Monday, December 15, 2008

Leyla Zana Sentenced Again!

KNC Public Relations Committee

Kurdish National Congress of North America

Inquiries: 805-402-6440

Contact: Luqman Barwari

Leyla Zana Sentenced Again!. Using its inherited racist Constitution, Turkey is renewing its prosecution of peaceful prominent Kurdish political figure Leyla Zana. Mrs. Zana once again has been sentenced, this time for 10 years by the Turkish Court for violating the Turkish "Penal code and anti-terror law."

According to the unsubstantiated charges against her, Mrs. Zana had expressed her support for "terror" in the past. Mrs. Zana's struggle for social justice for citizens of Turkey has been recognized in international circles when she was awarded the "European Human Rights Prize Winner." It is hard to see how the Turkish government legitimizes such a harsh sentencing of Mrs. Zana who has been a champion for finding a peaceful solution to the Kurdish plight in Turkey.

Mrs. Zana has campaigned over the years for parity for the Kurds and Turks. This spirit was reflected after she was elected as a member of the Turkish parliament. When she took the oath of office she recited her oath in both Kurdish and Turkish languages. In her inauguration speech she stated, "I am taking this oath for the brotherhood of the Kurdish and Turkish peoples." She made this statement at a time when speaking Kurdish was taboo in any formal gathering in Turkey, particularly in the parliament. Therefore it is illogical for Turkey to accuse her of supporting terror, when more than 27 years ago she embraced the Turkish-Kurdish "brotherhood" and has never changed course since.

Ironically, such a court ruling has been carried out by a nation that wants to become a member of the European Union, a union which requires that civil liberties be extended to citizens living within its member nations. Sentencing a prominent citizen for exercising her human rights prerogative is another reminder to the world that Turkey is in dire need of fundamental reforms in its human rights, political, and judicial principles. This latest round of the Turkish cynical maneuver can only be construed as another "dirty trick" to thwart Mrs. Zana's effort to run for the office of Mayor in her city.

Instead of sentencing Leyla, who has become the true symbol of love, loyalty, and peaceful resistance, Turkey should amend its racially prejudiced Constitution and end the cycle of fear and hate, which has stemmed from the radical chauvinist mentality - a mentality which has brought nothing to Turkey but imprisonment in its excruciating phobia and cynicism.

For Turkey to distance itself from its xenophobic past is to find a way out of the plague of "Turkish nationalism." To do this, Turkey must start treating the Kurds and other ethnic groups as equal to Turks, so together they can live in peace and foresee a tranquil future. Only then can Turkey find serenity at home and a decent place among the family of nations.

Date published: Thursday, December 11, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Jan 17, Saturday: Kurdistan in Calart Shool of Theater

2009 AOW Agenda

Motherhood and Revolution: How women, and mothers in particular, are innovating in conflict and post conflict circumstances, and expanding the models for ways in which one is an artist/activist in the world.

January 14-18 2009, California Institute of the Arts

Valencia, California

*** Please note, this agenda will be updated regularly, and may change.

Jan 14, Wednesday Evening: Introductions and Orientation – Simplicity and Complexity

Each day will begin with a presentation that lays out some of the social and historical background undergirding the day’s various topics, in an effort to make clear that legitimate moral stands and elections need to take place (simply: this happened and must be witnessed to), and also that simplicity is beset with numerous challenges (on the one hand – we must avoid over simplification, or - for example – an orthodoxy of permanent victimhood; on the other hand we must avoid overcomplicating the record to the point where moral position is mooted).

Each day will also make space towards the end for open-space meetings and free discussion.

Guiding issues: The persistence of negationism; the patriarchy of form (an assumption of Western models of theater and performance); the marriage of artistic excellence and ethical efficacy.

Opening Remarks: Jean-Pierre Karegeye, Erik Ehn, Aileen Adams

Jan 15, Thursday: Rwanda

Facilitator: Jean-Pierre Karegeye

Also: Presentation: Eti! East Africa Speaks

Keynote Speech A

Keynote Performance: Hope Azeda

Jan 16, Friday: Palestine

8:30-9 Convening and conversation (A brief opening performance/presentation; coffee and food; a summary of the previous day, highlighting action items)

9-10:30 Introduction – an overview of issues and initiatives. Ed Mast.

10:45-12:30 Panel - Models of engagement. Moderator, Ed Mast. Beth Krensky – We Make the Road by Walking (gallery exhibition), Vivian Sansour, Jen Marlowe, Hanna Eady

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-3 Roundtables, Session One: Motherhood and Sustaining Theater/Activism. Alana Macias, Annie Hamburger, Alison Narver, Kathy Randels

3:15-5:30 Roundtables, Session Two: Motherhood as a Class, Motherhood as a Movement: Roberto Varea – Grandmothers of Plaza De Mayo; Vali Forrister – Grrls/Actor’s Bridge; Celia Rodriguez

Concurrent Sessions

1:30-3:30 We Cry on the Inside: Theater and Trauma Counseling in Rwanda – Brent Blair

1:30-3:30 Mindfulness – Theo Koffler

3:45-5:30 In the Dark Times there will be Singing – Song Workshop. Kathy Randels

3:45-5:30 Healing Practices – Hector Aristizabal

6-7:30 Dinner

7-7:30 Review: An open sharing, highlighting issues, connections, questions from the day


7:30-8:30 The Human Writes Project – Nizar Wattad

8:30-10 Inner Mandala – Maja Mitic


7:30-10:30 Massaker, dir. Nina Menkes

Flower in the Gun Barrel, dir Gabe Cowan (in attendance)

Jan 17, Saturday: Kurdistan

8:30-9 Convening and conversation.

