Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Situation in Iran Hits Home

I knew this could happen. I’d tried to think that it wouldn’t. A friend of mine is from Iran and she is the nicest, sweetest person I have ever met. She very much wants to see Iran reformed and has told me truly frightening stories from the government crackdown after the student protests in 2005. We don’t talk much anymore, but to check in on each other from time to time and so I was shocked to hear from her this morning letting me know her brother had been taken from her parent’s apartment two days ago in the middle of the night in Tehran.

What do you say at a time moment like that? I was dumbfounded, groping for an appropriate reaction, to say something, to feel something other than fear and anger. I’ve never met her brother but, she often talks about him. He hadn’t attended any of the protests and in fact had been sick, and yet the authorities took him in the middle of the night setting in motion some Kafkaesque nightmare.

Now her parents are concerned that their phone is tapped and their email is being read and they have asked her not to contact them. And so at a time of great civil unrest, when the electorate is rightfully calling for their votes to be counted, not assumed, she can not contact her parents because they are afraid. There is a glimmer of hope for her and her family. Through connections they have it appears her brother will be released soon, but there are no certainties when a government declares war on its citizens.

I have watched, as many have, with incredible interest and quiet solidarity, the opposition movement gain momentum. I will not pretend to be an expert on Iran. I am at best a novice. Ben and Eric bring the intellectual weight to this discussion, but I am sickened by what I was told this morning. I am unable to connect with the experience that someone’s government would declare open war on its citizens. I am fearful for my friend and her family. The only hope is that my fear, my susceptibility to intimidation, is the exception, not the rule. The only hope is that the people of Iran, in the face of wanton violence and intimidation, remain firm in their opposition to a fraudulent election and demand justice.

Today I am hoping for just one thing. I am hoping for the speedy release of my friend’s brother. I am hoping he is unharmed. I am hoping there will be change in Iran.

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