In the U.S., there are Americans who hate Iran and anyone who has anything to do with her. This is largely due to the countries’ political history since 1979, the resulting vacuum of information about Iran in the U.S., and negative stereotypes fueled by the Iranian government’s propaganda.
As an ordinary Iranian-American, I sensed how President Ahmedinejad’s visit to Columbia University fueled a heightened level of animosity last year. The ensuing media coverage left me wondering, “Where is the voice of reason?” I felt outraged that his was quite possibly the only Iranian voice that many Americans have ever heard. I imagined what people who have never had an Iranian-American friend, neighbor, or co-worker thought of Iran. I wanted them to see a different side of Iran — that of its people and culture — to foster understanding and promote peace.
So I started a project to create a public service announcement about Iranian-Americans: who we are, what we believe in and why we are against attacking Iran. I wrote a script, showed it to friends, family, peace activists, and scholars. After receiving their feedback and doing some tweaking, I emailed it to Iranian-Americans, of all walks of life, asking if they would like to participate. A few said no, but the vast majority, including the first person I asked, Anousheh Ansari, said yes.
To date I’ve filmed over 30 people and have produced a first cut [see final version] which I would like to share with you:
I am still looking for 16 people to film, so that each person appears just once. I am also looking for music, help with improving sound quality and adding Persian subtitles. The goal is to create three broadcast quality versions of this public service announcement (one with out any subtitles, one with English subtitles and one with Persian subtitles) and get it on national TV as soon as possible. So if you agree with the message, would like to participate, and live near the San Francisco Bay Area feel free to email me at voicesforpeacesf(at)gmail(dot)com. Another way you can help is by writing to PBS and asking them to air this announcement.
At this point, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped get this project to this point.
Iran Abdi Sahba
Trimble (Braunstein/Quay Gallery)
From Access San Francisco Community Media:
Together we can make a difference!