Tag Archives: Iran

Iran Teach-In

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On  June 28, 2012, the Granny Peace Brigade presented an Iran Teach-In, featuring Phyllis Bennis and Nima Shirazi.

Links to videos of
Nima Shirazi
Phyllis Bennis

Phyllis Bennis is Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. A writer, analyst and activist, she is a co-founder of the US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation and co-chair of the UN-based International Coordinating Network on Palestine, as well as the author and co-editor of eight books on US foreign policy.

Nima Shirazi  is a political analyst whose commentary appears on his blog Wide Asleep in America, on Muftah.org as a co-editor of the Iran pages  and in numerous online publications including Foreign Policy Journal, Monthly Review, Mondoweiss and CASMII.

Sponsored by the Peace and Justice Task Force of All Souls Church in New York City, the speakers had the benefit of a full house and lively discussion following this  successful event.

-Ann Shirazi
for the Granny Peace Brigade

How I learned about Iran through NoRuz

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About 4 years ago, I was found in Union Square Park by the Granny Peace Brigade. This changed my life. Its members have tons of energy and passion for Peace, and accomplish so much. They are fun to be with and I love them. First, I took part in their Phone-a-thons, then got involved with the Legislative Committee and helped with actions of the Counter-Recruitment and No Bases Committees.

Now I’m privileged to be learning about the history and culture of Iran.

This spring, the GPB decided it was critical speak out along with others who are trying to Prevent Another War, namely on Iran.

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The first event held on February 4th started with a demonstration in front of the New York Times’ building, protesting the newspaper’s coverage as being distorted and even war-mongering, and calling on the Public Editor to correct the coverage. Then we marched to Times Square for a larger rally and on to the UN Missions of Israel and the United States, all along passing out our literature.  After its disgraceful role in the lead up to the war in Iraq, we were outraged that once again, the Times is using innuendo and bluster to gin up the drive to attack Iran.

At a meeting to plan a second event, I mentioned that I knew very little about the country, other than that the US had overthrown Mosaddegh in 1953, and that in 1979 the country overthrew the Shah [King] and became an Islamic Republic. I wished there could be tourism between the two countries so I could go there and get to understand it better.

Even before learning much about the country, I also couldn’t understand the purpose of the sanctions that are spoken of so highly by governments trying to look like they would do anything to prevent themselves from bombing another country too hastily.  What has Iran done that requires other countries to punish them?  Will this punishing action [sanctions] make them toe the line, which line?  Has Iran, or its leaders, been given a list of things to do, or not do, which will cause ending of the sanctions? Aren’t sanctions, like a blockade, an act of war?

Ann Shirazi then told the committee that a way of making people aware of the Iranian culture was right in front of our faces, because NowRuz was coming.

What’s NowRuz, or NoRuz?

2012_03_21Haft-Seen-table
NoRuz means New Year and it’s known as the Persian New Year.  It began 3000 years ago in the Zoroastrian civilization and is celebrated today in the Middle East, South East Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Northern Africa. It occurs from the first day of spring for 13 days and includes preparing a table with [at least] seven items beginning with the letter “S” which symbolize things like peace, hope, rebirth, love, fertility, patience, health and beauty. The table is called a HaftSeen table which means seven S’s. Some of the items are familiar — garlic, vinegar, apples, and others are less so — crushed sumac berries (a red powder, like paprika), samanu (a sweet wheat pudding) and sabzeh (sprouts that look like the catnip in the green market).

As we planned when and where we would do the action and who would do what, I asked Ann to recommend a book about the country and its history.  She gave the names of two: “All the Shah’s Men,” and “The Ayatollah Begs to Differ.” I got both books from the library and read them quickly, learning so much more about the people and their values and the 20th century history of Iran.

Ann and I took a short bus ride to New Jersey to a fair in a hotel that was held to help people buy the ingredients for NoRuz. She told me stories of her visits to Iran over the years that gave me more of a feeling for the generosity and warmth of the people.

A few days before our second event, the Left Forum had a panel discussion about the looming war fever where I learned even more.

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The second event on March 21st, the second day of Spring, took place in Times Square where we had a table with the seven S items and others, and passed out literature to the public explaining the  holiday and providing Facts About Iran.

I look forward to deepening my understanding about Iran as we plan additional events.   We hope to have a Teach-In in the coming months with experts who can explain more about the political, moral and economic aspects of world behavior toward Iran.

-Edith Cresmer
for the Granny Peace Brigade
Photos 1 & 3: Masahiro Hosoda
Photos 2: Caroline Chinlund

Letter to the OWS Peace Committee

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Hi Geoff,
Although we haven’t been to an Anti-War meeting since the first one, we feel the need to weigh in on the Iran issue. We have been somewhat involved with  OWS since the beginning, and support every aspect of its mission. So it is distressing to read the emails regarding the stance that OWS is considering in relation to the threats against Iran.

