Honoring Nazanin: an Angel of Iran


Amil Imani
by Amil Imani

Never mind the mythical angels of religion and poetry, meet a living angel in flesh, Nazanin Afshin-Jam. Many of you may not know that we have a hero in our midst. Many of you may not know that this individual, singlehandedly, has done more for her compatriots, as well as for other people of our planet, than most of us together. This dazzling beauty, both inside and outside, has dedicated her life to the good of humanity.

We are honoring Nazanin Afshin-Jam for her tireless efforts to shed light into the shadowy corners of conflict, to expose and end the abuses that ruin the lives of so many children in Iran. Her work exemplifies the ideals of the human rights movement: “courage, an unswerving commitment to justice and a genuine concern for the rights of all victims.”

Unquestionably, this young talented Iranian born Canadian citizen has been a role model and has earned our respect, not only among most Iranians around the world, but in many other countries where she has visited and spoken about Human rights issues. She has the determination of unquestionable integrity, sensitivity to the needs of others and willingness to help wherever the help is needed. She is a courageous human rights activist, who is exposing horrific crimes about child executions in the Islamic Republic of Iran. She has also helped several key cases of Iranian refugees who were going to be deported back to Iran and likely face severe persecution.

Nazanin Afshin-Jam, this dazzling gem of Iran, has a huge mission in life. As good a human being as she is and almost unnervingly nice, she is relentlessly positive, a one-person cheering section of smiles. She has elevated what it means to be an Iranian and what it means to be a child of Cyrus the Great.

Nazanin is an international human rights activist, singer/songwriter, actor, model and former Miss World Canada. After being crowned "Miss Canada.” Nazanin went on to become the First Runner-Up for "Miss World 2003." She was runner-up to Miss Ireland, Rosanna Davison. She is also co-founder of the “Stop Child Executions” organization whose aim it is to try and put a permanent end to executions of minors in Iran and abroad who are currently on death row. She has produced short documentaries, connected lawyers working pro-bono to children on death row who do not have access to proper attorneys. She is constantly informing the UN, individual governments and NGOs including Amnesty International on urgent cases of children facing execution.

“Prosperity and progress can only flourish when our human rights are a priority, where democracy and freedom of choice take precedence,” says Nazanin

Nazanin learned at an early age of the threat people face when their human rights are ignored and abused. This Persian star was born in Tehran in 1979 at the height of the so called Islamic revolution and a year later her family was forced to flee after her non-political father was arrested and tortured at the hands of the fundamentalists. Growing up in Canada after escaping an uncertain future in Iran, Nazanin knew not to take her freedom and good fortune for granted. Her conscience would not allow her to forget those who live in fear every day, in any country where people’s basic human rights are violated.

Nazanin is also a pilot and is licensed to fly both powered aircraft and gliders and is a Squadron Commander Royal Canadian Air Cadets, holding the rank of Warrant Officer 1st class. She is fluent in three languages: Persian, English, French and also conversational Spanish.

However, her true passion is human rights. Nazanin was instrumental in saving another Nazanin (Nazanin Fatehi) in Iran. Nazanin Fatehi was sentenced to hang for defending herself and her 15-year-old niece by stabbing one of three men who tried to rape her and her niece in Karaj in March 2005.

In the lawless jungle of the Islamic Republic, they rushed to condemn her to death rather than the rapists. She initiated a yearlong campaign to save the life of a 17-year-old girl in Iran who faced execution by hanging for having stabbed one of three men who attempted to rape her. The Save Nazanin petition collected 350, 000 signatures worldwide.
She went on tours around the globe, speaking in Stockholm, Brussels, Gothenburg and Frankfurt regarding Fatehi. She organized the creation of a documentary to raise awareness on Fatehi’s plight and created a website www.helpnazanin.com informing the public with news and of how to help. She helped raise the required $43,000 bail to release Nazanin Fatehi from prison

She spoke around the world, brought much needed attention in the United Nations and finally her arduous task bears fruit. After more than two years in jail, Nazanin Fatehi was eventually released on bail on January 31, 2007. That was a joyous moment for her and an astonishing victory for all people. Nazanin Afshin-Jam’s efforts led her to create the “stop child executions” organization.

“Some people give up in pursuing their goal when they have almost reached the end while others, on the contrary, vigorously go after the victory by hook or by crook. I will never forget that moment when she was released from prison,” says Nazanin.
Nazanin continues to address human rights abuses worldwide, in China, Burma, Darfur and other countries with tyrannical regimes and particular in relation to women and children in Iran and the Middle East. She has given speeches at the UN, EU, UK, Canadian Parliament, numerous universities and conferences with media features on  CNN, BBC, CBC, FOXAl Jazeera TV, Persian Voice of America and print stories in Glamour, Seventeen, Chatelaine, Flare, Vanity Fair magazine and newspapers worldwide.

