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One Saturday afternoon I was walking along George Street in Sydney, Australia when I came upon a small group of people handing out pamphlets. I stopped and took one. It was about how ordinary people in Iran were suffering under a brutal regime.

This was only days after a young woman named Mahsa Amini had been arrested by the Morality Police in Iran for not covering her hair with a hijab. She was taken to prison and died from the beatings she received.

Just like everyone else in the world I was outraged, so of course I was really interested in the pamphlet!

Alas, I have learned that to be outraged about something is like shouting into the wind unless you do something about it. So I went up to the man handing out the pamphlets, introduced myself and gave him my card. I felt I had done something.

My eyes were opened

His name was Mohamed and several weeks later he contacted me. I invited him over. He accepted. Sitting in my office he told how his family had suffered death and torture under the Iranian regime. He told me about how he was tortured too. What’s more, he showed me a huge book of photographs of those who had been executed.

It was very sobering to sit there and think of the endless suffering going on in Iran, a place where human rights are under such threat. To realise how all this inhumanity was being done under the guise of religion.

After that there was no way I could not be involved in doing anything I could to help bring that hideous regime to account.

Of course, I ultimately ended up speaking with him and his team on the very street corner I first met him. And, as they say, the beat goes on.

Paris and a protest against Iran

Now I have just returned from Paris, France where I attended a huge rally in support of democracy in Iran. Tens of thousands we there – mostly Iranian exiles and refugees. They have been assiduously working towards a time when democracy can emerge in Iran.

In spite of the fact the rally was in Paris, the Iranian government condemned it and tried to stop it. There were bomb threats and even rumours of plane loads of thugs flying in, but none of this made any impact.

There were over 60 politicians from every country speaking at this gathering. The energy displayed was palpable. Speaker after speaker offered advice and support.

For me, the highlight was a speaker from Ukraine, a parliamentarian named Kira Rudyk. She is a small, blonde woman who spoke powerfully and eloquently of living under the fear of the bombs released from Iranian made drones. That is the link between the victims of the war in Ukraine, and the victims of the regime in Iran.

I am so glad I was there. The overarching message was that standing by and doing nothing encourages dictators. Standing up to them makes them think twice.

If history has taught us anything it is that democracy does not just happen. It needs to be worked on, cherished and stood up for. I pray my writing encourages you to do your bit.

We are all in this life together you know.

Image: AFP

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  1. Chrisx 13 July 2023 at 16:51 - Reply

    Good on you my husband and I also were in Paris last week we returned on Saturday if I saw the protest I wohld have joined too we are so fortunate and blessed in this country and must never take that for granted thanks for sharing x chris

    • Bill Crews 20 September 2023 at 10:33 - Reply

      God bless and thanks for your comment, Bill

  2. Joe evans 13 July 2023 at 16:54 - Reply

    Great stuff Bill.. a hideous regime in Iran indeed …and so correct the suffering caused by brutal oppression all done in the name of religion !

    • Bill Crews 20 September 2023 at 10:32 - Reply

      God bless and thanks for your comment, Bill

  3. Joanna van Kool 13 July 2023 at 19:41 - Reply

    I couldn’t agree more. Iran’s is a hideous regime. However I think our thoughts and assistance need to be with those less fortunate in our own society. There are so many things wrong in this world. I can only hope to assist our own suffering people in a small way. The ground swell of protest must come from those personally involved. I am gradually learning how to moderate my initially furious response to inhumane behaviour.

    • Bill Crews 20 September 2023 at 10:32 - Reply

      God bless and thanks for your comment, Bill

  4. Mary 13 July 2023 at 19:43 - Reply

    Thank you Bill for trying to do something about it

    • Bill Crews 20 September 2023 at 10:32 - Reply

      God bless and thanks for your comment, Bill

  5. Efthios M 13 July 2023 at 22:46 - Reply

    History will judge us all by how we have treated one another during periods of oppressive and obvious hardship.

    It will record – some looked away with indifference and others chose to stand up and walk towards the root cause of such suffering and inequity – thanks Bill for leading the walk.

    • Bill Crews 20 September 2023 at 10:32 - Reply

      God bless and thanks for your comment, Bill

  6. Phil Ryan 14 July 2023 at 13:59 - Reply

    My comment Bill is YES, YES and YES again in regard to taking a stance against this regime.

    • Bill Crews 20 September 2023 at 10:32 - Reply

      God bless and thanks for your comment, Bill

  7. Judy Dynan 16 July 2023 at 17:24 - Reply

    Thank you Bill. I love your mission statement: whoever is in front of me.

    • Bill Crews 20 September 2023 at 10:32 - Reply

      God bless and thanks for your comment, Bill

  8. Ahmed K 25 July 2023 at 08:09 - Reply

    Hi Bill, God bless the work you do, I am not a fan of Iran. However I would ask would you protest the state sponsored Islamophobia in France? The police brutality that kills one African youth each month? Democracy is great, depends who is being oppressed I guess.

    I am certain his comment wont be published

    • Bill Crews 20 September 2023 at 10:28 - Reply

      God bless you mate, and thank you. Have you had personal experience with this? If so drop in and have a chat. God bless Bill

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