I am an American-born Iranian citizen  (member of the Granny Peace Brigade) married to a native Iranian for over 40 years. We go to Iran frequently. In fact we just returned last month and are making a return trip this month due to family illness. We have a huge family in Iran and so are involved with daily life and attitudes there. Iran, like all countries , has societal problems, and Iran is no exception. But as an American, for every human rights violation I read about in Iran, I think about the number of crimes in my own country, from Guantanamo  to our prison industrial system, to the increasing abuse of power by our government on human rights – invasions and murders, secret prisons around the world for “extraordinary rendition[sic]; domestically, the death penalty, HR 347, the Military Commissions Act, NDAA, Patriot Act,  torture, rapes and assassinations; and locally, as you know, the unending harassment and arrests of so many of us out on the street.

Iranians are more than capable of making changes in their own country. We cannot forget that Iran is one of the few countries that had a successful revolution to overthrow an American puppet regime. Because of this, it has been under attack and sanctions for over thirty years. In addition, some of the people who have written to you seem to think that everyone in Iran and abroad are against the current regime. This is not true. A majority of Iranian citizens , despite their suffering from high prices and hardship caused by the sanctions, are still supportive of the government. Whether we or anyone else in the US is in favor of a theocracy-and obviously most of us are not- this is strictly for Iranians living in Iran to decide. The opposition to sanctions and constant threats of war which are illegal under international law must be unconditional.

Human rights violations is an international issue–whether they occur in Iran, the US, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, or anywhere else. Yes, we must all oppose and work for change, beginning with our own government. But to isolate this issue regarding Iran gives the US an excuse to attempt to bully Iran into submission, to give up their rights in order to install another puppet regime and again steal their resources.

The last thing Iran needs is another CIA-orchestrated regime change like the one in 1953. The majority of Iranian people are very aware of the efforts of the US and its allies to destabilize and overthrow their government.  This is a time for us in the anti-war movement to stand with ALL the Iranian people against attack and sanctions, not just those with a particular agenda.

We really would like to be part of this most crucial conversation.

In solidarity,

– Ann and Ahmad Shirazi
for the Granny Peace Brigade

NY TIMES – DISINFORMATION ABOUT IRAN

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To all who are within the sound of my voice.  Listen up. My name is Vinie Burrows, native New Yorker, an actor by profession, unemployed,  a long time member of the Granny Peace Brigade, that coalition which includes the 18 grandmothers arrested in 2005 for protesting the  illegal  Iraq war.

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I am a mother, grandmother, great grandmother and I am here with my colleagues who represent various organizations: women’s,  peace, social, labor – including among others  Code Pink, Womens International  League for Peace and Freedom, Women’s International  Democratic Federation, ETC.

We stand in front of the New York Times which represents the Fourth Estate an institution  which wields such power over the hearts and minds  of society with its ability to bring information to masses  of people – and with the authority of print.

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We assert that the NY Times has used its tremendous power to bring disinformation to the people. To be precise, we accuse the NY Times  of printing on January 5, 2012  a front page  article about Iran and its nuclear intentions allegedly quoting the (IAEA) International Atomic Energy Agency that “Iran’s nuclear program has a military objective.”. Bowing to the avalanche of objections that this misstatement raised, the  NY Times later retracted the statement.

However the retraction was not printed on the front page but was hidden in the bowels of the paper.  We all remember the misinformation which aroused public opinions before our military invation of Iraq. We are seeing with alarm a similar situation vis-vis Iran. The front page of a recent New York Times Sunday Magazine section had an bold inflammatory image implying Iran’s nuclear proclivities.

For the past six years, the Granny Peace Brigade has borne witness to the terrible cost of our immoral senseless invasion of IRAQ and the carnage of Afganistan. Even as the administration wineds down involvement in these two shameful wars,  the NY Times and other media are ramping up their rhetoric to plunge us into yet another bloody conflict.  We demand that the NY Times reclaims it’s position as the “true paper of record” by returning to its journalistic integrity.

We have asked Mr. Arthur Brisbane, the public editor of the New York Times and responsible for retractions to join us. He is not here. From this location we shall march to Duffy Square to join the world communitiy in demanding demand- no war, no sanction, no intervention, no assassination against Iran.

From there, we will carry our message to the US and Israel Missions to the United Nations. Let us all join together to build a peaceful and just world.

I thank you and the Granny Peace Brigade thanks all of you who came out in such numbers to support this initiative.

– Vinie Burrows
for the Granny Peace Brigade
Photos: Bud Korotzer