Category Archives: Profile

“How Can You Sleep At Night?” Protesters sound off to Ahmadinejad


by Denise Romano

During the events this week, NYC for Iran asked people what they would say to Ahmedinejad if they ever met him. The words speak for themselves.

“You are not an elected president,” said Marmary, who was visiting NY from Iran.

“You are not my president. You are a dictator,” said Mitra, also visiting NY from Iran.

“It would be very hard to get into a conversation with him. He knows how to screw up a conversation. He has no logic. I would ask the legal authorities to arrest him,” said Jay, 26, of Texas.

“How can you sleep at night? Your bed is drowning in blood. But he would never answer the question,” said Ethan, 27, of San Francisco.

“You are the master of narcissism. You are manipulative, self-indulgent, and self-centered. You are a user and an abuser,” said Maryann, 30-something, of Los Angeles.

For more on the events of this past week, see the following posts:
“Iran Alive” Film Protest w/ Human Screen, 9/22
“No to Ahmadinejad, Yes to Human Rights,” Protest at the United Nations, 9/23
Green Scroll March Across the Brooklyn Bridge, 9/24

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It’s The Least We Can Do

by Denise Romano

Bashir, 26, and Alaleh, 20, both from Washington, DC, are members of Project Nur and came out to participate in the Anti- Nokia Flashmob last week.

Bashir feels that the flash mob was the right thing to do.

“I feel that we should be creating a voice for Muslims in this country by doing these things often and creating a civic identity, which is lacking in the Muslim community, especially in the youth,” Bashir said.

Not Our Fight

Bashir is not Iranian, but Haitian, and felt that he must do something to show his support of the Iranian people.

“People our age are sacrificing their lives and their freedom,” he said. “This is freedom on a personal level, putting personal lives at risk and their families. They are being watched by the goverment.”

Alaleh, a first generation Iranian-American, agreed.

“This is not really my fight,” she said. “I have camaraderie and patriotism, but I am not the one throwing rocks and getting thrown in jail.”

The Domino Effect

Project Nur came up with the idea so people in the area – not necessarily Iranians – would know what is going on. They succeeded.

Atah, 9, from New York City, came out with his dad to participate in the flash mob. “I think that if people start noticing us, that it will help Iran and the protesters,” he said. “It will make the [Iranian] government stop sending over foreign policemen to attack them.”

Atah hopes the domino effect works.

“People will take notice of us and then they will start doing it and people who see them will start doing it,” he said. “It will have a great affect on Iran.”

It’s The Least We Can Do

Bashir said that we should use our freedom to our advantage.

“We have the time, space, food and liberty to be here and say what that we support them without threats,” he said. “It’s the least we can do as a people who want freedom.”

Live from the NYC Silent Vigil for Neda, 7/30

Neda Agha-SoltanWe will be live-tweeting from the NYC Silent Vigil for Neda tonight in Union Square from 7:30-9:30 p.m. The event marks the 40th day since the murder of Neda Agha-Soltan on the streets of Tehran following June 12th’s disputed elections in Iran.

While the organizers intend to keep the vigil free of chants or politics, we’ll keep you up to date on the lighting of the candles, the size of the crowd, and the emotions surrounding the event.

You can follow the updates on Twitter by clicking here, or with the “TWEETS FROM NYC FOR IRAN” widget on the right-hand side of this page.

Democracy at Stake

by Denise Romano

Shala, 62, is an Iranian-born woman living in New York.  She shared with us her views on the current situation in Iran at a rally in Washington Square two weeks ago.

She began by reminding us of how things started in June.  “I am sure you have heard the news that there was an election in Iran,” she explained.  “Many people believe they have documented that there was a fraudulent election and that the [real] president-elect is Mousavi.”

“There were fraud and lies,” she said.  “Ahmadi was elected president…but the United States supports Iranian people in the streets demanding democratic rights.”

Obama Doing “Very, Very Well”

Shala said that she is happy with President Obama’s stance on Iran.

“He did very, very well, I think, surprisingly well,” she said. “I am glad they didn’t put his support in a very clear manner, it would have hurt us.  As much as he did was quite enough.  I am happy with that.”

Choosing Between “Bad and Worse”

But she is not happy with who the leadership in Iran may be.

“I don’t want Mousavi.  I wanted him because I didn’t want Ahmadinejad,” she said.

