Hello everyone! Hope you are fine.
I wanted to apologize for my delay in writing a new lesson. However, as it has been the case for the past several lessons, I don’t seem to be on time anymore. To avoid lots of apologies, let me express my sincere apologies now for all the possible delays in either the past or future! Do not worry though. I will do my best to be as much available as I can.
During all this time, like the majority of people (I don’t mean ‘you’ though!!), I have tried to convince myself that I should keep myself busy with my daily life without paying attention to what’s going on around me. I tried to be a ‘good child’ (as the Iranians say) and a silent teacher! However, silent teachers may become disobedient from time to time! That’s not my fault! We just live in a world where, mostly, unpleasant things happen around us everyday. That’s what turned Hassan the teacher into Hassan the politician today!!!
I am sure all of you are doing your very best to make good progress in your daily life and career. Have you ever asked yourself what good your progress is for if you can not touch people’s heart? What were we good for if we failed to impact others in daily life? How could we call ourselves successful when we are not willing to bring a change? So, please do not think such lessons are a matter of ‘waste of time’. Through your efforts and mine, we can bring a lot of change to this world.
I think the best part of the World Cup 2006 was this message: Say no to racism! This phrase could be good for nothing if we did not put it into practice.
This is our lesson today: The paradoxical behavior of world leaders
Based on news:
– Tens of thousands immigrants and asylum seekers gathered together in streets inside USA to claim their civil right while authorities are busy with their foreign policy! This happens when the United States of America has lost thousands of her soldiers in different countries to so called support freedom and democracy in the world. It happens when millions of American dollars are being allocated to democracy-exporting attempts in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Cuba, and lots of other places in order to keep human right alive in those areas. Seemingly, those who are already inside USA do not deserve the right of human!!
– Thousands of asylum seekers are being treated like animals in camps in Germany . They are desperately in need of basic human right. They are facing serious discrimination and racist behavior while the world leaders, through either their silence or false propaganda, spread anti-foreigner attitudes. This happens when the German government seems deeply concerned about human right in Iran .
– Thousands of asylum seekers in Belgium have been demonstrating for weeks to convince the authorities that they are in need of help. The only answer they have got by now is the well-organized riot police. Many have been arrested and are facing deportation.
– Hundreds of Afghan refugees, who were facing deportation in Norway , went on hunger strike for weeks. The only good news is that different humanitarian sources have pushed the Norwegian government to reconsider their cases. Still, there is no bright horizon for these people.
– Thousands of immigrants and asylum seekers are living like criminal animals in camps in Australia for years while the Australian government is known as one of the pioneers in giving shelters to the homeless.
– Hundreds of asylum seekers, mostly Sudanese, are crying for help inside Sweden with no success.
– Several asylum seekers hanged themselves in Denmark after the Danish government denied them the right to live in that country. Most of such asylum seekers have no choice but to live in an isolated island called Jylland.
– As a result of the UNHCR close cooperation with the riot police in Turkey , hundreds of refugees, who have been living in a terrible condition for years, were beastly attacked just outside the UNHCR office because of their cry for help.
This is just parts of the sufferings people are going through across the globe. What I do not understand is the paradoxical attitudes of world leaders. They endanger their soldiers in different countries to support human right while the right of hundreds of thousands human is being ignored on their very own soil. Could it all be political games? Who are the victims of such games then?
Like it or not, the world leaders are the dictators’ biggest allies at this time. Through what they are doing to such asylum seekers and refugees, the world leaders are pushing these people to love their former governments.
Dear leaders of the world,
Refugees are not a threat. They are threatened. They have left their homeland to seek refuge in your home based on the 1951 Convention you, yourselves, have issued. Please note that diversity enriches your nation. Do not kick them out like animals or you will face the consequences in long term. Do you know how dangerous a man would become when he comes to this conclusion that his former anti-freedom government was better than these so-called freedom and human right exporters? Do you know what would happen when people trust you no more? Do you know the main source of any government is ‘people’ not ‘technology’? Do you know what would happen if you lost the support of your people when they wake up? Do you know false propagandas may not work anymore when people come to know the truth? You are making the world unsafe through the duality in your foreign policy. On one side, you seem to be against one government, and on the other side, you are not willing to give support and shelter to the dissidents of the very same government, who had no choice but to flee their country. You are turning dissident families into loyal supporters. You are taking long and dangerous trips to Middle East , for example, to so-called save this part of the world while the basic right of the very same people is being ignored inside your home. Why do you go to war if it is not for the right of such people? What is the goal behind such huge expenses and propagandas? Is it all for political, commercial, and religious domination? Time will unveil the truth.
