Maziar Bahari’s film Changing the World, One Wall at a Time is a documentary about the campaign Education is Not a Crime, called “…the world’s largest street art and human rights campaign.” The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness and combat discrimination by Iran’s government against its Baha’i population.
The documentary has had limited touring, but The Woodstock Library in Chicago will be hosting a special screening for it next week, on January 30th. The screening will be followed by a community discussion.
And the final, finished mural by @R_o_n_e – GORGEOUS!!! The portrait is of Nasim Baglari who is 29 years old – and banned from University in Iran. “Growing up as a Baha’i in Iran,” Nasim says, “I always had this fear that anything can happen in a second. And that fear remained in me even when I was taking the entrance examination for university. We were given permission to take the test, but when we got the results back, and wanted to enrol in school, it was saying there was an error on our documents. This was pretty much the story of all the Baha’is I knew.” The Baha’is are Iran’s largest religious minority: they believe in the equality of men and women and universal education. But Iran’s government persecutes them for their beliefs. Baha’is are harassed and jailed, denied livelihoods, and are barred from teaching or studying at university.
According to a report from September of last year, since President Rouhani’s inauguration, “…at least 283 Baha’is have been arrested, thousands have been blocked from access to higher education, and there have been at least 645 incidents of economic oppression, ranging from intimidation and threats against Baha’i-owned businesses to their closure by authorities.”
The Woodstock Library is also seeking out artistic responses on this subject from the local Chicago community, and asks for creative submissions related to this campaign and film to be submitted to Library staff by February 28th, to be put on display at the location in March.