By Khojasteh Mirza Bagheri, hunger striker in Camp Liberty
“Free the seven hostages!”
“US and UN must intervene to protect Camp Liberty”
These are the sentences that are being cried out across the world on twitter and other websites today.
A couple of weeks ago, while Barack Obama was meeting with Nouri Al-Maliki, reporters were giving coverage to the protests that were ongoing outside the White House. The demonstrators were wearing red costumes in remembrance of the 52 victims who were slaughtered by Maliki’s forces in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, on September 1st. They were calling on Obama to make Maliki release the seven hostages that Maliki’s forces had abducted from Ashraf. They were asking Obama to stay true to his promises to the residents of Camp Ashraf and Liberty. Continue reading A history of betrayal→
What kind of a world are we living in? As you read this piece, there are hundreds of Iranians across the globe currently on hunger strike for 70 days demanding the release of seven Iranian dissidents abducted by Iraqi Special Forces on September 1st during the vicious massacre in Camp Ashraf, located northeast of Baghdad.
One might just read the above sentence and move on, but we are talking about the lives of hundreds of human beings who have placed themselves in danger by going on hunger strike so they can have their compatriots released. Continue reading Living in a world of shame→
After Iraq’s invasion in 2003, the United States government signed an agreement with each and every one of the residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq where 3000 Iranian dissidents reside. US promised them security and protection, but failed in keeping that promise.
Who are the residents of Ashraf?
Due to the mullahs’ regime suppression against all those who raise their voice for freedom, I had to flee Iran with my family and come to Camp Ashraf, like thousands of Iranians. My brother and four uncles had previously been executed by the Iranian regime because they were against the Mullahs’ repression in Iran.
How would you feel if you were banned from going to university simply because you were from an ethnic minority? How would you feel if you couldn’t contact your family, for they would be persecuted by the ruling regime because of your political beliefs? How would you feel if you couldn’t hold a ceremony for a murdered loved-one, because he or she believed in freedom? How would you feel if you had to search for your relatives in mass, unmarked graves?
I felt imprisoned. And that is why I fled my country Iran to join the people in Ashraf, aiming to join the struggle to restore my people’s rights to freedom and democracy.
How would you feel if Iraqi forces murdered your father and 51 other defenseless residents of the camp, and you had to watch his picture as he was shot dead in a hospital, where people are usually resuscitated? How would you feel if your mother was held hostage by savage torturers for 63 days? How would you feel if the US and UN had promised to prevent exactly this from happening, only to turn their backs on you when the crucial moment was on them? How would you feel if it wasn’t the first time?
I felt betrayed. And that is why I decided go on hunger strike, demanding the immediate release of my mother and six other hostages, and the protection of the rest of us by UN Blue Helmet forces.
How would you feel if you knew that, despite the silence and inaction of the US and UN, there are noble and freedom-loving people out there who won’t let human rights be trampled for political benefits? How would you feel if you knew that there are thousands across the world who would support you in your cause if they heard your voice?
I felt heartened. And that is why I decided to write these lines, calling on all those who read it to be my voice and help me free my mother and the other hostages.
How would you feel if you succeeded in saving the life of a human being?