I understand some one billion American dollars go to UNHCR as annual budget. Although this budget is big enough to create glorious jobs for many in this organization, the majority of refugee children are still starving everyday. Therefore, I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to suggest you kindly close all UNHCR offices across the globe. This would have a clear message to people of all nations: do not put your hope on others! This is for the good of both your budget and the people in need. In this way, people will not put their hope and trust on any international organizations to come and save them. When they came to know that there is nobody outside their borders to give them a helping hand, they would stay firmly, hand in hand, at home and fight for their own right. In this way, they will not be turned into some political weapons in the hands of some political powers. In this way, they will certainly get the result in a shorter time.
I am sorry for going too far! I am now sure you prefer Hassan the teacher to Hassan the politician; since the teacher was more patient!! Believe me; such a condition demands such anger!!
The next is an interview with Bimarz (Without Borders), the International Organization of Iranian Refugees. I have invited them to join us today here to put you in the picture. Just smile to them to make the picture more pleasant!!!
Special thanks goes to Mr. Saeed Arman for his time and continued attention.
Here is the interview:
Easy Persian: Could you please introduce yourself?
Bimarz: My name is Saeed Arman, the Chief Executive of the International Organization of Iranian Refugees. At the eve of the Iranian revolt against the Shah, I joined the revolution and played an active role in that movement. After the Islamic government of Iran came into power, I joined the military campaign against this regime. I am now in Britain and am proud to say that I am chosen as the chief executive of Bimarz (Without Borders), which is the International Organization of Iranian Refugees. I have had wide variety of activities during all these years including the membership of Worker-communist Party of Iran – Hekmatist
Easy Persian: What is Bimarz and its mission?
Bimarz: As its name suggests, it is simply ‘Without Borders’! This is an organization that supports those who fought for the right of human and as a result, had to flee their country and cross borders! Take a look at Iran , for example. The medieval authorities have beastly tortured and suppressed 70 million Iranians for the past 27 years. They have oppressed workers mercilessly, prohibited any political activities of parties and individuals, imposed medieval conditions on women and turn them into third-class members of our society. They have stoned people to death, murdered some 100 thousands innocent civilians who had not committed any crimes but to cry for freedom, and so on. The result is that more than 3 million Iranians have left their home. What our organization is trying to do is, at least, to create a safe place for those who managed to cross the borders of their country. Fortunately, we have taken great steps by now and have made good progress. We continued the way and the ideology of a great man called Mansour Hekmat who founded the organization 16 years ago. Other activists, such as Gholam Keshavarz who was later assassinated by the Iranian regime’s agents in Cyprus , put their minds and attempts into this movement to let it grow. Ideologically, our organization is a secular and progressive body that seeks friendship and companionship with anybody whose heart is beating for human right and freedom; regardless of their nationality, religion, political ideas, and ideological approaches.
Easy Persian: Could you please tell us the situation of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe in brief?
Bimarz: Unfortunately, it is hard to explain. The situation of refugees and asylum seekers have been deteriorating year after year since the early nineties and the end of the cold war. And this strengthened racism, fascism, and religious domination. The same governments that signed the 1951 Convention began to ignore it gradually. Of course, not all of them. Some of them remained flexible; under pressure! And some who are still seeking cheap labor prefer to accept millions of workers and immigrants from Eastern Europe , who are mostly skilled workers.
The result is that, instead of giving more facilities to immigrants and asylum seekers, these governments have started to increase the number of immigration officers!! They have decided to build detention centers that are huge enough to be a house for thousands of people! By this, they have created a different hell for those who fled their countries with the hope of finding peace and freedom.
The European countries try to deal with the refugee crisis in a well-organized and harmonious way. They have issued more restricting rules unanimously. They even hold conferences on this. From among others, Sweden , Germany , Britain , and Belgium have the largest number of asylum seekers. Consequently, there are tougher situation and campaign in these countries.
