On Tuesday, May 3, 2011, the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s 12th civilian diplomacy delegation to Iran arrived in Tehran. The delegation is composed of eight U.S. citizens traveling from New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Vermont. This initial report, sent by delegation co-leaders Sandra Mackie and Judy Bello, was sent from Tehran on Wednesday, May 4th.
First thing this morning, the weary travelers set off for the War Films Association with anticipation of scenery that is difficult to see. Little did we expect to see a film made to teach children reconciliation. The film, starring popular Iranian film stars and many Iranian and Iraqi children, was a celebration of friendship and good will. The children were from the towns of Abadan and Khorramshahr which lie along the banks of the Shatt Al Arab waterway, the southern boundary between Iran and Iraq. The film was made by writer and filmmaker Habib Ahmadzadeh who experienced the Iran Iraq war through the invasion of Abadan when he was a teenager. This experience has resulted in him becoming a peace activist through his writing and films.
Prior to showing the film, Habib talked to us about his commitment to regional peace and reconciliation and his deep concerns about the destructive effects of western intervention. He has great faith in a better future through regional rapprochement and understanding among peoples. He also believes that the children will make the future. That is why he has worked to create a just society through teaching the children peace and respect for one another across national and ethnic boundaries.
Habib was joined by Professor Mohammed Reza Sharafoddin, who is the director of the Association of War Films and a professor at Tehran University. They gave us copies of Habib’s books, Chess with Doomsday Machine and A City Under Seige, and several of his films, including the one we previewed in our meeting. When asked if we could show the films to audiences in the U.S., he said that they are “Open Source.” Very generous.
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