|May 22, 2012 at 09:27 PM|
On Friday, May 18th, Women’s Freedom Forum held an educational event entitled, “Learn Beyond the Headlines” at the University of California Berkeley. The event was an informative book review on the newly published “Report on the Status of Women and Youth in Iran.”
Two speakers, Pastor Linda Prendergast and Sima Yazdani made up an informative, diverse panel. The women spoke of their personal experiences in relation to the brutalities facing youth, women, children, ethnic minorities, and men within Iran.
Pastor Linda Prendergast began the discussion by speaking of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor who is currently behind bars in Iran for his religious preferences and persistence in remaining faithful to his chosen religion, despite the regime’s constant threats.
Mrs. Yazdani pointed out several other cases similar to that of Pastor Nadarkhani’s, as well as various brutalities the regime carries out on a daily basis. She also spoke about how the book is a direct representation of the current situation in Iran, as the stories are first-hand revelations- exact words of the survivors, or their families.
An educational film outlining women’s struggles in Iran over the past century was shown. It highlighted revolutionary women who stood up to the regime and fought against it at any cost. Several questions were brought up by women from the audience regarding specificities of what women can and cannot do in Iran, what people outside of Iran can and should do in order to stop the killings and oppression, as well as questions on how and if we really can make a change from outside Iran. Mrs. Yazdani advocated letter-writing to members of congress and persistence in the fight against the regime. Pastor Linda used the analogy that drops of water are what make up a stream, and we must continue the fight, no matter how small we may feel or seem.
Singer Betsy Rose performed two songs at the end of the panel, both about empowering women. The crowd, made up mostly of women, sang along to the lyrics with Betsy Rose for a beautiful ending to the event.