Ever since the Iranian Revolution 44 years ago, Iran has seen power shifts from repressive to reformist regimes and back again. Iranians have protested against those regimes, economic strife and repression. The government, said Arvin Farid, an Iranian American and professor of civil engineering at Boise State, has responded with violence and brutality. Thousands of protestors as well as children, college students, the elderly and others, have died over the years.
The death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died in Iranian police custody in the fall of 2022 after being arrested for wearing her hijab improperly, sparked new protests around the world against the ever more brutal Iranian government. Hundreds more people have died in the months since her death according to news sources.
Farid leads a group of faculty with Iranian roots. The group is raising awareness of the dire situation in Iran through marches to the Idaho State Capitol, events on campus, talks with local congregations and more. Their efforts have earned news coverage by local media.
“But it’s not enough,” said Farid, who was a young child in Iran during the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
He wants more Idahoans to know about the crisis.
Farid noted profound historic ties between Persia (which became Iran in the 1930s) and the United States. Cyrus the Great, ruler of the first Persian empire, was a seminal advocate for human rights. “The Cyropaedia,” a biography of Cyrus written in 370 BC, became popular during the Enlightenment in the 1700s, including with Thomas Jefferson and others who drafted the U.S. Constitution.
“I am Iranian by birth and American by choice,” Farid said. “That statement is not original to me, but I care deeply about both places and the people in both places.”
Farid said that every morning he sees the news and learns about “another kidnapping, a 10-year-old shot to death, or the execution of bystanders.”
“These are lawyers, artists, engineers, the most beautiful – you can see them – faces of Iran being killed by ugly forces with power and money. Someone in our group will reach out to the others and say, ‘We need to do something.'”
- Connect on Instagram:
– Irsa Boise, the Iranian student association at Boise State: @irsa_bsu
– Local activities of the Iranian diaspora in Boise: @boise4iran
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