She has received the Global Citizenship Award from the President of the University of British Columbia and the Alumni Association. She also received a "Hero Award for Human Rights" on Friday August 25, 2007 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on the case of Nazanin Fatehi. She appeared as a guest speaker at an Amnesty International conference in Berlin a couple of years ago regarding the executions of minors in Iran. She was the guest of Honor and speaker for OnCor ‘s 10-day charity fund-raising event benefiting the Dangriga HIV/Aids Society (Belize).

Nazanin’s battle against child executions continues with the goal of halting the practice in Iran and in the handful of other countries where it still continues. Regarding “child execution” organization, she can use any help from any one who is concerned about the execution of children and minors. Thus far, she has managed to save many human lives.

On September 11, 2008, Nazanin sent out a press release stating, “The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will have to get past the Ahmadinejad Wall of Shame, a visual display and demonstration across the United Nations Headquarters- before entering the opening of the “General Assembly.”

“While the UN legitimizes Ahmadinejad as the President of the Islamic Republic by having the door open to him at the General Assembly, the Iranian people feel betrayed by the false representation. In the face of the West's obsession with Iran's nuclear development, the voices of the Iranian people have been stifled and human rights abuses have been overshadowed. This Wall of Shame demonstration is hoping to give a voice to the voiceless and address the concerns of the vast majority of Iranian people who believe in a united, secular, democratic Iran based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and no military intervention on Iran,” said Nazanin.

Nazanin is a person of conscience and integrity. Her tireless passion for saving human lives is a guide to all of us who aspire to better the world around us by our commitment to truth. Her professionalism and manners combined with her enormous humanity and cheerful eyes, on the camera and off the camera, are impeccable. She is the true daughter of Persia and represents all decent Iranian women.

“Life is precious. Life has ebbs and flows. Some days the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and you feel like you are on top of the world. Other days, you feel like you are being dragged into a black hole and don’t know if you will ever find your way out of the vortex. Thankfully, my faith is strong and I know we are never given more than we can handle,” says Nazanin.

As Nazanin is contemplating the new life upon which she has entered, she thinks of the past and how those dark roads she traveled have given her the strength needed to do more. She is on a mission to break all the boundaries. Our Human Rights Activist is very passionate, extremely optimistic, honest, and believes in what she says and does.  “The past is the past. I’m only interested in looking into a brighter future,” she says.

 “I believe in the pursuit of peace, love, and a spiritual understanding of divinity which, in the end, will allow us to truly feel happy and live in harmony.  Once you have experienced true happiness, it is only natural to want to share that feeling with others so that they may feel the same. Our only responsibility on this earth is to extend all the love in our hearts to those around us. We are all human. Every single human and animal life is precious and has meaning and we must do everything in our capacity to preserve it.”

Many people have been inspired by Nazanin’s determination.  Her work sends a powerful message that governments and armed groups should end their barbaric abuses and respect the rights of all human beings and especially the children.

“The Islamic Republic in Iran has long been no respecter of human rights, judging from their track records. For example, look at what is happening to members of the Baha’i faith in Iran. Just a few weeks ago the Islamic government publicly announced that if Baha’is are caught gathering together for the purpose of sharing their faith, they will be arrested. They have publicly called for the eradication of Baha’is in Iran. What do we call that? Isn’t that genocide?” she says.

Nazanin leaves us with a beautiful quote: “The physical beauty of youth will someday fade. But, the beauty of the spirit within, when nurtured, can grow forever.”



Neda was Nazanin and Nazanin is Neda

Neda Agha Soltan


Neda was Nazanin and Nazanin is Neda

Nazanin Afshin-Jam

Date: October 14, 2009
Persian Source: Rahe Sabz Omid Page
English translation: Tour Irani for Persian2English

Shortlink to share blog: //wp.me/pDjBz-ar


Babak Daad writes about Neda and Nazanin after recent insults thrown at Nazanin Afshin-Jam by Iranian newspaper Keyhan.

Babak Daad

These days there are two names going around. These two names are familiar to all Iranians: Neda Agha-Soltan and Nazanin Afshin-Jam. The former became a symbol of innocence for all Iranians through her death, and shook the foundation of the despot regime. The latter is shaking the coup government with her purposeful life. Now, many Iranian girls have found two role models, both for a more purposeful life and for an effective death.