9-10:30 Keynote Speech B – Choman Hardi: Genocide, Rape and Silence in Kurdistan/Artistic Practice in Response to the Anfal

10:45-11 A Tortured Cliché, A Fragmented Identity – Performance, Cklara Moradian

11-12:30 Overview – The contemporary Kurdish scene, locally and internationally. Nancy Buchanan, Soraya Fallah, Choman Hardi, Cklara Moradian

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-2 Fiddle Lecture – Peter Schumann/Bread and Puppet

2-3:30 Roundtables, Session One: Theater and Peacebuilding – Cultural Diplomacy vs. Cultural Exchange: Roberta Levitow, Dijana Milosevic, Pauline Ross, Claudia Bernardi

3:45-5:30 Roundtables, Session Two: Esthetic Diversity in Arts Activism – Roberta Levitow, Roberto Varea, Dijana Milosevic, Teya Sepinuck, Rebecca Rugg, Claudia Bernardi

Concurrent Sessions


2-3:30 Iran: Niloufar Talebi/the Translation Project – ICARUS/RISE: giving voice to the contemporary hybrid-Iranian.

Based on “Naghali”, an age-old dramatic story-telling Iranian tradition, ICARUS/RISE draws from new Iranian poetry.

2-4 Reading: The Overwhelming, by JT Rogers – dir. Ron Cephas Jones

4:15-5:30 Speaking the Unspeakable: Writing on Genocide – JT Rogers, Ken Urban, Deborah Asiimwe, David Myers


2-3:30 New Knowledge: Activism and Library Science. Kathy Carbone, Toni Samek


3:45-4:30 A presentation from the CalArts Aesthetics and Politics MA


3:45-5:30 Nightwind – Hector Aristizabal


2-3:30 In the Dark Times there will be Singing – Song Workshop. Kathy Randels

2-5:30 Writing: Laurie Lathem

5:30-7 Communal Dinner – Please join us for a collective potluck


6:30-7 Cantastoria – Peter Schumann/Bread and Puppet

7-8 Part Two, Border TRIP(tych) – Roberto Varea


8:15-10 “To Put Things Right Again” – La Fuerza Femenina in Times of Change

– Cherrie Moraga/Celia Herrera Rodriguez


8:15-11 Pray the Devil Back to Hell; conversation with producer Abigail Disney

Jan 18, Sunday: One World Thinking

8:30-9 Convening and conversation

Presentations and Discussion: Models of Arts/Activism

9-10:15 Tijuana/Frontera, El Salvador, Cuba – Glenna Avila, Marissa Chibas, Evelyn Serrano, Lili Bernard, Peter Jensen, Carlos Saavedra

10:30-11:30 Cambodia, the Philippines – Bill Westerman, Orlando Pabotoy

11:45-1 Initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa: Public Health: Paula Tavrow – UCLA, Kenyan Male Circumcision; Orena James: Child Trafficking

1-2 Lunch

2-4 Sum and plans

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

UNA Assn.Soraya Fallah will discuss the topic: Human Rights Laws and Practices in the US, Iran, Denmark, and Iraq

San Fernando Valley Commemoration of the sixtieth Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Saturday, December 13,2008
United Nation Assn. Of the San Fernando Valley Presents
Soraya Fallah
She will discuss the topic:

Human Rights Laws and Practices in
the US, Iran, Denmark, and Iraq

For info &lunch and reservation please call Dorothy Boberg (818)363 6502
Add: 9224 Reseda Blvd, Northridge, Ca 91325

It will be an elections meeting, where chapter members will select the officers for 2009

Repor of the Nomminating Committee for 2009:

President: David Tuckman
Vice President-Program: Betty Jo Moore
Cice President_Mm\embership: Barbara Pampalone
Recording Secretary:Open
Cooresponding Secretary:Joan Mills

Nomminations May be made from the floor with the permission of the nominee.
Corothey BOberg, Lyn Harris Hicks, Dorri Rskin

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Iraqi Kurdistan: A man will not be able to marry more than one woman
Tuesday, 11 November 2008, 02:42 EST
Iraqi Kurdistan: one man, one wife

Iraqi Kurdistan: A man will not be able to marry more than one woman.parliment_of_kurdistan_polygami.jpg

The Kurdish parliament in northern Iraq recently approved a new law, according to which a man will not be able to marry more than one woman, the London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported.

The parliament, which enjoys legislative independence from the federal Iraqi parliament in Baghdad, decided on the legislation after consultation with the Women and Children Committee (WCC) in Kurdistan.

The Kurds, who are Muslims, have so far adhered to Islamic law, which permits a man to marry up to four wives.

Following approval of the new law, the Iraqi Women's Network (IWN) asked the federal Iraqi parliament to follow suit.

