Amnesty Film On Iranian Women's Movement Striking Global Chord
A video shot by Amnesty International to show its support
for the Iranian women's movement is attracting a surprising amount of worldwide
The short but moving film -- posted
on Amnesty's website and on YouTube -- was filmed at last month's Amnesty
International U.K. Student Conference in the English city of Reading. It
features evocative music and shows hundreds of students carrying banners and
standing in support of the
Million Signatures Campaign to end discriminatory laws against
women in Iran.
Not a single word is spoken.
official web site
Heather Harvey, Amnesty International U.K.'s Stop
Violence Against Women campaign manager, says the annual student conference is
always a big event for participants, but doesn't always generate a lot of media
This year was different, she says, with the video sparking calls of support from
the Iranian diaspora, from Kurdish and other ethnic minority groups, and from
student and women's organizations.
"I think it just shows how many people all around the world are actually
watching what is happening in Iran and are supporting the women's campaign,"
Harvey told RFE/RL's
She said the film is not a direct effort to change Iranian laws. That's for the
authorities in Tehran and the Iranian people to do, she says.
"We are trying to show solidarity, to say to the women that we do support what
they're campaigning for. They're simply campaigning for equality and for equal
rights. [Those] equal rights are perfectly within the framework of the Iranian
Constitution, within Islamic women's rights, [within] international human
rights. There is no real conflict."
Harvey calls the One Million Signatures Campaign in Iran "extremely courageous
"What I find shocking, I suppose, is that the Iranian authorities see it as so
threatening," Harvey said, "because all it is is women want to have an equal
role in building and creating their society. If you exclude 50 percent of the
population from decision-making, then ultimately your decisions are going to be
flawed because you're not going to be coming up with policies or solutions that
are really helpful to the whole of that society."
Copyright (c) 2008 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org