Iranian Journalist and Media Researcher living in exile in Switzerland and Sweden.
Monday, November 30, 2009
The Nobel Peace Story!
The story begins in November when Barack Obama was announced the next Nobel Laureate in Peace.
I asked a total of ten intellectuals, poets, directors, and artists if they thought it would be a good idea to send an open letter to the committee in Oslo. The letter was to request an invite for the families of the victims from the protest movement to be invited to the ceremony.
Immediately, the idea received positive responses. We then decided to ask other artists and even political activists in exile to join us. Very soon we received over 100 signatures of mostly well-known dissenters in exile.
Despite the encouraging response, we also received a few negative reactions. A blogger in Stockholm ridiculed us and questioned why we would want to send a copy to the Nobel academy in Stockholm. The blogger also questioned why it was necessary to send copies of the letter to the EU foreign committee and the EU Parliament.
A member from the group who wrote the letter answered the blogger, "We will draw more attention to the current situation in Iran and this cause may contribute to that." Yet, the blogger still insisted on writing against me.
I also received negative feedback from a well-known satirist in London. He wrote to me: "This [letter] is only for amusement purposes and you are wasting your time." I answered that I knew this and explained how this could draw more attention to the human rights violations in Iran.
Surprisingly some famous leftist activists showed no sign of disagreement with sending a copy to US FM and some non- leftists didnt like it.
Even one of my friends who is a well-known lawyer and the daughter of a well-known author removed me from her friends list on Facebook.
It was obvious that some people did not agree with the idea. Since the American President was announced the winner of the Nobel Peace prize, some people were against sending a copy of the letter to the American Foreign Ministry.
However, for us, the only issue that mattered was to use the opportunity to draw more attention to the crisis in Iran.
Delivering the open letter was delayed significantly since it was not yet determined who should receive it. All polemics about who should receive the copy and how to send it caused a long delay. A few days before the ceremony I sent it to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo and nowhere else.
Perhaps the open letter was written at the wrong time since many main stream Persian media in abroad refused to publish or broadcast it; regardless of the many well-known names who signed it.
At the end, it proved difficult to find a large group of more than 10 intellectuals in the Iranian exile community who are able to work together. Even if they could, it was almost certain that they would be attacked verbally from other exiled Iranians, even friends. This is probably the reason why many people in exile prefer to work alone or in small groups.
In Persian we say that homework not yet written have no mistakes. But it seems like our homework are full of mistakes. While people in Iran are fighting in the streets, we cannot join together and perform our responsibilities by working as a united team; a real handicap for the Iranian community abroad.