The IWN, an umbrella organization of seven women's rights institutions, wrote to the parliament, asking to put an end to "the suffering of Iraqi women, who fall victim to second and third marriages."

"We have to admit that the regional [Kurdish] parliament is much more progressive and experienced than the Iraqi [federal] parliament," IWN's chairwoman Liza Nisan told A-Sharq Al-Awsat.

Nisan explained that the notion of limiting a man to one marriage was bound to face opposition from both men and women, who adhere to a traditional way of life.

Meanwhile, a Shari'a Court in Iraq's neighbor to the south, Saudi Arabia, is presently looking into a case of child marriage.

A Saudi mother has filed a complaint against her ex-husband for marrying off their 12-year-old daughter without her knowledge, the Saudi daily Arab News revealed.

The woman, who has the custody of her daughter, claimed that her child was too young to get married and that the father did not inform her of his plans to marry off the girl.

There is no age limit for marriage in Saudi Arabia

Hawler Globe!

repeal of polygamous marriages and all other discriminatory laws against women in Kurdistan.

To the Kurdish Parliament and the Kurdistan Regional Government

We demand the repeal of polygamous marriages and all other discriminatory laws against women in Kurdistan.

On October 27, 2008, legislation allowing polygamous marriages was passed in a parliamentary session in Erbil, the capital city of Kurdistan. This legislation is part of a constitutional draft proposing to replace the old family status law, in use since 1958. It was changed partially, under Saddam Hussein, to subjugate women’s rights further.

After the fall of Saddam’s regime in 2003, a new constitution was written and passed in Iraq. This constitution was solely based on Islamic Sharia Law and openly stated its support for gender apartheid against women. We clearly see that the proposed constitution for the Kurdish region is no better than the Iraqi one. In fact, it is just a smaller version.

The current family status law was reactionary enough—being purely based on discrimination against women and their treatment in society as second class citizens—but now the Kurdish Regional Government wants to change it further, and not for the better.

Women in Kurdistan have been subjected to all kinds of violence and discrimination throughout their history. Under Saddam’s regime, they endured all kinds of hardship, torture and abuse. They have fared no better under the current Kurdish rule. “Honour killings”, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, bullying women to commit suicide and the denial of civil and individual rights have been the main characteristics for almost the past two decades.

The approval of this current legislation will assist in the oppression of women and lead to a huge increase in violence against women. This is a historical mistake. We hold the Kurdish parliament and its government responsible for the violations of women’s rights in this region, due to these discriminatory laws.

Therefore, we call upon every concerned organisation and individual to support us in this campaign to repeal this law. We also call for unconditional equal rights, freedom and equality for women in Kurdistan to be enshrined in law.

Yours Truly,

Yanar Mohammed: President of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq

Houzan Mahmoud: representative abroad of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq-UK

Michael Eisenscher: National coordinator of US Labour against the war

Diana Nammi: Director of Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation

Maria Hagberg: President of Network against honour crimes -Sweden

Rega Svensson: Head of Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq-Sweden

Professor Fabienne Charlotte Orazie Vallino: Vietterbo University-Italy

Joe Tougas: Journalist, Human Rights Activist -USA

Jennifer Kemp: OWFI board member in USA

Daniel W. Smith: Journalist—Baghdad, Iraq/New Haven, Connecticut-USA

Maryam Namazie: Spokesperson, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran

Joanne Payton: International Campaign against Honour Killings

Thomas Unterrainer: Nottingham

Sam Azad: Socialist campaigner

Anne R. Grady, Massachusetts, USA

Ingrid Ternert: Representative of the Peace movement in Gutenberg

Ruth Appleton Co-ordinator Santé Refugee Mental Health Access Project

Anna-Lisa: Björneberg- Wilpf Sweden

Aase Fosshaug: Sweden

Heidi Maugué-Aebi: Women for peace Switzerland

Agnes Hohl: Women for peace Switzerland

Annamaria Traber: Women for peace Switzerland

Beatrice Fankhauser: Women for peace Switzerland

Lini Culetto: Women for peace Switzerland

For more information or to add your name to this statement please contact: Tel: +447534264481

E-mail: or

Monday, October 20, 2008

Soraya Fallah visited with Iraqi First Lady Mrs. Hero Talebani

Summary Report Regarding:
Visit with Iraqi First Lady Mrs. Hero Talebani
By KNCNA,Kurdish Women Rights Committee Chair Soraya Fallah

On September 27th Harmony Gold Theatre in7655 Sunset Blvd.Los Angeles, CAhosted a screening for Mr. Jamili Rostami film “Jani Gal”, sponsored and nominated by the Iraqi government. Iraq’s first lady Mrs. Hero Talebani was present in the hall for questions and answers. She stated she was an active member of the film making process and was engaged with the director throughout the making of.

Among the audience many groups of Americans were present for the viewing of the film as well as a small number of Kurdish people who were there to show their support. Every guest present was there on an invitation basis. Hero Talebani spoke English while wearing a Kurdish dress. The director answered the questions directed at him in Kurdish and a translator.

