Thursday, March 16, 2006

Harvard Students Hold "Iran Freedom Concert" in Solidarity with Iranian Student Movement for Democracy and Civil Rights

CAMBRIDGE – On Saturday, March 18, Harvard University will host the
Iran Freedom Concert, a rally organized by Harvard students to support
their counterparts in Iran. Prominent Iranian student leader Akbar
Atri and Harvard's Undergraduate Council president John Haddock will
address the crowd.

"As tensions rise over nuclear issues, our diverse student coalition
wants to spotlight the human side of the Iran crisis," said
co-organizer Adam Scheuer, a senior and editor at the Harvard Middle
East Review.

"Iranian students are denied basic rights Americans take advantage of
every day. But there is a brave student movement in Iran working for
change, and we need to support them." Widespread student protests in
Iran have broken out in recent years, despite a brutal crackdown by
the regime's security forces.

Iranian students
are denied basic rights

The concert, which begins at 9 p.m. at Leverett House, features
leading campus musicians and speakers from campus groups exposing
repression in Iran. Nine organizations are co-sponsoring, including an
unusual alliance of campus Democrats and Republicans.

"The coalition doesn't take a stand on policy debates like foreign
intervention," explained freshman co-organizer Alex McLeese. "But we
agree that the fundamental rights of Iranians cannot be held hostage
to diplomatic maneuverings over Iran's nuclear program."

The Iran Freedom Concert takes place just before the traditional
Persian new year of Norouz – reflecting the students' hope for a new
day for freedom in Iran.

"Iranian students are arrested for what they write on their blogs and
have to take their exams in handcuffs," noted freshman co-organizer
Nick Manske. "In fact, the essential elements of this concert are
illegal in Iran: live singing, mixed dancing, and discussing social
messages. Not to mention the restrictions on women, minorities, and

Iranian students are arrested for
what they write on their blogs
and have to take
their exams in handcuffs

That message is being echoed on campuses across the country, with
simultaneous rallies planned at Georgetown, UPenn, Duke, and other
schools. Prominent Iranian dissidents, as well as the American Islamic
Congress, are sending statements of support.

"This is a critical moment for Iran," Scheuer said. "Iranian activists
need to know that American students are ready to help them hold the
Iranian regime accountable. We want to help our counterparts in Iran
seize the moment and advance their civil rights movement."

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