http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2010/sep/27/irans-interrupted-lives/ | September 27, 2010
Indeed—as a small photography exhibition about student repression in Iran at Georgetown Law School this month powerfully reminded us—hundreds of Iranian students, journalists, and bloggers have been jailed, many of them in deplorable conditions, since the disputed elections of June 2009. And though the matter has received little attention in the press, many more continue to be arrested and sentenced.
I was struck by the setting of the exhibition. In Georgetown’s McDonough Hall, where it was held, law students hurry to and from classes. They walk past or stop to look at the photographs—photographs of men and women, also students, the same age as themselves. But these men and women are Iranian. The Georgetown students are free to come and go, to speak their minds, to argue with their professors; the Iranians in these photos have experienced life differently.
Ashkan Sohrabi died from bullet wounds during the mass protests that followed last year’s contested presidential elections. Shiva Nazar Ahari, 26, an advocate for women’s equality and for children and political prisoners, was being sentenced in Iran this month to a six-year prison term for her peaceful activities, even as the exhibition was ending. Manijeh Hoda’i, a Tehran university student, one of the many pictured here, was executed along with her brother in 1982 for opposition to the Islamic Republic. Ahmad Batebi was sentenced to death when The Economist pictured him on its front cover holding aloft the bloody T-shirt of a fellow student during student protests in 1999.