The guests were hosted at the Mandarin Hotel reception until midnight, after the theatre, where they engaged in discussions about the film, as well as about local and international politics.
The president’s son Ghobad Talebani, and his wife Sheri Talebani, were active participants in conversations about the different issues facing Kurdistan as well as Iraq today.

Soraya Fallah, the Chair of the Kurdish Women Rights Committee, KNCNA met the first lady of the Republic of Iraq, Mrs. Hero Talebani. During their brief yet productive encounter, at the Hotel’s reception, Soraya talked to Mrs. Talebani about the projects that KNCNA is involved in throughout Diaspora specifically in Northern America as well as in Kurdistan of Iraq. Soraya asked Mrs. Talebani to consider financially investing in these very important projects or endorsing any specific projects that she thinks is the most urgent.

Although Mrs. Hero showed interest and compassion for KNCNA’s work, she expressed that she is currently facing a large load on her plate and cannot help out; however, she will consider it for the future.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Amnesty International on Kurdish Women Rights activist Negin Shiakholeslami
amnestylogo.gif PUBLIC
AI Index: MDE 13/148/2008
14 October 2008

UA 280/08 Arbitrary arrest/Fear of torture

IRAN ;Negin Sheikholeslami (f), human rights
defender, journalist, aged 34

According to the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan (HROK), Negin Sheikholeslami, a human rights activist from the Kurdish minority in Iran, was arrested at her home in Tehran by members of the security forces at about midnight on 4 October. She is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment and needs medical attention for her respiratory problems. A guest who was staying with her was also detained for about an hour, and then released

Negin Sheikholeslami's initial whereabouts were unknown, but her husband was told on 9 October 2008 that she was being held in Section 209 of Evin Prison, which is controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence. He was not told the reasons for her arrest and was informed that she would not be allowed to meet anyone until the investigation into her case was complete.

Negin Sheikholeslami is the founder of the Azar Mehr Women's Social and Cultural Society of Kurdistan, which was founded in Sanandaj in Kordestan Province in 2000. It organizes training and sports activities for women in the city of Sanandaj and elsewhere in Kordestan Province. She is also associated with another human rights organization, the HROK, which reports on human rights violations against Kurds in Iran.

According to the HROK, a month before Negin Sheikholeslami was arrested, she underwent heart surgery and was still recovering from the operation at the time of her arrest. She also has respiratory problems and is in need of medical treatment.

Negin Sheikholeslami has previously been arrested in February 2001 for participating in a demonstration in front of the United Nations office in Tehran, and was released two months later. She was also arrested in January 2002 and was released three months later.


Several prominent Iranian Kurdish human rights defenders are currently detained or imprisoned in Iran after being charged or sentenced on vaguely-worded "security" charges in violation of their right to freedom of expression and association. The founder of the HROK, prisoner of conscience Mohammad Sadigh Kabudvand is serving an 11-year sentence in Tehran. Another activist associated with the HROK and with the women's movement, Zeynab Beyezidi, was arrested in July 2008 and sentenced to four years' imprisonment to be spent in internal exile. Her sentence was confirmed on appeal on 23 August 2008. Two other members of Azar Mehr, Ronak Safarzadeh and Hana Abdi, have been detained since October and November 2007. Hana Abdi was sentenced to five years' imprisonment to be spent in internal exile; this was reduced on appeal to 18 month's imprisonment to be spent in Razan, Hamedan province. Ronak Safarzadeh is still awaiting the outcome of her trial.

Iran's Kurdish population live mainly in the west and north-west of the country, in Kordestan and neighbouring provinces, bordering Kurdish areas of Turkey and Iraq. They have long suffered extensive discrimination. Iranian Kurdish human rights defenders, including community activists and journalists, risk arbitrary arrest and torture.

For more information on human rights violations against the Kurdish minority in Iran, see AI report: Iran: Human rights abuses against the Kurdish minority, at:


Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Persian, Arabic, English, French or your own language:

- asking to be informed of the reasons for Negin Sheikholeslami's arrest and the current place of her detention;
- calling for her to be allowed immediate and regular access to all necessary medical treatment, and to her family and a lawyer of her choice;
- urging that she be protected from torture and other ill-treatment while in detention;
- calling for her immediate and unconditional release unless she isto be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and tried promptly and fairly.


Minister of Intelligence
Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie
Ministry of Intelligence, Second Negarestan Street, Pasdaran Avenue, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation:Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh / Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info@dadgostary-tehran.irThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it (In subject line write: FAO Ayatollah Shahroudi)
Salutation: Your Excellency


Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran
His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: +98 21 3390 4986 (please keep trying)
Email: int_aff@judiciary.irThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it (In the subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani)

Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader, Islamic Republic Street - Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info@leader.irThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it
Salutation: Your Excellency

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 25 November 2008.

American Institute of Indian Studies
1130 E. 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Who is prisoners of Conscience

Prisoners of Conscience

"Prisoners of conscience" are men, women or children imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs or because of their race, gender or other personal characteristics. Many have never been charged with a crime. Amnesty seeks the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience.

