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Civil SocietyFeaturedFree Speech

The First Day of School in Iran: You Can’t Say “That”

At the end of September, children all over Iran begin their first day of school. It’s an exciting time, filled with hope and the promise of new friends and new experiences. For many children it’s also about learning how different the world of the family is from the world outside the family. Many people were interviewed for this article. Some had come of age during the darkest days after the revolution, during the war with Iraq. Some had children who had recently begun school.

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Nasrin Sotoudeh demonstrating in front of the Bar Association
Civil SocietyFree Speech

Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh Stages Sit-In

Arseh Sevom–Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is protesting her three-year suspension from practicing law with a protest in front of the Iran Bar Association. She has been joined by a number of other dissidents, including Mohammad Nourizad and Mohammad Maleki. Sotoudeh explains the reasons for her protest beginning with this point: “The Iranian government has been depriving dissidents from the right to life, education and work for many years.”

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Civil SocietyFeaturedFeatured Topics

The Day I Became a Feminist

Arseh Sevom–Feminism is essentially the idea that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities. “The notion of freedom for men is not reality in Iran as long as women are not equal” Safoura Elyasi writes. She spoke to several Iranian male activists about their relationship to feminism. One told her: “A lot of people think that women are not currently in the right situation to be treated equally, so we should not extend equality to them. Equality needs to be in the act. It’s related to power. This idea that women are not ready for equality so they should not have it is flawed. In addition to civil actions, we need underlying cultural changes.” In part one of a two part article, we hear from three different men.

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Civil SocietyFeaturedFeatured Topics

Nasrin Sotoudeh: Equality Will Prevail

Arseh Sevom — In this exclusive interview with Arseh Sevom editor Mohammad Reza Sardari, human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh discusses the very personal impact of her struggle for equality and justice. She tells of a young son who lost his childhood. “I grew up all of a sudden,” he tells her. In 2013, she was released from prison after serving three years of a six-year sentence for her activities defending the rights of her clients. In this interview, she reminds all of us that there is a price worth paying for the achievement of justice and equality.

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Fearing the Tyranny
Civil SocietyFeatured Topics

Iran — Fearing the Tyrant Not the Change

Arseh Sevom–The final post of a three-part series summarizing the Hivos report, The Green Movement: Seizing the State or Democratizing Society, examines the long struggle for democracy in Iran and the stunted growth of its civil society. Editor Shervin Nekuee states that “The most essential question these citizens have to deal with is whether they are capable of preventing the arrival of yet another tyrant…” Civil Society activist Sohrab Razzaghi says, “The fundamental issue is that the idea of a civil society is not yet considered a social project among Iranian intelligentsia and social forces […]”

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womens movement
Civil SocietyFeatured Topics

The Green Movement and Avoiding Violent Opposition

Arseh Sevom–The presence of women in the public demonstrations of the Green Movement before and after Iran’s 2009 presidential elections was undeniable. They were on the front lines, in public, advocating for change. Their voices were strong during the nightly chants from Tehran’s rooftops. The non-hierarchical structure of the womens’ movement and its long history building coalitions among people with different political ideologies was key for the dispersed leadership of the Green Movement. While the women’s movement may have contributed to the discourse on non-violence, violence is unavoidable for a resistance movement writes author Ammar Maleki in his contribution. He writes, “Civil resistance avoids violence, but it never escapes it; if that were the case then it would never be resistance.” In this short piece, chapters two and three of the Hivos report, The Green Movement: Seizing the State or Democratizing Society, are summarized. This is part two of a three-part series.

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AdvocacyHouse of Cinema

Security Forces Unlawfully Close Iran’s House of Cinema

Arseh Sevom believes that the interference from governmental bodies and security forces is the primary cause for the problems facing one of the biggest NGOs in Iran. What has happened to the members of House of Cinema in the past few years is a violation of their rights as recognized by the international community and by article 26 of Iran’s own constitution. Over the past few years, members of the House of Cinema have been under pressure from security forces. Now, security forces have locked them out of their own building.

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