An International Day of Action
26 Jul 2009 18:41
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.
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