"Money-giving is a good criterion of a person’s mental health. Generous people are rarely mentally ill people."
--Dr. Karl Menninger

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Negin Shikh-ol Eslami

To : Amenesty International, USA, Iran; Country
American Institute of Indian Studies
1130 E. 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Dear Elise,

In another surge of arrests and upheaval in Iran, yet one more important and precious Human Right activist and journalist Ms. Negin Sheikh-Ol-Eslami, the former president of the Cultural Association of Women of Azarmehr Kurdistan, as well as an active negin_shaikholeslami.jpgmember of the One million signature campaign was arrested on Sunday October 5th, 2008.

According to the family, friends, and the Human Right Activists in Iran, we were told that Ms. Negin was taken in by authorities to the infamous cells of Evin prison, section 209.

As you are well aware, Ms. Negin is from the same organization that Ronak Safar Zadeh and Hana Abdi were members of. Both of those Human Right activists have been in prison since last year and have been under severe torture, neglect, and have been accused of terrorism by the regime.

Ms. Negin's family and friends, Human Right activists, and supporters around the world are very concerned about her whereabouts, her health, her condition, but ultimately her life.

We ask Amnesty International to represent Ms. Negin Sheikh-Ol-Eslami and help us in making sure she is released safely back to her concerned family.

We also need you to help us in taking immediate action in our continuous efforts to put international pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran to release all "Prisoners of Conscious" and end their horrendous treatment of minorities in Iran, specifically the Kurds.

We need your help in spreading the word about the atrocities taking place in the prisons of the Islamic Republic of Iran by the regime's authorities.

Thank you,

Cklara Moradian

PR- Kurdish American Committee for Democracy in Iran.KNCNA

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A film by Jamil Rostami

Jani Gal

Jani Gal

Jani Gal
Iraq, 2007, 100 Minute Running Time
Topic: Drama
Program: Awards Buzz – Best Foreign Language Film
Language: Iraqi Kurdish English Sub-Titles

That movies are even being made in Iraq today is a miracle. Jamil Rostami illustrates the plight of the Iraqi Kurds by giving us a story of a Kurdish man radicalized by false imprisonment in 1940s and ‘50s Iraq.

DIRECTOR: Jamil Rostami
Producer: Jamil Rostami
Editor: Mohammad Reza Moeini
Screenwriter: Khosro Sina, Jamil Rostami
Cinematographer: Nader Massoumi
Music: Karen Homayunfar
Principal Cast: Nezar Salami, Rinas Voria, Abdol Hamaejowan

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

For the 20th Anniversary of the1988 Political Prisoners' Massacre in Iran

A poetry performance on Oct 5th

I Ran Into Myself in the Street and Asked

I Ran Into Myself in the Street and Asked

How many? 8,000? 10,000? Who were they really?

by Cklara Moradian

I performed a creative piece at the Oct 5th gathering of the Society for Human Rights in Iran, Southern California, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the 1988 Political Prisoner's Massacre in Iran. My piece was intended to promote the participation of Iranian youth, as well as give those unfamiliar with the atrocities in Iran an idea of what we are remembering. The event was held at UCLA and was not affiliated with any political organizations, and simply wished to remember the thousands of innocent people who were tortured and executed in the 1980s by the Islamic Republic of Iran's regime and promote the need for Human Rights organizations around the world to make sure that such travesty never occurs again.

(To the audience) - I met my own ignorant self on the street and asked:

Me: Have you ever heard of “a Prisoner of Conscious”?

Me2: Well, no! But I’m a smart woman, I’m sure I can guess what it is.

Me: Go ahead, take your best shot!

Me2: Nice choice of words(sarcastically)! I think, it means people locked up for having no conscience. You know, just to prevent them from doing something really bad, like murder, in the future.

(To the audience): *laughing* I thought this was my ignorant self, not my moronic self!

Me: (to the audience) No! Let me tell you who a “prisoner of conscious” is:

Imprisoned, prosecuted for what is in his or her mind- NOT for what they have actually done!

Yes, here thoughts are louder than actions, and the profundity of these words should echo loud in your minds, because this means YOU (pointing at audience), and YOU and YOU and YOU and YES, I (pointing at myself) too should all be “Prisoners of Conscious”, it means 1984 manifested, it means “thought crimes”, it means, (loudly) WE ARE ALL criminals!

It means we all deserve to be as severely punished as the jurisdiction of life allows. It means if you think; you are dangerous!

SO I begin with a quote, because in the system of oppression of the towers of academia, my creativity was beaten, and instead I was bombarded by clichés. I was told to begin every essay with either a profound definition or the words of a wise man. Who cared what my own hands could produce?

A deaf Jam slam poet says: “I am not angry; I am anger! I am not dangerous; I am danger! I am abominable stress, Iliadic relentless, I am a breath of vengeance; I am the death sentence!”

Let me tell you who a "Prisoner of Conscious" is.

Not to you! (Point to the audience) Not you, the men and women who were once there, not you the Human Right activists who injected me with the truth and were blamed for carrying the syringes of reality.

