An Activist Visits

Posted on 10 March 2011 by

A middle aged woman comes into the office, smiling. She is wearing an unassuming outfit, in beige and white. She introduces herself, I take her coat, and offer her some tea. On the surface, this is perfectly normal.

commute (cc) tallkev

What you can’t tell from her friendly smile and gentle handshake is that she is a ‘criminal’. She has spent weeks in solitary confinement in one of the most notorious prisons in the world–Iran’s Evin Prison. She has been arrested time and again. She escaped last year, only to be tried in absentia and sentenced to a brutal lashing and over two years in prison.

Her crime? Peaceful assembly. She is a women’s human rights activist whose crime is striving for justice and equality in a country led by an oppressive regime.

It is a strange feeling meeting activists like her, because it forces you to realize that the life you consider to be ordinary is an often unattainable privilege for so many others around the world. What I fail to realize is that those others are just like us (and why wouldn’t they be?). They are among us, strolling through the aisles in our grocery stores, eating out at restaurants, and taking the metro to work. They are walking past you, chatting on their cell phones and sitting next to you at baseball games. They are our moms and our sisters. They are us.

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