Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lesson to be learned from exiles

Recent activity sparked by last month’s Holocaust Conference, sponsored by the Iranian government, has revealed the importance of recognizing exiles, according to an op-ed, “Wisdom in Exile,” by columnist Anne Applebaum in The Washington Post Tuesday. Abhored by the conference and a good portion of the Muslim world’s silent response to it, a number of exiled Iranians joined together to create and sign a statement. (The statement can be found at http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19831.) This group of Iranians wanted to let the world know that all Iranians do not agree with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s decision to host the conference, nor the implications behind it, stating, “the new brand of anti-Semitism prevalent in the Middle East today is rooted in European ideological doctrines of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and has no precedent in Iran's history.”

The statement contained signatures of Iranians, all from a variety of political stances, living throughout the U.S. and Europe. No Iranians living within the borders of Iran were asked to sign for risk of being incarcerated as a result. As Applebaum concludes, “If nothing else, their names will travel to Iran, via the Internet, where, they hope, their statement will inspire debate. We should take them and their effort to inspire discussion in their country seriously: Who knows, maybe they will succeed.” We must hope that they do, and that other groups will be equally successful.

For the full article, click here.


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