I don’t want to preach to the choir. No! I speak to my own moronic self in the street. Hence, this piece is written in English, because I want these words to ring, and ring, and ring, and echo, and echo, and echo all over the world, it must and it shall! I don’t want the solitary cells of Evin to be a secret anymore! I don’t want this to be our burden any longer; I want everyone to know who a "Prisoner of Conscious" is:

Once a young boy who had just formed the mustache above his lips, a young girl not yet reached puberty, tortured, brutally, ruthlessly in the invisible walls of Evin and Gohar Dasht, and so many unnamed provinces of Iran. Once a young mom, she had just given birth, once a young man, he had just proposed. But ethereal romance was too good for those times; a "Prisoner of Conscious" devotes body and his "lack of soul" to ideas, to ideals, to his manifesto, to his book of truth, NOT the holy book! A "Prisoner of Conscious" is an unknown man, a statistically insignificant, and yet a powerful force in this world, a nameless threat, he is flesh, she is flesh, flesh and bones! An idealist, a dreamer, she hoped, he wished, she desired, he fought for something more than the status quo. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, that was their crime!

How many? 8,000? 10,000? Who were they really? What were they names? What did they like? What did they dream of? Were their affiliations a manifestation of their time? Were they a victim of their surroundings, of their social standings?

Let’s play a game shall we?

I will ask you a question, and if you answer me wrong, you are sent to the gutters! BUT wait...don’t answer! It’s a rhetorical question! You were doomed poor child, way before you were brought before my eyes! And thus is the story of every “Prisoner of Conscious”.

I do have a story for you. It’s my story! I was in my mother's womb when she was a "Prisoner of Conscious", so I was a “prisoner of Conscious” too before I was born! My father was a "Prisoner of Conscious” in Iran in the 1980s as well. I was 8 years old when I left Iran and I have never looked back since. My memories of Iran are neither sweet nor passionate.

And what does the topic of ME has anything to do with the topic of YOU or the topic of the “Prisoner’s of Conscious”?

EVERYTHING! WHY? You might ask.

I am the next generation of Human Rights activists for Iran; I am the future of this movement, and everything you have fought for.

Oh, That title is much more a burden than an honor, believes me! But if you and my mother and my father do not find a way to teach me about how to carry on your legacy, how to continue this fight for human rights, for ideas that were once flesh, how to organize and become a united front, how not to repeat the same mistakes, you have allowed all of those "Prisoner’s of Conscious" of 1988 and the hundreds of others dying on hunger strike in Iran RIGHT NOW, go on silent and go on silent and go on silent!

If you do not find a way to reach out to my 15 year old brother who is completely disconnected with Iran, apathetic even, the silence and inaction will eventually bury them under history. That will be YOUR intellectual genocide!

And I want to run into myself in the street one day and say: I am glad we are finally victorious! I am glad we have triumphed!

Thank you.

------------------------------------------------ Los Angels-California

Society for Human Rights in Iran-Southern California

For the 20th Anniversary of the1988 Political Prisoners' Massacre in Iran

Speakers: Survivors of the political prisoners massacre in Iran in the 80's

Azizeh Shahmoradi & Dr. PanteA Bahrami

Introducing and premiering the documentary by Dr. PanteA Bahrami

"And in Love I Live"

Music performance and Poetry reading:

Aidin Akhovat, Tar, a company with a percussionist

October 5,2008 3:00PM -6:30 PM


Center for Health Science

Lecture Hall 23-105 CHS

For more information: Please visit


call (310) 990-1696

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Celebration of Second anniversary of the One Million Signatures Campaign for equality

In celebration of the second anniversary of the One Million Signatures Campaign for equality, we have planned a day of art and self-expression and we want you to be a part of it. We are setting up a large canvas in front of the Iranian grocery store Wholesome Choice in Irvine and we are inviting everyone to imagine a world without discrimination and to paint or write their messages for women's rights activists in Iran. Come spend 20 minutes of your Saturday with us and think about your role in building a better community and a better world. We will be there on Saturday August 23rd from 11 AM to 9 PM and you can stop by any time you want.

We will also have a face-painting station for children and also a listening station (Istgahe dard-o-del) where we can listen to and record your real life stories and experiences (whether they are stories of difficulties caused by inequality or stories of strong women in your life who have inspired you- we are ready to listen).

Come visit us on your way to the store, or join us for some tea and a few brushstrokes :) We can work together and take another step toward a more just and equal society both in Iran and in Southern California.
Here is the address:
Wholesome Choice Market
18040 Culver Drive
Irvine, CA, 92612

Please feel free to forward this invitation to your friends.

We are students and professionals who have formed a local grassroots branch of this campaign in California. We do not pursue any political goals and are not formed around any ideology.

One Million Signatures Campaign - CA

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

KWRC,KNCNA on Hana Abdi and Human Rights vioalation in Iran

The Last Executioner of Children and Women in the Modern World

News from the KNC Public Relations Committee
Kurdish National Congress of North America
Inquiries: 818-434-9609
Contact: Mrs. Soraya Fallah

Iran: The Last Executioner of Children and Women in the Modern World

California. June 28, 2008. The Iranian Islamic authorities, soon after they tightened their grip on the country in 1979, following the overthrow of the Shah's tyrannical establishment, have been suppressing every basic human, religious, and ethnic right in Iran. This, in essence, is a grave violation of every democratic principle. Months after they established their religious sectarian rule, and on an order from Khomeini, the Iranian authorities sent their forces to Kurdistan-Iran in order, as they put it, to wipe out the "foreign agents." They declared a so-called "Jihad" against the Kurdish people. Their jihad did not even spare pregnant women and children sleeping in their cradles.

