PeaceJam VISTA Pantea Beigi has a lot of reasons to be interested in what's happening in Iran right now - having family over there is a major one of them. She was born in Iran and moved to the USA in her teens, where she graduated college and has worked in many fields, two of which are Journalism and PeaceJam. Now she has been asked to speak as a guest on several news shows and I will try to keep track of all of her appearances, upcoming and past, in this post. She is in close contact with PeaceJam Board Member and Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, working with her to help the Iranians who are hurting.
You can get more information about what's going on and join the discussion on our Message Boards in this thread.
To stay in touch with Pani check out her Facebook profile here which she is trying to update with videos and information.
Pani just alerted me that there are GREEN “Where’s My Vote?” Wristbands available to show solidarity with the Iranian people in their struggle for social justice and freedom. All proceeds will come here to the PeaceJam Foundation, where people like Pani work tirelessly to help the cause of the youth in Iran.
Hold the Carbon is producing these wrist bands and they are a green-tech company which focuses on creating green products for consumers. The wristband is 100% eco-friendly. They are made from 100% recycled silicone and contain no lead or latex.
We are extremely happy to partner with Hold the Carbon and hope to help spread the word about these wrist bands. Go get yours here!
Pani will be on CNN International today, Friday June 26th, @ 4pm Eastern / 1pm Pacific to talk about Michael Jackson in Iran and what he meant to the youth growing up under the Islamic Republic.
Pani was interviewed on the NPR show Colorado Matters on Thursday, June 25th which you can listen to here.
Here is a transcript from her CNN interview:
|Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.|
Iranian Americans are watching events unfold in Tehran with apprehension. One is a youth activist Pantea Beigi, in Los Angeles, joining us.
Good to see you, Pantea.
With apprehension, what are you most concerned about as you continue to watch the development overseas?
PANTEA BEIGI, IRANIAN-AMERICAN YOUTH ACTIVIST: It's good to be here.
I think the main concern is the people's safety. I think they are being incredibly brave putting their lives on the line to hope that they can create some great change. And I think the biggest concern for all of us, from outside, is their safety. We do not want bloodshed. That's what we are most concerned about.
WHITFIELD: Even though it appears as though a change is not coming in the form of the government, since the ayatollah and others are resisting recount, or a revote, et cetera, really by osmosis as a result of all these protests taking place, has there been change in Iran, in your view?
BEIGI: I think this stands for incredible change. You have to realize this is 30 years in the coming. It is not really only about this election. Mousavi serves as somewhat of a symbolic figure, but this is really about the threshold that the young people of Iran and the people of Iran have finally come to. And I think it just so happens that it's about this election. It happened over this election, but it's really something that's been in the working, it's been coming very slow. And they really paid big prices for it in the past 30 years. They've had many deaths. They've had many arrests. And so I think it's already standing for incredible change by incredible bravery that all these people are taking upon themselves to go out there and do this.
I think even if we don't see very visible change within the channels of the current government, there is no way that someone could stand and watch this and say that there's been no change created, at least in the way in which the people are going to take the affairs of their country from now on, because they're showing that the old ways are no longer going to happen. They're not going to sit by and watch injustices happen to their people, or their rights taken away. I don't think they're necessarily trying to have a big revolution or a big overthrow of their government, but they're simply saying, hey, you put these limitations on us for the past 30 years. We've been cooperating, but at least give me my vote, give me the right you promised me you know, on Friday.
I think this is a great start for them to really utilize the legal channels of their own regime right now to do this, which is huge.
WHITFIELD: Do you feel any concern that this momentum, it may backfire when you hear, at least, according to our reporting and the translations of what some of the protestors are yelling in the streets today, "Death to the dictator," "Death to deceptive government," that, that might help precipitate more violence, or reverse any kind of progress that some of the protestors feel that they are bringing to this country?
BEIGI: There is great concern for their safety right now, especially after Khamenei's address yesterday, and now the reaction of the protestors to him today. And, essentially, saying, down with our supreme leader. There is great risk there. They've never done this before. We are definitely concerned. I know Dr. Shirin Ebadi has been in Geneva, and the Hague, in the past three days. She has been meeting with U.N. Human Rights High Commissioner Madam Pillay and they are working on resolutions. They are doing calls to action.
She's worked with Nobel Women's Initiative, which comprised of six Nobel women peace laureates, that are all working very hard with the international community to ensure the security of the protestors that are out there. Because I really do think that if they do not - you know, if they do continue going the way they are, yes, there is great fear that there will be bloodshed, that the government will be reacting extremely harsh and violent in order to control the situation.
I also think that if the protests don't stop there is a great chance that the government will issue arrest warrants for Mousavi, himself, or Hashemi Rathsanjavi for hatami (ph) that is also very possible. Because I think when it's really hard to control a mass of 1 million people, particularly most of them young people. It's much easier to issue arrest warrants for the so-called leaders that are calling for these protests to happen, in hopes that the people might get scared and return home. Like I said, I really don't think this is wholly about Mousavi himself. I think this is about a freedom movement that's been very slow in the coming and happening by the people for the people.
WHITFIELD: Iranian American youth activist Pantea Beigi, thanks so much, joining us from Los Angeles.