The film Bam 6.6 an inspiration for peace and a tribute to the Iranian people

It has been my great privilege to know Jahangir Golestan Parast. His unswerving dedication to peace and brotherhood has been truely inspirational to me. His trust in his fellow human beings in helping him to create and promote his film and its message relying on their kindness and generosity has taught me many things and given me the courage to pursue my own book project about my positive experiences in Iran. Getting a book published and promoted was much more daunting than I could have ever imagined. Through Jahangir I found the courage to pursue my dream for peace. I spent two years helping him promote his film serving on his Q & A panel and helping to organize screenings at UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, Stanford, MIT and Harvard, the World Affairs Council of San Francisco and the National Cathedral. One of the greatest benefits of this experience was meeting  and befriending some of the exceptional and extraordinary individuals that it allowed, like the two former US Embassy hostages and Irandoosts, Bruce Laingen and John Limbert. People like Jerry Dekker who have made it their life’s work to take groups of Americans on tour in Iran and Iranians on tour in the USA. We met people like Rowan Storm who studied Daf in Iran by herself and goes on world tours playing it. We met Meghan Sayres, author of “Anahita’s Woven Riddle” which won a prize at the first Childrens Book Festival in Kerman which she collected in person and was also invited last year to weave part of the World Peace Carpet at the Sa’ad Abad palace complex. We met Diane Tober who also worked in Iran on family planning, living there with her two children for several years and now co directing “The Unique Zan Foundation” with Bita Daryabari, assisting impoverished women and children around the world.  We met citizen diplomat and film maker Brendon Hamilton, maker of the film:”Iran, Hot Tea, Cool Conversation.” We met Jila Kashef from Sony Pictures Entertainment who, in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, helped at her own expense to organize aid and schools in tents for the orphaned children. 

We had no budget and depended on the generosity of Foundations and individuals. The talented photo journalist Iason Athanasiadis, let us stay in his graduate school apartment on Harvard Campus when we did the screening there and he arranged to leave the key for us as he was out of town the first night. Ordinary individuals of modest means who had had no prior exposure to Iran other than negative propoganda ordered 200 copies of the DVD to give as presents to their friends.

The point is that with the right inspiration people hold the keys to heaven inside their own hearts. The message of the film was that it should not take a catastrophic natural disaster for the world to discover its common humanity. People with or without the benefit  of governments can help one another.

In this time of trouble in Iran, it is important to remember the power of non violent resistance and love. In recent times several events changed history. Gorbachev and Glassnost ended the tryanny of the USSR which I never thought I would live to witness. The Greeks managed to throw off the yoke of the military junta without bloodshed. Nelson Mandela after decades in jail managed to end apartheid in South Africa and declared a general amnesty. Martin Luther King Jr helped start the Civil Rights movenment leading to the end of legal racial segregation in the USA and Ghandi used passive resistance to throw off the yoke of the British Empire from India’s neck.

What I am most greatful for this new year is the ongoing courage of the Iranian people which more than any other action by anyone, more than any diplomatic effort, UN “offer,” military threat or sanction or film or book or essay, has shown the world that propoganda intended to demonize and present Iran as one monolithic anti Western Islamic fanatic entity is false. This Green movement has made it much harder for any outside force to justify the bombardment and invasion of Iran which is why the warhawks are desperate to keep the nuclear issue alive like dogs fighting over a bone. They have lost their club to beat their drums of war. Within Israel itself,despite the warmongoring leadership, the Israeli people have heard their Iranian brothers and sisters call for freedom and support their movement.

It is unlikely that armed resistance in Iran can succeed with a million well armed Basiji and another million well armed Revolutionary Guard. What will most likely end the tyranny and topple the regime is when the military and the police and the revolutionary guard and the clerics start looking into their own hearts and lose the taste for killing and maiming and raping their fellow Iranians. It is already happening. This is the power of love and of non violent resistance. I witnessed the days during the revolution when the military and the civilians held hands and stopped fighting eachother and united against the forces of tyranny. It can happen again.

So in this new year I am most thankful for the meek and the peacemakers of this world and most especially for the courageous Iranian people especially the women, old and young who willingly face the brutality and are ready to die for their beliefs like Neda Soltan. The sympathy of the world to the plight of the Iranian protestors has been awe inspiring but it is the courage of the Iranian people themselves which has made the entire world the witness to this regime and its behavior and given it no place to hide.

 My prayers go to the freedom movement in Iran and I pray that Obama will take the opportunity to earn his Nobel Peace prize and not be reduced once more to making military ultimatums…lets actually do something to help the Iranian people rather than cutting off their gasoline and heating oil this winter…




Meet Iranian Singles

Iranian Singles

Recipient Of The Serena Shim Award

Serena Shim Award
Meet your Persian Love Today!
Meet your Persian Love Today!