March 18, 2022
Here for our supporters input are draft plans for the current period, in process.
The International Emergency Campaign (IEC) is as needed a vehicle as ever. The content of our Appeal and our website form key political tools to guide our singularly focused mission to free Iran’s political prisoners. By rallying the freedom loving people worldwide, this campaign provides REAL hope for the dignity and freedom of the prisoners, to fight for and in our own interests – not to promote false hope by relying on negotiating and pleading with “higher powers” or governments who always have and will act on their own interests.
- The IEC sets the correct moral and political terms for actually freeing the prisoners with its powerful content and demands, its wide embrace of justice-seeking people, and the breadth and prominence of our Appeal’s many global signers – from 40 countries and every continent save Antarctica.
- Critically and uniquely, we call on people in the U.S. and globally to stand against the Islamic Republic’s vile repression of the political dissidents in Iran, while also opposing U.S. threats or aggression on Iran.
- The IEC has crossed borders and forged an international community of people from all walks of life and cultures fighting for Iran’s political prisoners.
Now we need to CONTINUE to spread this campaign more broadly and deeply into all sections of society and enlist many more people worldwide.
WHAT’S BEEN ACCOMPLISHED SO FAR
The International Emergency Campaign has accomplished a lot in 2021 and early 2022:
- IEC and Burn the Cage/Free the Birds (BTC) supporters joined efforts that reached thousands at International Women's Day (IWD) events 2022 in several cities in Europe. A major article (in Farsi) appeared in the online news outlet IranWire on its homepage about the IEC efforts in Paris. The article quoted activists and the Emergency Appeal extensively. Banners and placards with the names and faces of political prisoners in Iran, along with IEC's demands, appeared in IWD marches and events in Paris, France; Berlin, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf, Germany; and Helsinki, Finland. These and other actions (more below) are key to forging closer working relationships between the IEC, the BTC movement in Europe, family members of prisoners such as #freeNahid, as well as with IEC supporters worldwide including among media outlets, academics, journalists, human rights and social justice individuals and groups.
- IEC supporters in Bogotá, Colombia, protested at the Iranian Embassy on January 8, 2022, carrying posters about the political prisoners highlighted on IEC’s website gallery. They then marched through town stopping to read individual cases aloud and explained to passersby why they should take up the struggle for Iranian political prisoners as their own.
- As the Islamic Republic marked the 43rd anniversary of its oppressive rule during the first week of February, the IEC paired with Radio Pooya for a week of programming to say, “Free Iran's Political Prisoners Now!”, themed HEROISM FOR OUR TIME. Throughout the week, listeners in many countries heard diverse voices in interviews of human rights activists, filmmakers of Nasrin, activists with #freeNahid, BTC, as well as the IEC itself -- all united in exposing the horrific repression of Iran’s political resisters and demanding their freedom.
- A highly successful Zoom program hosted by the IEC and San Francisco’s United Universalist Society Social Forum was held on January 9, 2022. Powerful presentations were given by Larry Everest of the IEC, Mariam Claren of the #FreeNahid Campaign, emeritus professor Dr. Azam Niroomand-Rad, as well as ex-political prisoner and human rights activist Lawdan Bazargan. The whole program was live-streamed on Radio Pooya reaching over 30,000 listeners worldwide (5K inside Iran).
- There were also two inspiring and informative programs involving prominent voices of conscience such as PEN, Ariel Dorfman and revolutionary artists along with IEC, #freeNahid, and BTC/FTB activists in February and September 2021. These were online events hosted by Revolution Books New York co-sponsored by the IEC.
- Issuing the Emergency Appeal in March 2021, circulating it, gaining high-profile signatories, and raising over $14,000 to publish it as an ad in the Summer issue of the New York Review of Books, as well as taking out online ads for it in The Nation and Ms magazines.
- Creating a beautifully designed and resource-filled website in English with a Farsi page. Translating the Emergency Appeal into 6 languages: French, German, English, Spanish, Farsi and Turkish.
- Timely updates, press releases, interviews and articles by IEC, BTC/FTB and #free Nahid activist or supporters in Ms. Magazine, CounterPunch and CounterCurrent, IranWire. There have also been numerous radio interviews on Pacifica Radio (KPFK, KPFA and WBAI) and Radio Pooya. The Emergency Campaign has been spread on social media and discussed in Farsi and English Clubhouses.
All this has put the Campaign’s demands and position before hundreds of thousands.
GOING FORWARD: KEY FRONTS OF WORK, STAYING ALERT TO NEW DEVELOPMENTS
Building on what we have achieved, we need to take the International Emergency Campaign to a whole new level to achieve our goal. Many more people worldwide could replicate the example of Bogota, Colombia as well as IWD in Europe in radically simple ways (see IEC website for details and materials). Here are some key ways we can advance in the coming weeks and months:
- We need to get the news of this campaign and the Emergency Appeal further out globally. We can enlist many more signers of the Appeal and other supporters to help spread this campaign on the streets and online, to donate and raise funds, issue solidarity statements, provide quotes for press releases or updates, and share their thinking about going forward. Reach new spheres of society to sign and circulate the Appeal (e.g., post it on blogs and FB, IG), and to support the work of the IEC such as contacting progressive journalists and artists (musicians, filmmakers, screenwriters, and actors).
- Publishing the Emergency Appeal in other publications in the US in 2022, and in other countries and languages, possibly Germany, Turkey, Canada, France, the UK and elsewhere in working to isolate the IRI politically, limiting its freedom to brutalize prisoners, and stepping up the pressure on it to free them.
- As part of reaching out to students broadly, contact campus newspapers to interview IEC spokespeople, supporters among students or faculty on campus or the community, and publish the Emergency Appeal or link to it. A proposal is being readied soon to have two days of classroom and campus programs on this campaign with IEC and BTC activists in early June. This proposal will be posted during the next week on IEC website. Stay tuned.
In the words of world-renowned Argentine-Chilean-American novelist, playwright, and human rights activist Ariel Dorfman:
"If I have signed on to the Emergency Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran, it is because I know that this initiative will effectively call attention to the situation of men and women in that country who, if enough pressure is brought to bear on its leaders, could tomorrow be liberated from terrible conditions and extraordinary injustice…I am convinced – from personal experience – that the prisoners themselves are given strength to survive and persevere …They know others, faraway, care what happens to them, and we should not let them down.” (Read complete statement)
In sum, many more people worldwide now need to join with the IEC in all aspects, to sign, spread and donate to the IEC, and to publish the Emergency Appeal again in a major outlet as a powerful tool to shine the global spotlight on the situation of, and the fight to free, Iran’s political prisoners.
WHO WE ARE: The IEC was formed in the U.S. in late 2020 in solidarity with a call from supporters, friends, and families of Iran’s political prisoners and the “Burn the Cage, Free the Birds” movement in Europe…. (Go to About Us for full description)
IEC national team March 2022