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Young Americans Imprisoned in Iran: One-Year Anniversary Weekend of Action

July 29, 2010

In early June, I interviewed Nora Shourd, the mother of Sarah Shourd, one of the three young Americans detained in Iran for allegedly crossing the Iraq/Iran border while on a vacation from working in Damascus last summer. Saturday, July 31st, marks the one-year anniversary of Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal’s arrest. Since I spoke to Nora a month and a half ago, she has taken her campaign for Sarah’s release to Europe, bringing awareness to her daughter’s situation and building support networks in London and Paris as well as co-writing a letter with the other two mothers to H.E. Ayatollah Sadegh Larigani, the Head of the Iranian Judiciary, and making numerous attempts to speak to those with the power to make a change. And yet, nothing has come of it. The three mothers have yet to speak to their children since the one brief visit afforded them in May, Sarah is still kept in solitary confinement twenty-three hours a day and the group’s lawyer is routinely denied access to his clients, violating due process laws. As the one-year anniversary rapidly approaches, thousands are joining in the effort worldwide, taking the important date as an opportunity to speak out as a collective group on this injustice. The weekend of action, which includes protests, benefit concerts, vigils and walks, begins tonight and continues through Sunday. Below is a list of the events. Please take the time if you can to participate in the one closest to you.

Duluth Minnesota

July 29th, 10pm

Pizza Luce (Benefit Concert)

New York City

July 30th, 12:30-2pm

Outside Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations

622 Third Ave. (3rd Ave & 40th St)

London, UK

July 30th, 12-2pm

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

16 Princes Gate

Vancouver, Canada

July 30th, 6-8pm

6435 Pitt Street (Benefit Concert)

Duluth, Minnesota

July 31st, 2-5:30pm

Lake walk along Lake Superior

Event begins at the Duluth Playground

Washington D.C.

July 31st, 9am-9pm

SAT: Dupont Circle (Vigil & Public Outreach)

San Francisco

July 31st, 12-3pm

16th Street BART plaza (16th and Mission St.)

Paris, France

July 31st, 12-4pm

Protest at the Place d’Iéna (Metro Iéna)

Houston, Texas

July 31st, 12:30-2:30pm

Vigil at Taft Street Coffee and Arts Center

2115 Taft Street

Eugene, Oregon

July 31st, 10am-5pm

Lane County Farmer’s Market

Oak St. between 8th and South Park

St. Paul, Minnesota

July 31st, 12-3pm

Minnesota State Capitol

345 W Kellogg Blvd

Toronto, Canada

August 1st, 7-10pm

Melody Bar at The Gladstone Hotel (Benefit Concert)

1214 Queen Street West

Nora recently told me via email about her and Cindy Hickey’s (Shane Bauer’s mother) visit to the Iranian embassy in London a week ago. She wrote, “Cindy and I had not planned to knock on the door like that but after ringing and ringing and waiting for a long time, it was spontaneous to start banging on the door…that door felt so huge and solid, it reminded me of the gate to Evin Prison, impenetrable and the barrier between me and my daughter…both Cindy and I had an immediate visceral response, that door felt like all the doors that are closed to us, all the doors shut in our face, all the barriers between us and our children…we cannot communicate with the people who are holding them, we cannot talk to them, look them in the eye or tell our story…our children are immaterial to them, not human, not real; just commodities, pieces on the chessboard.. that banging on the door brought all our emotions rushing to the surface…but we’ll keep knocking…we won’t go away.” This weekend’s events are opportunities to join in this knocking, and I encourage all those who can to do so.

For more up-to-date information on the weekend of action and the progress of Sarah, Shane and Josh’s case, visit the Free the Hikers  Campaign’s website, Facebook Page or Twitter Feed.

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