Humans are important, and so are their rights. Whether you are someone whose rights have been violated, or someone who is fighting to stop the violation of somebody else's rights, you know how important the issue is.
In the fight for human rights, we should put aside our differences and join forces. Tyranny is strong, and it must be countered with unity among those who are fighting it. However, we should also be careful not to turn this campaign into a pawn shop where virtually anything can be bought or sold! In order to be a humanitarian, one has to care deeply about the rights of others and avoid association with, let alone cooperation with, people or governments who violate those rights, have dubious records, or are accused of criminal activity.
Nazanin Afshin Jam’s human rights campaign is an important one. She has probably helped save lives and we should wholeheartedly acknowledge and support that. That said, there is a dark side to her personality that must be addressed. Who is she really? How much do we know about her, other than the info that she and her promoters feed us with? How much do we know about the people who support her or whom she associates with? Is she eally the independent advocate of human rights she claims to be?
Let’s have a look:
Nazanin Afshin Jam is an artist (singer) signed with Bodog Music, an international music label owned by Bodog Entertainment whose owner and boss is the billionaire, Calvin Ayre.
Now, there is nothing wrong with being an artist and a human rights activist at the same time. But when being an artist involves associating closely with people who have a dubious record, then we have a problem! Calvin Ayre sits on top of a gambling empire which the US Department of Justice considers illegal and harmful to the public welfare. If Ayre landed in the US today, he would be arrested on criminal charges. In a situation dire as this, Ayre needs a lot of good PR, and it may be that he is using Afshin Jam as a tool to soften his negative image and gain prestige. The question we need to ask is simple: how do we know if Afshin Jam’s human rights motives are genuine? That is the first question. A more important question would be: why on Earth should a human rights activist be associated with a man who runs an illegal business?
And to make matters worse, there is another serious allegation against Calvin Ayre: prostitution. Last year, police raided Ayre's home in Costa Rica, suspecting that he was hosting an illegal prostitution ring. He, of course, denied the charges. Who knows, maybe he was telling the truth! But that’s beside the point. The point is not whether he told the truth or not in this particular case. The point is that this man has a dubious record. Nonetheless, Afshin jam is professionally involved with him. Again, my question is simple: how can somebody who cares about the rights of women and works to end their plight in Iran and the wider Muslim world be associated with a figure whose business may involve prostitution?
I wholeheartedly hope what I have said in this article is baseless. I am a human rights activist myself, and the last thing I want to do is question the credibility of someone fighting for the rights of others. But, as much as I believe that we should fight together for human rights, I also believe that we should not let our struggle be misused by people whose only aim is to further their own (illegal) interests.
In a world filled with dictators and hypocrites, a world full of torture chambers and death squads, honesty and genuine commitment on the part of human rights activists are not only virtues but necessities. Without these qualities there is no real difference between people who defend human rights and people who violate them.
It is up to us to protect human rights from people who want to use it for profit-making and face-saving.
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