This week, the annual General Assembly of the United Nations will take place in New York, and Ahmadinejad will hope to take centre stage as many times as he can, as he has shown before.
His controversial remarks in New York in previous years regarding the Holocaust and Israel have always attracted an incredible amount of attention and have at times dominated news reporting. His presence in New York has usually been followed by protests in New York too. In recent years, the protests have usually been dominated by pro-Israel Jewish groups or Iranians in favour of regime change in Iran. This year however, the composition of the protestors will most likely be different, following the events of the summer and Ahmadinejad’s brutal suppression of Iran’s people.
Ahmadinejad sets sail for New York as the President of Iran while millions of Iranians (even according to government figures, at least 13.5 million) who have protested the announced results of the Presidential elections in June are under pressure, persecution, terror, fear, insult and torture while tens have been killed in protests until now and hundreds have been arrested for their role in the elections in June. Not to mention the many reformists and political figures who are currently going through torture to confess.
Ahmadinejad leaves the capitol when until now, it has only been held together with the help of anti-riot and police forces, the intelligence apparatus and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Ahmadinejad is on his way to New York with a plan; a plan to create a news shock as big as the ones he sent in his first term in office with the hope of creating more controversy. Ahmadinejad hopes to create another news tsunami when his death squads roam the streets of Iran’s capitol. These are the hopes of the unwelcome guest of New York which calls himself the President of Iran.
But what can we do?
This week, a whole range of different Iranian groups will be pouring into New York in their vast numbers; in a show of monumental unity Iranian Diaspora from all walks of life and from the West coast to the East coast of the US, from Canada and all across N. America will flood New York to launch memorable protests in support of their Green brethren in Iran who are being persecuted on a daily basis.
New York is a great city, a city which hosts the different peoples of the world with all their different colours, ethnicities, languages, religions and beliefs. It could be said that New York is a reflection of the world’s opinion.
Nevertheless, this city has already been the voice of the Green Movement when it hosted a hunger strike by academics and intellectuals in front of the UN headquarters and drew an incredible amount of attention from intellectual centres. Also on 25 July when the Green Movement launched its most organised international protest in more than 300, both Iranians and non-Iranians turned the streets of Manhattan green. New Yorkers have also shown their support for the Iranian people by organising commemorations in the squares and parks for the victims of the post-election violence.
The group Where is My Vote – NY, one of the main organisers of the marches in New York has invited protestors to express their opposition to the recent crimes and Human Rights violations in Iran. On its website www.voices4iran.org, the group states the purpose of the march as a call upon the international community to support human rights in Iran and to reject the policies of military aggression and economic starvation, to say no to torture, killings, and rape and to say yes to freedom of speech, assembly. It calls for an end to the show trials, freedom for all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and holding the real criminals accountable. The marches in New York have been organised in front of the Iran Mission to the UN on the historical Brooklyn Bridge from 22-24th September.
The march on the 22nd which has been called “Iran Alive” will start with a short video clip from the recent events in Iran along with recorded voice of the Iranian people’s protest projected on a screen formed by the people present.
On 23 September the big march of the Green Movement will take place in front of the Iran Mission to the UN which will also be the main place of stay for Ahmadinejad. The demonstrations will extend to the headquarters of the UN and onto the central streets of New York City, in what promises to be a truly magnificent show of protest.
During Ahmadinejad’s speech at the UN, demonstrations will be held in front of the UN building and slogans will be chanted in defence of Human Rights, Freedom of Speech, political prisoners and those against the election results in Iran. Protestors will express their condemnation of censorship, oppression, clampdown, torture and killings, while raising their voice against economic sanctions and military threats against Iran.
However, the centrepiece of the protestors will take place on the 24th of September when a march will take place with the green scroll across the Brooklyn Bridge which will undoubtedly have the most effect on raising awareness in the American and Worldwide public opinion about recent events in Iran and will surely carry the voice of protest of the Iranian people.
The green scroll had previously turned the Eiffel Tower green and will now do the same with the most important symbol of New York City during the illegitimate president’s stay in New York. On the same day speakers such as Columbia University professor Hamid Dabashi, former Iranian MP Fatemeh Haghighatju, journalist Masih Alinejad and many others will address the crowd followed by a live performance by the Iranian band Kiosk.
what sets this gathering apart from the previous protests in previous years is the unity among Iranians who are against the recent events with their green presence. A colour which will set them apart from radical Zionist groups and other groups with other ideologies and will prevent the Iranian Regime’s propaganda machine to use this as another tool for spreading lies through its already discredited state-run TV. The importance of this event and its coverage in the International media is such that it forced Ahmadinejad to react by speaking before Friday prayer sermons last week, which is another mark of just how terrified the coup makers are of the Green Movement and opposition movements against this illegitimate government
And for this very reason and with the aim of reflecting the voice of the Iranian people and preserving unity, the organisers of the green march in New York have asked protestors to only carry green symbols which are currently the colour of the Iranian people’s movement and to refrain from bringing any type of flag to the protests.