Iran News ...


18 Tir Anniversary Events in Toronto

By Arash Azizi, Salam Toronto

"We like Toronto because of its Iranians" Saman and his wife told me, an Iranian couple who live in London and were visiting Toronto last week. They enthusiastically witnessed thousands of Iranians forming a human chain in the northern parts of mighty Yonge Street. It's not like they haven't seen that many Iranians in London before, but they observed a different type of Iranian community here in Toronto, and it certainly was the right observation. The Iranian community here consists of a younger population who are more active and energetic since they are more recent immigrants. Something the Iranians in Europe would like to have.

It has become clear that the Iranians in Toronto rise and fall with the ups and downs of Tehran. That's why when Iranians in Tehran came out after an 11 day period of relative calm, the Iranians in Toronto followed suit. It was the 10th anniversary of the 9th of July, 1999 students' uprisings, an important occasion to many. On that day, the government succeeded in silencing the protesters, something that doesn't seem to be going so smoothly this time around.

Torontonians came out in the thousands and occupied Yonge Street from Mel Lastman square up to Yonge & Steeles. Richmond Hill residents had a chain of their own which started at Yonge & 16th and went all the way up to the Yonge & Major Mackenzie intersection and beyond.

Iranians were shouting, chanting, singing hymns, and lighting candles in remembrance of those who fell on July 9th of 1999 and also those who were killed in the last few weeks of protests and demonstrations in Iran.

"Yare Dabestani" (My schoolmate) was the most favorite hymn among protesters. One could see that more and more are learning it these days; those who never knew it, those who had forgotten it, and those who scarcely speak any Farsi at all are picking it up for this purpose. There were even some cards with the song lyrics written on them being held up or distributed among the people.

Another prevalent theme was a long scroll that came either in green or white (colors carrying significant political themes now) and it carried signatures of those who called Ahmadinejad's presidency invalid. This is being done all over Canada (from Vancouver to Halifax) and in many other parts of the world aiming to gain the attention of United Nations and to record Ahmadinejad as the most hated president in history in the World Guinness book! The scrolls are supposedly going to be linked to each other and then attached to the CN Tower, Paris's Eiffel Tower and other famous buildings.


Ying, a Chinese-Canadian who came into this country four years ago, got my attention and that of many other people's. She, who clearly was a non-Iranian, was there carrying a sign of protest. I talked with her and it turned out that she is there by the suggestion of an Iranian friend and ex-classmate, Niloufar. Ying, like many other people around the world, had closely read about the events and called protesting against Ahmadinejad "a worthy cause" that she would gladly join. She, as a resident of Willowdale, had many links with the Iranian community. When she first came to Canada, she attended Future Skills, an Iranian-owned high school, and was the only non-Iranian person in her whole class. Ying told me that as a resident of Willowdale, she feels that she can't ignore what is going on in Iran while it affects many of her neighbors and friends.

This one example of a Chinese-Canadian supporting Iranians goes to show us that the Iranians community of Toronto stands in a high place today. It goes to show that the protests of thousands of Iranians will never fall on deaf ears. Their struggles will ensure that no Canadian will ever take Ahmadinejad's word as the word of the Iranian people.

... Payvand News - 07/14/09 ... --

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