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Iranians Converge at the UN

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Special Report by Joel Simpson

Click To Enlarge Photos
Iranian Protest at the UN

New York, NY (Cable Muse Network) October 3, 2009 – September 23rd and 24th of 2009, thousands converged in front of the United Nations to protest President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appearance. The protest was well organized with different groups identified by their colors.  Speakers included U.S. and Canadian officials; the star of the show was Maryam Rajavi, wife of the Mujehadin leader.

Iranian Protest at the UN

Several thousand Iranian supporters of a free and democratic Iran converged on Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, in front of the United Nations on September 23 and 24, to protest President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appearance at the General Assembly. An array of Iranian political groups was represented, from the semi-religious Mujehadin umbrella organization to secular groups calling for an end to clerical rule, and even including monarchist-tinged groups. There were many photos of Mossavi carried aloft, the reformist candidate who most presumed had actually won the election and one man wore a shirt with depiciting Mohammed Mossadegh, the democratically elected President overthrown by a US-sponsored coup in 1953, because he had the temerity to ask to split the return on oil drilled on Iranian soil half for Iran and half for British Petroleum. One man was carrying a sign depicting the late Shahs son Reza Palevi who is calling for a democratic Iranechos of the return of the Spanish constitutional monarch following the death of the extremely religious dictator Francisco Franco in 1974.

Iranian Protest at the UN

The protest was quite well-organized, with the different groups identified by their colors: seculars in green, Mujehadin sporting yellow, giving out yellow visors with Down with Dictator emblazoned on it, and an upsidedown picture of Ahmadinejad with a red diagonal line through it. The group also sponsored a marching band and held large portrait posters of their leader. Protesters came from as far away as Chicago, Toronto, and Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as drawing from the New York Iranian diaspora. All ages were represented, with a significant contingent of elegantly dressed older men.

Poster art - Iranian Protest at the UN

The poster art was extremely well-done, photographic collages worth of movie posters, many of which memorialized those killed by the regimes repression, stressing the massacre in Ashraf. Most were dominated by a glowing portrait of the subject in good health, with a photo of the same person bleeding and mortally wounded in the background along with street scenes. Very much in evidence were photos of Neda, the murdered young woman whose senseless death in a protest against the stolen election, touched the world and underscored the murderous savagery of the government’s intention to defend its proclaimed results. A line of these martyr posters was laid against a wall circling a tree with another beautiful martyrs poster leaning against it. Some posters focused on the violence specifically directed against women, including one explaining, illustrating, and deploring the practice of stoning, with the victim buried up to her chest, with her hands bound. If she can escape before she is stoned to death, she is permitted to live. Iranians embrace of Western-oriented education and intellectual tastes is in striking contrast with the persistence of these barbaric practices, sanctioned by fundamentalist religion.

Poster Art - Iranian Protest at UN (Joel Simpson)

Speakers included U.S. and Canadian officials, but the star of the show was Maryam Rajavi, wife of the Mujehadin leader, who addressed the crowd via video feed from Paris. Maryam’s speech was in Farsi, with English subtitles, and as it ended an air cannon filled the air with large-bore confetti.

Other smaller national groups shared the plaza protesting other oppressive regimes, including those of Uganda, China, Burma and Libya. Libya’s president Moumar Khadafi was depicted on posters that passers-by were invited to trample on.

Joel Simpson is Cable Muse Network’s globetrotting photojournalist and correspondent based out of New Jersey.  Simpson is an accomplished artist, art critique and photojournalist.

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