists, women’s rights activists and human rights defenders — will not be able to celebrate this important holiday with their family and friends because the Iranian government has slammed them into prison, just for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association.
It is especially important to remind them at this time that they are not forgotten. Please take this year’s Nowruz action.
We have selected seven cases to honor the tradition of the Haft Sin where seven items representing spring time, whose first letter is the Persian Sin (equivalent to the English S), are set out on a table. The seven cases for this year include: Seven leaders of Iran’s Baha’i community; human rights defender Narges Mohammadi; human rights attorney Abdolfattah Soltani; Kurdish cultural rights activist Zaynab Jalalian; husband and wife activists Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and Arash Sadeghi; Kurdish journalist Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand; and anti-death penalty activist Atena Daemi. Many of them are suffering from serious medical conditions for which they are not being given proper treatment. Please send Nowruz cards to them and their families. This would be a great action to do with your group. Please also take photos of people making Nowruz cards and post them on your Facebook pages as well as on your Twitter accounts, tagging Amnesty International’s Iran account (@AmnestyIran) so that we can retweet you. It is also important that the Iranian authorities notice the stream of cards coming in. This will show them that the world is watching them.
Former Iranian prisoner of conscience Maziar Bahari said “the prisoner’s worst nightmare is the thought of being forgotten.” Please take the time to send them a card today. You will be making such a difference in their lives! Thank you.