Two girls, both “Nedas” of the Iranian people and both “Nazanins”
(Neda translates to ‘voice’ and Nazanin translates to ‘dear’)

The coup government of Iran is still feeling the heavy weight of murdering Neda Agha-Soltan, and it is not clear whether it will be able to erase the memory of this murder from the minds of people any time soon. Neda was a girl, who after being shot, looked at her chest in disbelief. In less than two minutes, she lost her life in front of the eyes of millions of people around the world. She stared at the sky, which symbolized the innocence of a defenseless nation. Since her death, the coup government has committed many more crimes. But Neda’s death has had, and continues to have, a special effect on the sympathizing world conscious of Iran and the Green Movement.

During the life of the Green Movement, many youngsters turned into ‘Nedas of Iran,’ (Voices of Iran) and introduced the world to people who do not think like their government. These days, the ‘Neda of our nation’ (the voice of our nation) reaches the world by another deserving girl; a girl who like Neda and all the children of Iran is nazanin (dear): Nazanin Afshin-Jam.

Last week, Keyhan newspaper, the ruling coup government paper, angrily condemned Nazanin Afshin-Jam’s efforts and used a lot of profanity toward the Miss Canada 2003 winner and Iranian human rights activist. Keyhan newspaper was so angry of the recent meeting between Nazanin Afshin-Jam and the Dalai Lama (who recently showed his support for Iran and the Green Movement)  that they attempted to create a security case for the Dalai Lama too! And just like all other oppositions, they labeled him a CIA agent. They slammed Nazanin Afshin Jam for competing in the Miss Canada pageant and they spread words about her that I cannot repeat here, because I am not the type to spread corruption.

At the end of the slanderous report, they wrote, “Afshin-Jam has close relations with Shirin Ebadi and the girls who are behind the one-million signature campaign; and recently Dalai Lama and the Green Movement of Mr. Mousavi and Khatami.”

The reaction by Keyhan newspaper goes to show how fundamental this young Iranian girl’s efforts have been in weakening the international position of the coup government.

And now Neda and Nazanin appear in front of millions of Iranian girls and women. Many young girls ask themselves: How can I become the Neda of this nation? How can I be like Nazanin?

A few words to myself, looking in the mirror:

I think to myself:

If I were a girl as beautiful and as intelligent as Nazanin Afshin-Jam, and if I lived in a vast country like Canada; if I was chosen by the people to be Miss Canada, and if I had been crowned the winner of Miss Canada 2003 (competing against all the beautiful and deserving girls), then would I have ever thought of my motherland and the women and girls there? Would I have given up all the great fashion, a singing career, and being an actress in Hollywood?

I cannot answer these question so quickly! People have thousands of insecurities and make many mistakes! I am not sure if I were in her position I would have turned out to be the same person. Would I have looked into the future like she does? Would I have tried to help my motherland? Would I have tried to save my motherland from despotism, discrimination, and dictatorship? Would I have left behind all the joys of life in Hollywood and being close to all the stars and put my efforts into regaining the rights of Iranians whose Persian accents are different than mine?
(the reference to the Persian accent is meant to stress that Nazanin Afshin-Jam does not come from the same world as the people she has dedicated her life to help).

It’s not easy to answer these questions, don’t you think?

I am sure that there are many people like Nazanin among Iranians. If you are one, I should say kudos to you; even if you cannot talk Persian like her! And even if you are not a girl and your name is not Nazanin, I will still give you kudos! You are dear to the motherland!

Well Nazanin Afshin-Jam is really the real deal! One should really travel outside the country and see other places and travel around to see all the people who have run away from the dictators of the land and who are exiled compatriots who have all doors shut and are driven from their motherland. When a sweet girl like Nazanin who has all the doors open for her pauses, thinks, and returns to help her mother land, she must be an angel.

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اشاره: این روزها بازهم دو اسم روی زبانها افتاده است. دو اسمی که برای همه ایرانیان، گوش آشنایند. “ندا آقا سلطان” و “نازنین افشین جم”. اولی با مرگ اسطوره ایش، سمبل مظلومیت ایرانیان شد و پایه های حکومت استبدادی را به ستوه آورده و دومی با زندگی هدفمندش کودتاچیان را رسوا می کند. حالا بسیاری از دختران ایرانی هم برای زندگی هدفمند و هم برای مرگی اثرگذار، دو الگوی عینی یافته اند.

دو دختر! هر دو “ندای” مردم ایران، و هر دو “نازنین”!

