Students urge action on Iran

Can You Solve This? campaign aims to highlight plight of Iran's minorities

Emud Talisman, Samira Eblaghi and Pegah Atbin campaign for the human right to education in Iran. (Photo: Dorine Schreiner)

Emud Talisman, Samira Eblaghi and Pegah Atbin campaign for the human right to education in Iran. (Photo: Dorine Schreiner)

Emad Talisman's family has fled Iran because they are part of the minority Baha'is. Now, the fourth-year psychology student at Mount Saint Vincent University wants other Canadians to know about the situation so that they will pressure the federal government to act.

An international campaign to raise awareness of denial of education in Iran launched in Halifax at MSVU today, bringing "Can You Solve This?" to the Canadian East Coast, Jan. 9-11 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

The campaign launched in, amongst others, Australia, Brazil, India and a number of European countries.

The initial Canadian launch at the University of Toronto was on Oct. 19, followed by McGill University in Montreal in November and Trent University in December. This weekend, the campaign will be moving to downtown Halifax for a street walk.

Kyle Roberts learns how to scan the quick response code on his smartphone (Photo: Dorine Schreiner)

Enlarge Image Enlarge image
Kyle Roberts learns how to scan the quick response code on his smartphone (Photo: Dorine Schreiner)

Play BoxPlay Arrow

View a short animated video that outlines the situation in Iran.
View a short animated video that outlines the situation in Iran.

The campaign aims to educate Haligonians of the situation in Iran, where the Shiite-led government is denying education to students with different religious views than its own, such as Sufi Muslims, Sunnis, Baha'is, Jews, evangelical Christians, Ahmadis and others.

"It is just not right. It doesn't make any sense," says Talisman, who is in charge of the Halifax launch. "For me it's a very personal thing. I'm a Baha'i and my friends and family were persecuted in Iran ... They're not granted higher education, just on that belief alone."

The Huffington Post reports that there are more than 30,000 Canadians of the Baha'i faith from many different backgrounds in Canada. The Canadian government has been defending the rights of the Baha'i in Iran since the Iranian Revolution, also known as the 1979 Revolution.

Iran is experiencing popular international protests as populations in other Arab Spring countries were granted demands of freedom rights.

Talisman said the two main purposes of the campaign are to raise awareness of the human rights issues in Iran, not just nuclear issues, and to press the government to do something about it. He said Iranians don't have the freedom to protest.

"They're scared to death. The campaign gives a voice to the voiceless. [International support] will make a difference in giving [Iranians] hope."

Talisman's 16-year-old sister, Samira Eblaghi, is volunteering at the campaign. "Everyone deserves the right to education ... I hope [Canadian students] see this as something that is important for all students their age around the world and understand that it is a necessity."

A smart twist to support

On the campaign's website, a video explains the situation in Iran. When scrolling down, a pre-written letter can be sent to a politician.

But the campaign has a twist. It uses a Quick Response method. With a smartphone, users can scan the QR code, directing them straight to the website and allowing them to easily access and send the letter.

Kyle Rogers, a second-year science communications student at MSVU, used his smartphone to support the cause. "We care about what happens to humans all over the world ... borders don't matter when it comes to humanity," he says. "If [the campaign] can help one person get a little farther in life than they would have otherwise, then it's a big success."

In December, campaign organizers posted that more than 15,000 letters had been sent worldwide.

 

Comments

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated. Posts containing personal attacks, libellous statements, knowingly false information, or vulgar, degrading or threatening language will be rejected.

Name:

Email (required, will not appear):

Location:

smiley Smileys

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Submit the word you see below: