by Nadereh Afshar

Why did we come to camp Liberty? “Liberty,” what an ironic name…Yeah, too ironic. The US coalitions named it Liberty but I don’t think this camp ever saw the face of liberation.

But…Ashraf…I’ve lived in Ashraf for half of my life. I practically grew up there. Leaving Ashraf reminded me of my childhood when I left Iraq to go to a new world during the Gulf war. But now we’re here. Living in camp Liberty and in siege for another 3 years.

I think to myself that I’ve been in Iraq for more than 15 years, but have only been to Baghdad twice! How’s this possible? Why choose such a living in such a place with such pressure? It doesn’t make sense if you want to think of it logically. But when you look at the end of the road, you understand the path and the way. Of course, it’s for Iran. For my country, a country that I’ve never seen before but feel and hear its cries every single day.

I see Iran burning, I see it drowning in the blood of its own people. Why is Iran with its rich history and culture known for its terrorism, executions, and tortures?? This is not the true face of my country. No, it’s the face of the mullahs, the ones who are burning it, its people, its culture and its history!

The true face of Iran is found in Paris. In the face of each and every gathering each day, each year. It’s found in Iraq in our persistence and steadfast. That’s why we came to camp Liberty and will endure every single pressure till we free Iran.

Villepant is the voice of all Iranians shouting and chanting for freedom, wanting to be heard. From Iran, Iraq, Australia, America, Canada and Europe.

You are their voice, you are their true face. This gathering and every single gathering whither it’s in Paris or anywhere else in the world is the true face and expression of the Iranian people.

Your voice conveys their cries, the ones in the streets chanting for their rights, in prisons, standing up for their freedom.

Your voice conveys our steadfast, our struggle for freedom and each year we show the world what Iran should be like, we tell the people what our people want. Never let your voice be shut and never let anyone tell you this gathering is illegitimate and not worth it. On the contrary, each year you gather in Villepant, Paris, you prove to the world that the Iranian people have hope, they have a voice and freedom is our righteous right!