Easy Persian: Approximately, how many people are waiting for their resettlement in Europe and what is their nationality?
Bimarz: This is also a tough question. Even the governments, with lots of facilities, have not been able to give a clear number. Naturally, it is more difficult for us to know! However, based on the papers released by governments, I can give you some numbers. In Britain , for example, in July this year, there are 310 – 510 thousands including asylum seekers, immigrant workers, and even students who are not willing to repatriate although their visa is expired. On July 19, the authorities announced that the real number is much more than this. Such people are staying here illegally. I have no doubt that there are also thousands of others who have been waiting for their residence permit or resettlement for years. I guess most of them will face the same situation as those illegal workers and students by near future. This is just in England .
In Sweden , tens of thousands are living in hide like shadows or ghosts. Their children, instead of playing and enjoying their childish world, are oppressed and depressed in hide. They cannot even go to school. They are ignored the basic right of human. They are witnessing the sufferings their parents are going through. These are happening in such countries that are known as freedom, democracy, and human right pioneers.
As another example, more than 100 thousands of different nationalities are desperately waiting in Belgium .
In total, I could say more than one million people are waiting in Europe . They are living in a terrible condition. They spend most of their life in detention centers, refugee camps, hostels, and even in a small room under rooftops. Besides, they ought to be worried day and night since the immigration police may break into their shelters at any time and take them away. This has happened several times.
Easy Persian: How long have they been waiting for an answer, and what answer do they usually get from authorities?
Bimarz: It depends. Some of them have been waiting for 11 years to get a paper that releases them from homelessness. 11 years to get their ID! In countries like Germany , Sweden , Britain , and Belgium , it mostly takes 2 – 6 years to get such a paper (if they are lucky to get accepted!). Countries mostly have a clear answer: ‘ Iran is safe!’ In some cases, if they show more kindness, they would say, “at least, you will not get stoned like those homosexuals or minority tribes!” More than 90 percent get such answers. They mostly keep these asylum seekers in a long and decaying waiting period so that some of them commit suicide. Some burn themselves; some hang themselves. The result is death. Sometimes, they face such terrible conditions that decide to go on a hunger strike, which takes the joy of a normal life away from them.
Easy Persian: How do the authorities treat these refugees and asylum seekers?
Bimarz: In most cases, they treat them like criminals. They assume every asylum seeker is a liar. So, there is no trust. I remember in 2001, a 27 year-old Iranian killed himself in a hotel in Leicester . We got there and, with lots of difficulties, managed to invite mass media to the hotel. This made the State Ministry react in such words, “We would certainly reconsider Mr. Ramin Khaleghi’s case if he had appealed!” Remedy after death! It sounds stupid. What was surprising was that the Medical Foundation, which is a civil right defender, had certified that Mr. Ramin Khaleghi was tortured in Iran .
Easy Persian: How do the local people deal with this crisis? Do they care, or, they are just busy with their own daily life?
Bimarz: They are mostly silent because of lack of information. They do not know what is happening in their neighborhood. Besides, their daily life struggles have made them forgetful! However, there are some humanitarian bodies that have devoted their life to supporting such homeless people. They defend the right of civilians, which after September 11, is ignored very easily. After September 11, governments put people in jails for months and even years with the name of possible threat to the society; with the name of war on terrorism. People even get kidnapped. I believe humanity is a lot weaker after September 11. The authorities try to so-called defend themselves against terrorism and this makes it really hard to defend the right of an asylum seeker. This, however, does not mean that they would be able to block all ways of struggles that lead to a change. This does not mean that people should remain silent and not try to change this inhumane attitudes and approaches. That is why we, as a movement, exit. That is why we try to bring a change. That is why we try to impose ourselves on governments to convince them to deal with these human beings in a human way.
We, at Bimarz, are very small part of a big family of humanitarian activists and need your support. Such a huge job cannot be done without the help of people, especially those in Europe .
Easy Persian: I understand a lot of refugees have been demonstrating in Belgium for some time. Even, many of them have been striking in churches and other places. How many asylum seekers are protesting there? What is the reason of this protest? And, what answer or possible support they have received from either authorities or the church elders in Belgium ?