“You always had to choose between bad and worse; he is not my ideal candidate, but I would settle for him as a step toward democracy.  Dictatorship is what we have with Ahmadinejad and also corruption and destruction for the whole country more than democracy. That is what is at stake here.”

Freedom Glory Project

by Denise Romano, originally published July 10

UPDATE: Freedom Glory Project was featured on CNN on July 20th. Check out the bottom video for the interview.

For the past two weeks, New York City’s rallies in support of the protesters in Iran have become increasingly more dynamic by including artists, especially musicians. Just as Where is My Vote? – New York has become the de facto organizer of NYC’s solidarity gatherings, the Freedom Glory Project has risen to become the most popular musical act among the crowds that have been gathering across Manhattan. They recently made a video (below) to accompany the song “Freedom, Glory Be Your Name,” dedicated to “the people of Iran and the citizens of the world who stand with them.”

Freedom Glory Project will be performing at the Mercury Lounge on Sunday, July 19th at 7 p.m.. All proceeds will go to “keeping the Iranian struggle in the news.”


What Are We Fighting For?

by Denise Romano

Two young Iranians came out to Washington Square last Thursday to support their country with hundreds like them.

Omid, 28, attended the protest because he doesn’t agree with the election results.

“We have to state that Ahmadinejad is not our president,” he said. “We have to free the political prisoners in Iran who are being tortured.”

Sara, 19, agreed.

“Iran is my home,” she said. “We have to show them that people won’t keep silent over here. We are with you every step of the way. I have nothing but respect and pride for my people. Those cruel, savage basij officers that fight them with batons and tear gas…I have nothing but respect for my people.”

The World Is Watching

Omid is pleased with the media’s coverage of the events in Iran, so far.

CNN and BBC have been covering all the news about Iran and its very nice that people get to know what is happening,” he said, adding that it was “very good” of President Obama to lay low. “The movement is against the leader and the people in charge of the country. With the medias coverage, international people now know what is happening in Iran.”

Sara had a different take.

“It is hard to say, but nothing being done is cruel,” she said. “The UN and other organizations have to have some way to help the country. They say, ‘The world is watching,’ but it is time to take some action.”

The Future Of Iran

Both have different ideas of Iran’s future.

Omid is happy with Mousavi.

“Iranians are looking to gather once or twice a week,” he said. “They will plan every day and it is going really well. I want to see Mousavi in power. He will bring democracy to Iran.”

Sara has another take.

“Right now I am not fighting for a velvet revolution, I am fighting to free a thousand prisoners that were taken and being cruelly tortured,” she said. “I am not fighting for a revolution.”

A Constant Pain

by Denise Romano

For Anahita, an Iranian-German visiting New York for a few months, every day is a battle.

“I have been coming to every event there was, every protest and rally,” she said, ” because I just cannot not come and can’t not attend while people in Iran are attending such dangerous demonstrations on the street and risking their lives.”

“I come to express solidarity and sadness and hear myself be among Iranians who share the pain I feel every single second of the day.”

Being outside of Iran makes here feel useless.

“I have a feeling of being helpless,” she noted, while wondering how this situation came about.  “How can evil exist in that type of manifestation [the government]?  How can we change this?”

Change is A’Coming

Anahita thinks that this unrest will not last that much longer.

“Things will change; I have no doubts,” she explained.  “This is something people can pursue. This is a movement that they started.”

With the world watching, things will be easier.

“This regime has been unmasked to the whole world,” Anahita said.  “Everyone knows what kind of cruel military dictatorship that Iranian people have been living under.  I am very hopeful.  This is a good time for people to mobilize themselves and plan something in a more strategic way.”

Waiting for the World to Step In

Anahita is not happy with the international response and the lack of aid for the people of Tehran.

“I am not satisfied with the way America, the UN, the EU, anyone is dealing with this,” she fumed.  “No one is interfering.  Iranian sovereignty is good and fair, but this s a massacre, a human rights violation in the first degree. I know this is happening for a fact.  People are being tortured, how can politicians say ‘This is not good’ and that’s it? They [the governments of America and Europe] are all in the same boat, but I wish to see much more.”

She Just Wants Freedom

Anahita does not think any of the opposition leaders are fit for the job, but for now she is only asking for basic human rights.

“I don’t want to see Mousavi.  He is part and parcel of the rest of them,” she noted. “I want to see democracy and for the people of Iran to have the freedom to vote a parliament or president.  I  don’t care if it’s a monarchy,  just have the people get what they want.  We have to have freedom and equality and justice.”