The Amnesty International Southern Oregon Chapter and the SOU UN Club are cosponsoring an event focused on the right to education for Baha’i populations in Iran. Details are below and in our press release (PDF). Here’s a newspaper article about our event.
Please join us for a Film, Gallery Walk and Panel Discussion. You can also learn more about the issue and how to take action here.
- Date: January 16, 2012
- Time: 5-7PM
- Place: SOU (Stevenson Union Rogue River Room), Ashland, OR
Film: Education Under Fire
This powerful 30-minute documentary, produced by Single Arrow Productions and co-sponsored by Amnesty International, is about the Baha’is of Iran who are being imprisoned simply for trying to provide and receive an education. (See details below, and on the film website.)
Discussion: Iran is imprisoning Baha’i for trying to go to universities and provide higher education. How can we protect the human right to education for all?
- Dr. James Phillips, SOU Professor of Anthropology
- Dr. James will speak about the UN Declaration of Human Rights Article 26, providing for the right to education
- Dr. David Young, Physician and Baha’i National Committee Member
- Dr. Young will speak about Iranian persecution of Baha’i and provide background on the Baha’i religion
- Robin McFarland, BIHE teacher
- Ms. McFarland will speak to the risks students are taking trying to get this university education
Details on the film:
Education Under Fire profiles the growth, struggle, and inspiring spirit of the Baha´i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE). Baha´is in Iran have been subjected to systematic persecution, including arrests, torture, and execution simply for refusing to recant their beliefs. They are also prohibited from going to college (and blocked from many professions). In 1987, the semi-underground BIHE was formed to give young Baha´is their only chance for a university-level education. Despite repeated raids and arrests, volunteer teachers and administrators created an independent, decentralized university system that has lifted the lives of thousands of Baha´i students across Iran. In May 2011, an organized assault was launched by the Iranian government in an attempt to shut down the BIHE. Over 30 homes were raided and over a dozen BIHE professors and administrators were detained. Several are still in prison for doing nothing more than trying to teach. The film connects a diverse audience to a grave human rights issue, a powerful story of resilience against oppression, and the need to respect human rights everywhere.
Filmed in nine cities with a dozen BIHE students or teachers (several whose parents were imprisoned or executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran), plus: Bani Dugal (Representative of the Baha´i International Community to the United Nations), Elise Auerbach (Iran Specialist for Amnesty International), Hadi Ghaemi (with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran), Hamid Dabashi (Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University), and Dr. Ramin Ahmadi (Co-founder of Iran Human Rights Documentation Center). The film features footage and photos spanning two decades of BIHE classes, rare video from inside Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, and photos and a film that bring alive a series of personal stories.
In the documentary, BIHE graduate Shahrzad Missaghi expresses a shared resolve, “The government can crush our bodies, but they cannot crush the mind and soul.” Mojdeh Rohani, a BIHE graduate whose father was executed in 1981, says, “We can use this experience to not only just think about ourselves and what is important to us, but to look at the bigger picture; to think of people of this world as they were our own family.” That is the larger, universal message of this film. Education Under Fire will inform and move a diverse audience around the world.