Drop in the ocean of indifference
Why should we be shocked to see a celebrity use her fame and beauty and genuine concern to aid a helpless girl?
October 3, 2006
Dear Mr. David Maynard,
I just came across your article "Save Nazanin from Nazanin" slandering Ms. Nazanin Afshin-Jam efforts on baseless arguments of her trying to self promote herself and using the case of Nazanin Fatehi as a pretext to draw attention on her own public persona.
I am neither Ms. Afshin Jam's spokesman nor intend to speak on her behalf, but I did interview her a few months ago when she was hardly even approached by anyone in the Iranian Media so to speak. See "Saving Nazanin".
Happily the reaction to this interview and other interviews she was to give to the Iranian Press had the credit of drawing the attention of Iranians worldwide, including inside Iran. I personally got a lot of emails from Iranians in Iran who did not even know about the case of Nazani Fatehi and her case brought their attention on many others who are suffering from similar predicaments.
I do not know Sir if you are an Iranian writing under a pseudo or if this is indeed your own name. In either case your attack is not only cheap but criminal in that you not only slander a person's reputation and honor but you are also trying to doom a constructive Human Rights initiative that transcends political differences or interests that have so often divided us Iranians and that is: To save the life of a girl who happens to have the same namesake as former Miss World Canada.
The case of Nazanin Fatehi is certainly not unique in the sad annals of the Judiciary of the Islamic republic of Iran. You have correctly brought to our attention other names that need not be forgotten and which I would also like to repeat for the sake of justice and for general knowledge of our readers: Malak Ghorbany, Ashraf Kalhori, Kobra Rahmanpour, Delar Darabi, Hajieh Esmailvand, Fatemeh M., and Soghra Mola'i. Many others unknown names and faces can alas be added to the list due to the lack of transparency of Iran's legal system.
Could you be so naive as to think that anyone who happens to be in the public eye ignores that his or her statements or activism would not be indifferent to the press? Ms. Afshin-Jam never denied that she was using her name and celebrity to draw attention on the predicament of one of her compatriots back home. This has been the case of several other Iranian expats who happen to be famous actors or stars, such as Mr. Anthony Azizi who has also been campaigning for the rights of Women in the middle east and muslim countries in particular. I don't find such an approach shocking on the contrary.
For the past 27 years we Iranians have been tearing eachother apart on political debates that have never led to any constructive mouvement. Rarely has any Iranian public figure be it a Star or politician tried to mobilize anyone on a specific human rights issue. Ms. Shirin Ebadi has and continues to do her share of constructive work for which she was Awarded the Nobel Prize and being in Iran she has been regularly intimidated by the current regime's henchmen who hope to stop her activities in favor of more justice and transparency in her countries courts. Why should we be shocked to see a young Iranian Women who happens to be known use her celebrity, beauty and genuine concern to aid a helpless girl whose name would have otherwise been ignored in the Iranian and International press ?
Who knew the name of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners in South Africa if some celebrities had not done a concert in favor of his freedom and to end Apartheid? Nazani Fatehi is not even a political figure whose name could generate controversy like in the case of Mandela. I certainly hope that other Persian Artists including the Human Rights activists you mention will join Ms. Afshin-Jam's campaign so as to help save Nazanin Fatehi and through her case draw attention on all the other cases known or unknown of her compatriots who equally deserve attention.
We should not let the cynicism of our elders particularly many of us in exile ( who over the past quarter of a century were unable to unite for a worthy cause ) grow on the young generation who wish to be useful.
I believe that Utopia is necessary in a world where on a daily basis we are told by the media and our leaders that we cannot do anything to change it. The world in which we live in needs to change, for the better and particularly in Iran. We need to believe that we can take our destiny in our hands, and if Ms. Nazanin Afshin-Jam's efforts are only a drop in the ocean of indifference, so be it!
I would even like to go further by suggesting to the Iranian.com to put up a permanent link to this petition as long as Nazanin Fatehi is still in Prison and her case is not closed. After all why should the case of political activists like Mr. Jahanbegloo or Mr. Ganji (both Men by the way) be of public interest and not that of a poor 18 year old girl who awaits execution for having defended herself and her neice from being raped by three men?
May I conclude by quoting George Bernard Shaw:
Indifference is the essence of inhumanity.
And Elie Wiesel:
The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.
Mr. Maynard, or whoever you truly are make yourself useful and sign the petition.
Darius KADIVAR is a freelance journalist and Paris based film editor of Namak Magazine, Los Angeles, USA.