After regaining control over Kurdistan, instead of working to bring tranquility to the people and show concern for their welfare, the Iranian regime continued the same policies of its predecessor, the Shah's despotic regime. The Iranian regime maintained the policy of persecuting Kurdish human rights advocates and freedom seekers. In 1989, Iranian regime used the negotiation tactics to trap the Secretary General of Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), Dr. Abdurrahman Qasmlu along with two of KDPI leadership members in Vienne, and murdered them while they were negotiating terms to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish national demands within a democratic Iran. They were slain while sitting at the negotiation table. This pattern of suppression and murder was repeated in 1992 in Berlin when Qasmlu's successor, Abdurrahman Sharafkandi along with several of his supporters were murdered after returning from a peace conference. Dozens of other Iranian Kurdish democratic and human rights activists who had fled to Kurdistan-Iraq to escape a certain death were murdered by Iranian co-conspirators and agents who followed them to Iraq and executed them.

According to the Amnesty International's recent report (2008), Iran is the only country in the world that still executes children and child offenders (those accused of committing an offense when they were under 18 years of age). In the past decade, the Iranian regime sentenced 177 child offenders to death, of which 34 executions have already taken place. Their ages ranged from 12 to 17 years. The remaining 114 await execution. Today, Iran accounts for 73% of all juvenile executions worldwide.

The theocratic state has also launched a campaign of suppression against women and women's
organizations who are advocating for human rights for women. Iranian women's groups have
been peaceably assembling and using democratic means to try to make the regime to grant them more freedom. Their civic movement has proved to be effective to promote the idea of social justice where all citizens are considered equal before the law regardless of their gender, religion/sect, or ethnicity. As a result, these organizations and their leaders have met with harsh repression in a recent crackdown.

Amongst these women's rights activists are two Kurdish women's rights advocates, Ms. Hana Abdi and Ronak Safarzadeh, both age 21. They had been in prison in the Kurdish city of Sina (Sanadaj), since their arrest on September 25 and October 23, 2007 respectively. The crimes, of
which they are charged include being active in the Azarmehr Association of the Women of Kurdistan, a group that promotes women's status through capacity-building workshops and sports activities for women in Sina and elsewhere in Kurdistan-Iran; and volunteering with the
One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality.

Iran has used propaganda to stigmatize advocates of human rights and democratic principles as
enemies of Islam and nation, and labels them as "munafiqeen," or "foreign agents," By characterizing those who disagree with their political and religious agendas as munafiqeen's or
enemies of Islam, the Iranian theocracy have created a climate in which they believe it is righteous for them to murder those whom they suspect of being in violation with their way of thinking. By using the epithet of 'anti-Islam' against innocent people or accusing people of "endangering the national security" without providing undeniable proof of such claims, the Iranian regime has itself become "extremist' through acts such as murdering children and public "stoning" of women.

The irresponsible behavior of the Iranian Mullahs has begun to destabilize the entire Middle East. By justifying their intolerance under the banner of "Islam" they have been promoting terrorist groups affiliated with its ideology and succeeded in demonizing the image of Islam to the larger world community. Further, their ambitions to help bring about the downfall of a sovereign nation and their ambition to obtain nuclear weapons have brought Iran into serious confrontations with the world. This sort of brinksmanship can only bring calamity to Iranian people.

We call upon the leaders of Iran to stop promoting terrorist groups , relinquish its extremist rhetoric and actions and rejoin the world community as a modern functioning state. Internally, we hope it will continue to provide better economic opportunities for its citizens to achieve a decent living standard, and to protect its citizens' human, democratic, and cultural rights. Political prisoners, including Ms. Abdi and Ms. Safarzadeh must be released or given a fair trial according to the rule of law and not narrow religious interpretations. Iran must treat all ethnic groups equally and allow them to exercise their indigenous culture. At the external level, it must work diligently to regain its international reputation as a functioning member of the world community by stop supporting terrorists. It needs to respect the international norms and protect human rights. It needs to work genuinely to normalize its relationships with the world in order to be allowed to take its place back in the family of nations. Iran cannot have a healthy relationship with the world if it continues to adhere to its current policies. It can no longer justify its cruelty toward women and children by using its narrow religious interpretations. These policies would only guarantee its eventual downfall.

Date published: Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Short report of Kurdish Women Righst committee, KNCNA

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am so pleased that I can be with you today. I also feel so honored that this year along with KNC’s anniversary, Women’s Rights Committee celebrates its second year of service. I am humbled to attend as the chair of the Women rights committee.

Today I will attempt to give you a short report of the Kurdish Women Rights Committee’s work and goals.

I would also like to take this opportunity to give you a briefing about the condition of Kurdish women.

Before I begin I must say that I am pleased we have our dear American women activists among us. It is also a pleasure to be able to have other respected activists from the International community in this committee.

(Due to shortage of time, if you would like to know more about the committee’s short and long term mission and vision please refer to the print-outs that will be distributed by Alan and Zaniar.

