Free the Hikers


I think I ought to have my own page about my pals, the “hikers”, held hostage in Iran.

Of course, you should go check out the official website:

101022: I just created this and will come back and edit it as I put up more content, but for now…

HERE is a link to the “lettering & ornament” prayers I have been working on every morning for SSJ.

HERE is a link to the introduction I presented for the showing of the film “Burma VJ” at my local film club, which I used as an opportunity to discuss the plight and heroism of Shane. (I was apprehensive to be so audacious, but I believe it successfully heightened the viewing experience for much of the audience; many people thanked me afterwards). Here is an excerpt:

…I want to confess to you a personal story. You may have heard on the news, how three hikers have been held hostage in Iran for now 444 days. I am friends with all three of them, Sarah Shourd (recently released), Shane Bauer, and Josh Fattal. Let me first say that the claim that they are spies is preposterous, and impossible. Shane has, for as long as I’ve known him, been a courageous international journalist. I remember when he first went to Darfur, to document the refugees caught in the middle of a complex political squabble between rogues. Shane went there, he snuck in from Chad, at a time when no other journalists were telling the stories of the displaced and honest people. Shane’s determination and bravery has always carried me, and it is even more potent now, in light of their predicament. This film, Burma VJ, reminded me constantly of him, of all three of them. When I used to go to peace protests, and the police would arrive with their elaborate riot armor, I would quiver and run and hide. But it is brave people like Shane, like the VJ’s in tonight’s film, like the American forefathers and the French ending monarchy, Gandhi getting salt from the ocean; it is this sort of inspiration that makes me want to do something to help people. This film makes me yearn to roll up my sleeves, to embark on my own projects of creativity, or try to connect with the people around me. In the words of my imprisoned pal, Josh Fattal, “Just jump in!”.

HERE is a link to an mp3 of the Bob Dylan song that Sarah says SSJ would sing together in Evin (she asked for a cover contest, so I mustered up some confidence, since I’m not a singer…)

HERE is a link to the poems I wrote for SSJ last winter.

Here is a comment I left on the SSJ facebook wall:

“As part of my member duties in my local “film club”, I am scheduled to present the introductory remarks tonight for the documentary film “Burma VJ”. I think I’m going to speak about SSJ “instead” (Moxie Marlinspike told me he usually does this when given the stage, even if the reason is unrelated). I’m a little nervous though; it’s …quite a conservative audience in my town. However the film (and Shane’s perspective, esp regarding Darfur) has taught me that one can speak about state-instigated injustice without invoking politics. Have you any advice? Sarah has recently displayed an amazing bravery with her willingness to speak honestly of the three’s egalitarian beliefs, which I confess is something I (and many of our friends) have been apprehensive to speak about publicly (since such views can easily be misinterpreted). But her strength has inspired me, and anyway, every effort counts.  In the “Burma VJ” commentary, a famous actor-activist stated “We’re All In This Together”, which was Kirsten Brydum’s mantra (Kirsten was a peripherally-inspired activist to SSJ who dovetailed one of their community projects “Collective Autonomy”, before she herself succumbed to the cruel randomness of the world), and I am willing to adapt her mantra for the cause of the hikers, as their beliefs were mutual and overlapping.  (I have been struggling for a long time to write a semi-memoir about all these activist friends of mine and their interconnected inspirations, but the whole situation has left me numb — three tragedies in ten months!  It’s hard to come up with any positivity, except that Josh is certain to invoke a superlative poetry when he comes out finally.  Anyway I could also use some advice or encouragement about these matters of frightening publicity.  I am not as brave as SSJ, but I try. “Just Jump In!”) (I’m sorry this ended up long, but I just thought I’d connect with the community, a concept quintessential to SSJ’s beliefs). (And thus here’s another difficulty for me — I’m apprehensive to “put words in their mouths”… of course the flipside is that right now Josh and Shane have no mouth.)”


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