هنوز حکومت کودتایی ایران از زیر بار سنگین کشتن مظلومانه “ندا آقا سلطان” رهایی نیافته و معلوم نیست حالا حالاها بتواند این قتل ظالمانه را از حافظه ملت پاک کند. “ندا” دختری که وقت تیر خوردن، ناباورانه به فواره خون سینه اش نگاه کرد و در کمتر از دو دقیقه، مقابل چشمان میلیونها ناظر جهانی جان باخت و با نگاه خیره ای که به آسمان کرد تمام مظلومیت یک ملت بی پناه را عیان ساخت. از زمان مرگ ندا تا امروز، کودتاچیان صدها جنایت دیگر و از جمله تجاوزهای جنسی را بر کارنامه خود افزوده اند، اما “ندا” تأثیر ویژه ای بر همدلی وجدان جهانی با ملت ایران و جنبش سبز داشته و دارد. در طول حیات جنبش سبز، بسیاری از جوانان تبدیل به “ندای ملت ایران” شدند و جهان را با مردمی آشنا کردند که مثل حکومتش نمی اندیشند. این روزها، دوباره “ندای ملت ما” از سوی یک دختر شایسته دیگر به گوش جهان می رسد. دختری که مثل ندا و همه فرزندان ایران زمین، نازنین است؛ “نازنین افشین جم”.

هفته قبل روزنامه “کیهان”، ارگان کودتاچیان حاکم در ایران، با عصبانیت از اقدام تازه ” نازنین افشین جم” دخترشایسته کانادا در سال 2003 و فعال حقوق بشر ایرانی تبار، به او نسبتهای ناروایی داد. روزنامه کیهان از دیدار نازنین با “دالایی لاما” اسطوره بودائیان جهان و جلب حمایت او برای دفاع از حقوق بشر ایرانیان و جنبش سبز، چنان خشمگین بود که حتی برای “دالایی لاما” هم پرونده امنیتی درست کرد و او را مانند همه مخالفان به رابطه با CIA و داشتن “نیمه پنهان!” متهم نمود. کیهان نازنین را بدلیل حضور در رقابتهای دختران شایسته، به القاب ناشایستی متهم ساخت که از تکرار آن، بدلیل اشاعه فساد باید پرهیز کنیم اما در آخر گزارش سراسر اهانت خود به شخصیتهای پرشماری داخلی و خارجی نوشت:” افشين جم روابط نزديكي با «شيرين عبادي» و دختركان «كمپين يك ميليون امضا» دارد و به تازگي نيز همراه «دالايي لاما» به حاميان «جنبش سبز» آقايان «ميرحسين موسوي» و «محمد خاتمي» پيوسته است.” این واکنش روزنامه کیهان نشان داد اقدامات این دختر جوان ایرانی، چه تأثیرات بنیادینی بر تضعیف موقعیت جهانی حکومت کودتایی داشته است.

اینک ندا و نازنین مقابل چشمان میلوینها دختر و زن ایرانی قرار گرفته اند. بسیاری از دختران جوان از خود می پرسند چگونه می توان “ندای ملت” شد؟ و چگونه می توان “نازنین” باقی ماند؟

گپی با خود در آینه!

با خود می اندیشی اگر دختری بودی به زیبایی و هوش و ذکاوت “نازنین افشین جم” و در مملکت وسیعی مثل آمریکای شمالی و کانادا زندگی می کردی؛ با آن همه دختران زیبا و شایسته و فعال، و اگر بواسطه رأی مردم و نخبگان به عنوان “شایسته ترین دختر سال کانادا” شناخته می شدی و باز اگر از این جلوتر می رفتی و “تاج نقره ای” دومین دختر شایسته جهان را هم در سال 2003 بر سرت گذاشته بودی،… و اگر آن وقت برمی گشتی به سوی وطن پدری ات، و به زنان و دختران دربند سرزمین پدری ات نگاه می کردی، آیا – خدا وکیلی!- آیا باز هم می توانستی مثل “نازنین افشین جم” از تمام مواهب دنیای مد و خوانندگی و بازیگری هالیوود دست برداری و لحظه ای – فقط لحظه ای- درنگ کنی؟

من خیلی سریع نمی توانم به این سئوال پاسخ بدهم! آدم است و هزار ضعف و اشتباه! نمی دانم من اگر در موقعیت “نازنین” قرار داشتم، آیا همین آدمی می شدم که الان هستم؟ اگر من انسانی در سایز “نازنین” بودم، آیا می توانستم مثل او از “آینده ام” بگذرم، برای آنکه سرزمین “گذشته” پدری ام را یاری کنم؟ و از استبداد و ظلم و تبعیض و زور نجاتش دهم؟ که لذتهای زندگی در هالیوود و دمخوری با ستارگان جهان را فروبگذارم و بیایم برای حقوق ایرانیانی تلاش کنم که حتی نمی توانم با لهجه شان حرف بزنم؟ جواب دادن به این سئوال، راحت نیست! اینطور نیست؟

قطعا” امثال “نازنین” در جمع ایرانیان بسیارند. تو اگر چنان آدمی هستی، آن وقت می شود گفت دمت گرم! می شود گفت که دیگر جای حرف نداری! حتی اگر مثل نازنین افشین جم نتوانی به فارسی حرف بزنی! آن وقت حتی اگر دختر نباشی و اسمت هم “نازنین” نباشد، می شود به تو گفت: حرف نداری “نازنین وطن”!

