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.


Global Day of Action for Iran in New York City, 7/25

See the full slideshow by clicking here.

by Denise Romano

More than 2,000 people turned out in New York City to march from Time Square to the United Nations in support of those denied basic human rights in Iran as part of the Global Day of Action for Iran.

The march began with a massive turnout in Times Square, where organizers led chants, gave pep speeches, and sang Persian protest songs. A smaller group of monarchists gathered across the street, separated because of disagreements the two groups have about the future of Iran.

From Times Square, attendees marched to the South African mission to the United Nations to pay homage to the anti-apartheid movement, with one organizer reminding the crowd that if “they can do it in South Africa, they can do it in Iran.” The crowd then moved to the Iranian mission to the United Nations and sang Yare Dabestani, a song popularized in the 1979 Revolution, and now reclaimed by the Green Movement.

Finally, thousands poured into Dag Hammerskjold Plaza across the street from United Nations headquarters. There, they listened to speeches by Mehdi Saharkhiz, son of a publisher imprisoned in Iran; Ken Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch; and Mansour Farhang, the IRI’s first ambassador to the United Nations. Three musical acts also performed, including Freedom Glory Project and Fared Shafinury.

NYC for Iran’s partner organization, Finding Bibi, also live-tweeted from the march and the UN rally. View them by clicking here.

See the full photo slideshow by clicking here. Also, be sure to check out the videos below.

Fast for Iran at the United Nations, Day 3, 7/24

by Denise Romano

Check out the full slideshow by clicking here.

On the third and final day of the Fast/Hunger Strike for Iran at the United Nations, as with other days, hundreds of Iranians from New York to Vancouver to Norway turned out in solidarity with protesters in Iran.

Today capped off an incredibly successful week for organizers of the Hunger Strike for Iran. Iranian and other celebrities, including Noam Chomsky, Isabella Rossellini, and Gogoosh, all made appearances.

In addition to some devoted participants in the fast, attendees signed enormous cloth scrolls. They heard speeches in Farsi and English from writers, scholars, students, family of those imprisoned, and celebrities. They brandished roses as protesters in Kerman had done. Musicians, including Freedom Glory Project, performed and organizers led chants.

The fast built momentum for tomorrow’s Global Day of Action, where thousands upon thousands are expected to turnout worldwide at events in support of the protesters across the Islamic Republic.

Popular NYC-area Twitter user @OnlyMehdi live-tweeted all three days of the fast. Click here to see the whole slideshow, or watch the videos below for more. Note: The video speeches are all in Farsi.

Fast for Iran at the United Nations, Day 2, 7/23

by Denise Romano

The fast/hunger strike for Iran outside of the United Nations, which started Wednesday, begins its final day today.  The event has not only received extensive mention in the American press, but worldwide as well.  Mir Hossein Mousavi’s Facebook page has displayed videos from the fast, and mentions of the gathering have been seen on BBC Persian and Voice of America.  Hundreds have attended each day, from ordinary Iranian-Americans showing their solidarity to prominent writers, scholars, and celebrities.

NYC for Iran didn’t make it to day two, but as day three begins, we share with you videos and accounts directly from some of the attendees and organizers at yesterday’s gathering.  Thanks to all for bringing these to our attention:

Live-tweets of each day’s events are available from @OnlyMehdi, a trusted NYC-area Twitter user whose father is imprisoned in Iran.

CNN has reported on the first and second days so far

Akbar Ganji speaks – July 23rd

Noam Chomsky visits the fast – July 23rd

Faramaz Aslani plays for the crowd – July 23rd

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.”

Fast for Iran at the United Nations, Day 1, 7/22

by Denise Romano

See the full slideshow by clicking here.

UPDATE: CNN also attended the event. See their report, posted here.

Several Green Movement groups in New York have organized a 3-day fast outside of the United Nations. Hundreds turned out throughout the first day, today, to stand in solidarity with the protesters in Iran. A scroll and painting were signed by the attendees; speakers visited throughout the day, including some of the Iranian-American community’s most popular voices; and many of the participants refrained from eating from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

As one photo shows, a very small group of monarchists attended, but had to stand across the street from the main gathering, unwelcome by a crowd with as little tolerance for the Pahlavi enthusiasts.

Speakers included Akbar Ganji, Googoosh, Fatemeh Haqiqatjoo, Mehrangiz Kar, Edbi, Hamid Dabashi, and Isabella Rossellini.

Check out the full slideshow or the videos below. Interviews with some of the attendees will follow.

The fast continues tomorrow and Friday, followed Saturday by a march from Times Square to the United Nations as part of the Global Day of Action. Popular NYC-area Twitter user @OnlyMehdi live-tweeted today’s event and will continue through the week.

Information on this week’s events can be found on these sites:
Fast/Hunger Strike for Iran – Official Facebook page for the fast/hunger strike at the United Nations
Global Day of Action, New York – Official Facebook event page for New York’s Global Day of Action
Fast/Hunger Strike for Iran – Official website for the fast (mostly Persian)

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.”