By Mansoureh Nasserchian \
Edited by Banafsheh Zand \
I never imagined getting into the “businesses” of human rights as an activist fighting for a free Middle East, and I certainly never imagined that would be cause for so many challenges in my life.
From the onset I knew that that path was fraught with its own forms of risks and challenges, but I did not imagine that I would be threatened, humiliated, insulted and cyber-bullied by so many different groups on such a constant basis.
June 2009, and the uprising in Iran (which was a few steps away from the fall of the Shiite dictatorship currently occupying Iran) found its way through my laptop and into my psyche, by clicking a single video of Neda Agha-Soltan; a young woman who was randomly shot in one of Tehran’s streets by a Khomeinist regime sniper. The video sparked the need in me to be a voice for the people of Iran who endure the daily hardship of life under oppression and not only need, but deserve as many “amplifiers” as possible.
I began to dedicate my time to activism on that front and the more I did, the more each day brought with it, its own revelations and lightning bolts.” Then I started my own radio show under the nickname of Soror. I launched “Voice of Persians” on CHSR FM radio station as a weekly radio program in Persian and English. It did not take long for the Khomeinist regime’s cyber army to target me for raising awareness about the notorious human rights violations in Iran.
Soon I realized that there are many fake Facebook accounts or real ones under the names of opposition members, which had managed to find their way onto my Facebook friends list. It took me some time to figure out that tailor-made agents of the regime, exported to the West, and blending in with the opposition were trolling on behalf of the regime.
The Khomeinist regime’s DC-based lobbyists have been cooperating with the Obama Administration in pushing the nuclear deal through. The so-called Reformists and Hardliners alike applauded that lobby and set out to claim the actual opposition to the regime as their own. Activists like me who oppose the deal are summarily labeled as “war-mongers” simply because we are not going to let go of the issue of the Khomeinist regime’s ongoing human rights violations.
In the face of all adversity, we continue our efforts, without any meaningful backing of any sort, and keep on raising awareness about the brutality of the Islamist oligarchy and its role in the ongoing destruction of Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Syria (by helping Bashar al-Assad) and many other parts of the region. Yet pointing out facts and offering documentation seems to make no difference, and we are labeled as “Islamophobe” by naïve westerners who have bought into Tehran’s wholesale unwholesome propaganda.
The whole political game in the Middle East has created a huge division among Middle Easterners, and therefore, the rest of the world. While ISIS – a political-religious aberration – have the freedom to post horrific images of their atrocities on social media, we activists are under scrutiny and continue to be harassed, mislabeled, lied about, and generally attacked.
We come from the Middle East where the majority of us have Muslim families and friends and cannot possibly be afraid of “Muslims.” Our fear is the misjudgment and lack of knowledge of those who have nothing or little knowledge about the Middle East. Freedom of expression for us activists who strive for freedom and democracy for Iran and peace in the Middle East has turned into a double-edged sword. We are actively being pushed aside and marginalized by all those who use the freedoms of the West in order to reverse the process of human evolution back towards the dark ages.