Today, the Kurdish women are entangled in a chaotic and conflicting situation. On one hand, there are endless laws and policies within the family and social arena that keep reminding women that they are second-class citizens. On the other hand, fast social transformations, especially in recent years, with the detonation of the youth population, have brought about fundamental changes that have caused new crises in the nations.

In some of these changes, women have played the visible role, and therefore have continued to suffer the harshest treatments, but they refuse to go back to their traditional roles.

Many young women, for various reasons, such as forced marriages, restriction on having a boyfriend, not following the traditional dress codes, and even their desire to educate themselves have either run away from their homes or committed or attempted to commit suicide through burning themselves.

The Women Rights Committee, KNCNA was organized as the result of the first International Conference on Kurdish Women for Peace and Equality in order to promote recognition of Kurdish women’s rights to eliminate all forms of discrimination against Women and to promote women’s human rights and rights within families.

WRC was founded on the belief that human rights of Kurdish women and girls—established through legal, political, and educational systems—are essential to the development of Kurdish people as a whole. That the governments and NGOs should be encouraged to understand and apply human rights principles to achieve equality.

I will mention some of KWRC’s activities:

1- Writing a letter to Amnesty International, North African Office regarding stolen Kurdish women during Anfal campaigns In Southern Kurdistan.

2- Public education against Honor Killing: Releasing Press against honor killings following the stoning of Kurdish Yazidi girl, Doa’ Khalil Aswad by her family in Bashiqa(Musl),

3-Press Release for the support of Kurdish Women activist in Eastern Kurdistan(Kurdistan of Iran) who have been detained for being active members of the Campaign for one Million signature change for equality in Iran.

4- Supporting Layla Zana by writing and
blogging about Layla Zan's activities after her detention in Newruz 2008 in Turkey.

5-Press release in Support of Kurdish women activist in Syria who have been detained in Newruz activities.

6- Participating in venues, interviews, speeches regarding Kurdish Women status on different Radio stations and Newspapers, and other media.

7- Initiating a funding project to establish an organization for Kurdish women, by the name of “World Women for Life”. This will work on building a culture of Life. This organization will promote raising culture of life and fighting for a secular state. It is an important step for us.

The following are core objective of the WWFL organization:

• Establishing a center of the organization in Irbil or Sulaimanya to start with, then expanding to other cities in Iraq.

• Holding conferences, seminars, and workshops to advance women rights.

• Sponsoring demonstrations to stop the violence and grief the lost ones as a support to the widows and their children.

• Establishing a center to develop women’s skills to become economically independent. (75% of the women today depend on the man income.)

• Advertising the culture of life over the culture of death via, billboards, newspapers, TV, and Radio campaigns.

• Developing networks between local, national, and international levels to strengthen advocacy efforts for women rights by taking full advantage of the Internet, by creating email lists to communicate directly with women everywhere.

• Creating a resource center and library for women, to collect and document all the injustices committed against women for research in order to find solutions to advance their rights.

• Starting extensive research development to understand the cause of violence and inequality against women. This research will be a focal point to provide National and International NGO’s a comprehensive data to find a just solution facing women today.

• Getting support from Universities in Kurdistan and around the world to create and facilitate the advancement of women rights.

• Building shelters for women to protect them from the cruelties of society and integrate them back with new skills to survive the brutality they are facing alone in within the society.

• Educating women on their health and how they can protect themselves from all kind of diseases.

• Lobbying and advocacy at local, national, and international levels to promote policies and programs for women.

• Capacity building to increase economic, social, and political participation of women at all levels, local, national and international.

• Campaigns and direct intervention through programs on women’s housing, land, and resource rights, food sovereignty, and livelihood security.

• To become an umbrella organization for all existing NGO’s.

• Creating web site for the organization, to let the world know about our goal and objective.

8- Support and participating in all campaigns and petitions regarding Human rights and women’s human rights around the world.

9- Make a linkage and sisterhood culture between Kurdish women among KNC and other women organizations.

10- Follow up with the resolution of International Conference on Kurdish women for Peace and Equality that has been held in Irbil on March 2007.

11-Initiating a 2 years scholarship for training and receiving a M.A. Graduate degree in Marriage and Family therapy to Kurdish women lead by Dr. Sharon Linzy.

12- To prepare the proceedings for the first International conference of Kurdish women for Peace and equality.

The proceeding is a 200 page publication in Kurdish and English. It took 3 months to prepare.

The committee calls for the KNC treasury or any other Kurdish organization that can apply for grants to provide enough money for the publication of the proceedings in order to be sent to all the speakers and writers.

The committee calls upon KRG representative, Dr. Kamal Kirkuki, from Kurdish Parliament to support WWFL project to establish the first center.

13-Participated in United Nation Commission on Status of Women.

14-Press release for March 8th International Women's Day to congratulate all Kurdish women around the world.

I thank you again for staying with me and Dr. Linzy for being in the committee, Dr. Shali, for working on WWFL’s project, Mr. Moradian for all his financial and moral support, and all other supporters within and outside organization.

I have the committee’s profile with me and if you would like to know more about the committee I will remain after the session.

Thank you so much,

Soraya Fallah

M.A International Relations and Law

Chair of the Kurdish Women’s Rights Committee, KNCNA