Saturday, February 03, 2007
To the editors
Re: "A Credit to Her Crown"
The Post is to be commended for highlighting Vancouver's Nazanin Afshin- Jam's successful campaign to free Nazanin Fatehi from Tehran's infamous Evin prison. Ms. Fatehi languished in prison for two years after being sentenced to death for stabbing a man who was trying to rape her. Since there were not four male witnesses to the attempted rape, as required by Shariah law, Ms. Fatehi was convicted of premeditated murder. Her case drew some media attention, but it was not until Ms. Afshin-Jam -- 2003 Miss World Canada -- took the lead that the world really took notice. The decision by Iran's judiciary to reverse itself is almost unprecedented.
At a recent Public Affairs of Montreal conference on "Questions of Values: Ways of Response to the Islamist Challenge," Ms. Afshin-Jam used Ms. Fatehi's story as a case study, illustrating the embedded discrimination that exists under Shariah Law. In this age of universal deceit, when as George Orwell wrote, "merely speaking the truth is a revolutionary act," Ms. Afshin-Jam's actions are truly a passionate profile in courage. Many in Canada like to argue that we are a "reasonable" society, not a passionate one. Yet the two are not mutually exclusive.
Passion is not the opponent of reason. Fear is. And lives fuelled by fear are not very much at all.
Beryl P. Wajsman, president, Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal
Nazanin Afshin-Jam (l.) at Amnesty International's World Day Against
the Death Penalty in Berlin demonstrating for Nazanin Fatehi
As many of you know we have focused much attention on air, and given moral and material support from the Institute, to the singularly heroic work of human rights activist Nazanin Afshin-Jam in her efforts to free 18-year old Nazanin Fatehi from Tehranís notorious Evin prison where she has languished for two years after being sentenced to death for stabbing the man who was trying to rape her. Fatehiís case had drawn some world attention, but it was not until Afshin-Jam, who had already engaged in humanitarian work from Africa to Asia, put her life on hold to lead an international effort to save the life of this young girl facing the hangmanís noose because of Sharia law that the world sat up and took notice.
For more on this story please go to the following link:
Nazanin Afshin-Jam speaking at a recent Institute conference
NEWS & COMMENTARY
A Canadian Profile in Courage
by Beryl Wajsman
February 03, 2007
ďEach time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from thousands of different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.Ē
~ Robert F. Kennedy
Many make the mistake that because we, as a society, strive for reason, that we must therefore abdicate passion. Yet passion is not the opponent of reason. Fear is. And a life fuelled by fear is not very much at all. Nazanin Afshin-Jam did not forget passion and did not submit to fear. In her single-minded pursuit of justice for Nazanin Fatehi she has served as an example for all Canadians making us realize that we are at our best when we transcend our narrow narcissisms and become involved in mankindís transcendent yearnings for redemptive change.