Bimarz: Yes. More than 100 thousand human of different ages, children, young adults, adults, parents, and old-aged, from wide variety of countries including Africa, Iran , Algeria , Iraq and so on, have been desperately waiting for an answer for more than 6-7 years. Each person has a limited capacity. They cannot wait forever. So, their dissatisfaction of the current situation burst out in the form of a public demonstration at different locations in Belgium , including inside churches in Brussels . Many of them, who are Iranian, have gone on a hunger strike. They are struggling in a very tragic situation.
Although Bimarz does not support the idea of hunger strike since we believe this will hurt their own body, we have been doing all we can to stay close to them to give them a helping hand. We also publicly announce that we would consider the Belgian government as responsible for any kind of the consequences these asylum seekers might face because of their hunger strike.
Quite unfortunately, the Belgian government has chosen ‘Force’ against these people. They don’t seem to respect ‘the life campaign’ of these asylum seekers. They haven’t shown any support by now. However, the good news is that there are some humanitarian organizations and churches that are ceaselessly supporting these helpless people.
Easy Persian: What role can people of the world play to help these homeless asylum seekers? How can they help?
Bimarz: They need to learn that the right of civilians should be the top priority of their life. If they learn to defend the life of human, regardless of their race, nationality, religion, and background, they are automatically on the path of helping these asylum seekers. To be specific, our societies are missing ‘Helpers’. We need to create more and more humanitarian centers, movements, and organizations that care for the right and life of people. Let us forget about color, race, religion, nationality. Let us stay together, hand in hands, to support the life of human. The authorities have been trying to make ‘asylum seeking’ a criminal act. They treat these asylum seekers as if they are all criminals. We need to stand up and tell the world that they are not criminals. They are human who are looking for a safe place to live. They need to have the same rights as others do. This is their right.
Easy Persian: What does Bimarz or these asylum seekers expect of the world leaders who claim to have been defending freedom and democracy?
Bimarz: It could be better if you asked, “What do you expect of people of the world, not of leader!” A person like President Bush is not expected to give democracy and peaceful life to either Americans or others who live at the other side of this planet. Rather, it’s people of the world, who can bring a change. It’s people of the world, who can tell their governments that they are wrong. I strongly believe people need to take action to support the right of asylum seekers before we face worse and worse conditions. People should learn not to be indifferent on this matter.
Easy Persian: Do you have any particular message to share with the easypersian.com visitors?
Bimarz: First, let me thank everybody for all the efforts they do to bring a change. Let me say that what you do is deeply appreciated. I also hope that we could have closer cooperation with each other so that, through you, the non-Persian world may hear such cries for help.
Easy Persian: I understand most part of Bimarz webpage is in Persian. Could you give us a specific page where non-Persians can reach in order to help or offer donation?
Bimarz: We are trying to present Bimarz in English too. To do so, we need help. Let me use this opportunity to ask those, whose heart is beating for others, to get involved in this humanitarian campaign. Let us know if you want to give us a hand in any possible field.
Also, we welcome your financial support since Bimarz does not get any financial help from any government. We have managed to survive on others’ donations. You are more than welcome if you want to help. Donations could be sent through the bank account of Bimarz, which is provided below. Help us help those in need.
Easy Persian: Thank you very much for your time and attention. Like all of you, the easypersian.com is impatiently looking for a world without such tensions and brutalities.
Bimarz: I also thank you warmly for your time and attention.
July 20, 2006
Here is the bank account:
Account Holder: Iranian Refugee Organisation
Name of Bank: HSBC Bank
Account Number: 21843575
Chief executive: saeed_arman2002[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot] uk
Note: We held this interview in Persian. Then, Hassan (the teacher) translated it into English. My apologies for any possible translation mistakes. Special thanks to Agha Javad for his corrections.
All right, this was the lesson today. Please go to Useful Drills page to take a break!
See you soon.
And, here is a very nice video clip / slide show. This clip is not on Easy Persian server. Please right-click and choose ‘Save Target As’ to download it. It is a considerably big file. Please be patient!
Imagine – By: Siavash Ghomeishi => The MP3 version of this song and the English translation is available on Useful Drills 131