Freedom Is Not Free

by Farnam Bidgoli

While protesters around the world gathered last Saturday against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, rhetoric continues regarding a possible attack on Iran. On Wednesday, the UN Security Council will gather to debate tougher sanctions on Iran, including a ban on loans to the country. As President Ahmadinejad’s US visa was approved today, we’re hoping – perhaps naively – that his speech in New York on Wednesday will be a call for dialogue and not continued aggressive posturing.

As members of the Iranian diasporic community, regardless of political affiliation, now is the time to speak up to our political representatives in order to make our opinions about the possibility of an attack known. Freedom Is Not Free – a pro-Iranian political advocacy group based in Toronto, Canada – has initiated a democratic protest against an attack on Iran. The 10,000 Against War Campaign is a petition calling for the Canadian government to declare its opposition both to the possibility of an attack on Iran and to the aggressive posturing of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The group, whose name comes from Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji’s Republican Manifesto II, is a non-partisan, non-ideological advocacy group that intends, says founding member Binesh Hassanpour, “to inform decision making bodies about the nuances of the Iranian political dynamic… Our sole concern is the promotion of Iranian interests vis-a-vis responsible foreign policy. That means we want a Canadian foreign policy towards Iran that is conducive to the domestic growth of democracy and human rights in Iran.”

To sign the 10,000 Against the War petition or find out more about the group, visit Freedom Is Not Free’s website.

Farnam Bidgoli is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, where she is pursuing a joint degree in Peace and Conflict Studies and International Relations, with language studies in French and Farsi, at the Trudeau Centre. She has written for The Toronto Globalist, Incite, and Namak.