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An International Day of Action

26 Jul 2009 18:414 Comments
UN 25 July 2009

Photo/Leila Darabi

"The reason it is important that we stand here today in solidarity with those in Iran is that we may be demonstrating for them -- demonstrating our rage, their discontent in a way that they might not be able to." Ken Roth, executive director, Human Rights Watch, July 25th, 2009, New York City

By LEILA DARABI in New York | 26 July 2009

briefs Yesterday, the coalition United for Iran coordinated rallies in more than 100 cities around the world in a show of support for protestors in Iran. Photos and videos of the demonstrations are available at United4Iran.org.

All told, tens of thousands took to the streets from Stockholm to Ouagadougou.

Here in New York, roughly 700 demonstrators marched from Times Square to the United Nations. As an Iranian-American from New York, it was a difficult day to stand outside the action and report from afar, simply because so many familiar faces made up the crowd. So rather than feign complete objectivity, let me say, in the first person, that what struck me about this group in particular was the diversity. Not a diversity of ethnicity -- I would guess 90-plus percent of those in attendance were of Iranian extraction or were dating or married to an Iranian -- but a diverse cross-section.

There were old school New Yorkers who emigrated before the revolution to protest the Shah from abroad, the 1979 exodus, their American children, and a new generation of Iranian students who grew up under the Islamic Republic but got out for college or grad school. There were engineers and artists, doctors and nurses, professors and students. Among the people who called out my name as I stood on the sidelines to take photos were my Farsi teacher and the parents of my childhood best friend whom I hadn't seen in years.

New York has never housed the largest population of Iranians in the diaspora, but I would venture to say it's the most diverse. And let me just say, it's not every day you see such broad representation in one place, united for a singular cause.

Copyright (c) 2009 Tehran Bureau

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4 Comments

I went to the rally and march in Portland. My 11-year-old son came with me, wearing my 15-year-old Iran flag t-shirt. It was his first rally/protest/demonstration/march. He thought the rally was kind of boring but he loved marching and chanting slogans. He kept the signs we made and the flags we were given and hung them on his wall. I have to admit, I'm proud of my boy. He knows what's going on and wanted to do what he could.


I would say there was at least 100 people, which is a lot for Portland. There might have been more but the Square has no shade and it was in the high 90's. For some, that might be too much. I even got a little sunburned myself but that's because of my German half.


Here's a short, uneditted video of the march:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj1xbQSJv_Y

Dave In America / July 27, 2009 1:20 AM

Thanks for sharing your video and reflections from the West Coast, Dave. I saw in another video clip that the Mayor of Portland made a statement declaring that the people of Portland stand with the people of Iran. The event may have been small, but it appears you attracted high-level support.

Leila Darabi / July 27, 2009 10:21 AM

Went to the SF rally they estimated the crowd at 10,000 people. A lot since the population in northern californian is not nearly as large as LA. Everyone was well behaved and didnt argue about trivial stuff as sometimes happens. People were there in support and unity. It was nice to see non Iranians there as well in volunteerting there time and in the crowd. Speakers included Jerry Brown the CA attorney general and numerous SF supervisors. The creator of haystack spoke about his efforts to help Iranians with unfiltered/untraceable internet access. He is looking for donations and poeple to send them usb thumb drives.

SFO_Iranian / July 27, 2009 10:47 AM

A lot of Iranian students at the University of California traveled to S.F. for the rally, along with their friends, parents and other relatives of a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds.

Some went to a much smaller rally in Sacramento, and both encountered a great deal of sympathetic comments from passers-by.

The difficulties of the people of Iran have touched a great number of U.S. citizens, many of whom feel that Mahmoud "Landslide" Ahmadinejad stole the election, even if they are not aware of the many reasons to believe that such was the case.

Roger / July 27, 2009 12:56 PM