باری؛ “نازنین افشین جم” واقعا” حرف ندارد! باید خارج از کشور و اوضاع و احوال دنیای خارج را دیده باشی و آنجاها گشته باشی تا بدانی در میان آنهمه آدم گریزان از دست غاصبان خونریز وطن و در میان آنهمه هموطن تبعیدی، که گاهی همه راههای دنیا را به روی خود بسته می بینند و از خاک و سرزمین خود رانده شده اند، وقتی دختر شیرینی مثل “نازنین” که تمام راههای بهشت های زمینی به روی او گشاده شده است، درنگ می کند، فکر می کند و باز می گردد تا به بچه های خانه پدری اش کمک کند، او چگونه فرشته ای است؟

“نازنین” اولین بار برای کمک به یک ایرانی هم نامش “نازنین فتحی”؛ دختری که زیر تیغ اعدام بود، نگاهش را از دنیای پر زرق و برق مد و سینما و هالیوود برگرفت و چشمانش را به سوی ایران برگرداند. چشمانش را برگرداند به سوی این خانه پدری، اینجایی که روح “افشین” و “جام جم” اسم فامیلی اش را از این خاک دارد. برگشت تا کمک کند به دختران بی شماری که زیر تیغ تبعیض و فشار و بی عدالتی اند.و از سال 2003 تا حالا، نازنین یک تنه و خستگی ناپذیر آمده و آمده و آمده است. دمش گرم و سرش خوش باد.

از آن هنگام، نازنین افشین جم، گویی همان “ندا”ست که از بهشت برگشته است! برگشته به سوی دختران و زنان ایرانی که در جهنم تبعیض و جهل حاکمان می سوزند. نازنین، “ندا”ی بازگشته از بهشت است. ندا آقا سلطان!

این خاک پرگهر، نازنینان بی شماری پرورده است. یکی اش خود “تو” که به عکسهای این نازنینان، ندا آقا سلطان و نازنین افشین جم خیره شده ای و در اندیشه فرو رفته ای و این سطرها را می خوانی و مثل من، با خودت نجوا می کنی: این خاک، عجب “نازنین پرور” است.



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Passing Through


by Passing Through on

She is not only a physically beautiful person, but her heart is indeed in the right place.

As I understand, she was Miss Canada. She could easily have got herself involved in some unimportant  and mamby-pamby issue. Instead, she embraced this wonderful cause of SCE, with a great deal of positive results to show for.

I hope that she would serve as a source of  inspiration  to other Iranian, and Non-Iranian, ladies. This truly shows what a difference  one determined person can make.






by Cost-of-Progress on

for posting this. I'm proud of Nazanin and my hat's off to her for her speaking out against humans right violations everywhere.

Mirza Jafar - You are what's wrong with our nation and culture. Your darkness epitomizes the filthy cult that has enslaved us for 14 centuries. You truly reinforce the fact that Islam is repressive and holds very little value for women, if any.

hamsade ghadimi

the good, the evil and nothing in between

by hamsade ghadimi on

i don't think that there's any need to nominate any particular person for sainthood.  if there's any nomination to be made, i'd like to nominate all iranians who have risked their life to bring down this barbaric regime.  kudos for her efforts on behalf of iranian people, but i think nazanin is more humble regarding her humanitarian work and would be embarrassed by your promotion. 

as for you choghondar, i don't know what shady past you're talking about.  is it participating in beauty pageants?  and what do you mean by "a lot of ladies ... relate to her shady past?"  i'd like to know the nature of the crime of these shady ladies.  thanks for your response in advance.


Thank You Amil

by masoudA on

A true angel - she is.   A true dokht of Iran.   My congratulations to her parents. 


Amirza Jafar - I wish I could see a 5 min clip of you in your 20's.   I am sure you were the guy just to the left of Einstein.  

میرزا چغندر

Let by-gone be by-gone

by میرزا چغندر on

She, defenitely, has grown to this new role of hers. Not long time ago was she more concerned about waxing her bikini line when she was taking part in a beauty pageant.

I can't talk on behalf of my fellow citizens, but I'm sure there are a lot of ladies who can relate to her shady past.