I’ve Been Thinking…

I’ve been thinking.  Often when ordinary people are inspired to champion the rights of others they are warned off doing anything.  Afraid that they might become so-called ‘armchair activists’, they back away, discouraged.

But perhaps there is work to be done, even from an armchair?

In an article in yesterday’s Huffington Post, Ida Lichter makes a case for ‘adopting’ Iranian women prisoners of conscience.  She encourages ordinary people to work with NGOs to help get these women out of prison.

Women like Nasrin Sotoudeh.  Nasrin is a human rights lawyer who is currently on hunger strike in Evin Prison in Tehran,  Her ‘crime’ is defending the rights of women and children.  The fact that she has been wrongly imprisoned is widely recognised by everyone except the Iranian government it seems.  Nasrin was one of this year’s recipients of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.  A prestigious prize previously awarded to Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi, amongst others.

Nasrin has two children – 5 year old son, Nima and 12 year old daughter, Mehraveh.  In one of the many letters she writes to them this is what she said –

I know you require water, food, housing, a family, parents, love, and visits with your mother. However, just as much, you need freedom, social security, the rule of law, and justice. Please be aware that these concepts have not been easily achieved anywhere in the world. Nowhere in the world was the law upheld when written on torn sheets of paper. Our insistence on the rule of law is what brings a law into existence.  Thus, you should know that you and I are forming and building the law together. Sending you a thousand kisses. I suffer from not having held you in months. I hope that the suffering is not in vain.

I love you both,


Do you think Nasrin might like some help?

Even help from armchair activists?

I do.




    1. A ton of feathers still weighs a ton – I think it is always worth doing something, no matter how small. Plus I always think if I was wrongly imprisoned I’d like to think people were trying to help – even if their actions were ineffective it’d make me feel less alone. Thanks, Lisa.

    1. That’s a good point and I don’t think you’re wrong, I just think we are all connected so everything is ‘right here’ in a sense. Maybe it’s a case of ‘as well as’ and not ‘instead of’? Thanks.

  1. It’s hard for many of us in the West to understand how much courage it takes to defy the system in other nations — or even to just criticize it. And yet the situation doesn’t seem hopeless, because always the people who wish to control and do harm are greatly outnumbered. For some reason, though, we have a tendency to let them get their hands on the power. We have to stop doing that. Leadership is a privilege, and should be reserved for those who deserve the honor.

    1. I couldn’t agree more with everything you say, Charles, especially the fact that we have to stop letting the outnumbered ‘bad guys’act with impunity. Somehow they’ve managed to convince us that we – the majority – can’t beat them even though we vastly outnumber them. I’m not much of a statistician but even I can work out that the number odds must be in our favour. Head games. What we need to work out is what it’ll take to convince ourselves that we have the power to change things, I think if we could see our power it’d dissolve apathy. Right now we generally feel powerless which makes us turn away and, understandably, refuse to take responsibility. Thanks, Charles.

    1. So true. We definitely forget the sacrifice that went into our freedoms in the first place. I also agree with your point about the cost of keeping our freedoms. We seem to think that we don’t need to do anything to maintain the freedom we have and I’m sure that one of the things we need to do in our hyper-connected world is to make sure everybody has freedom. We’re like mountain climbers tied onto each other – one goes and we all go. Our comfort is illusory – or so it seems to me at least. Thanks.

    1. Many governments are demanding her release but unfortunately she is still in prison – hopefully though the pressure will eventually be successful, Elizabeth.

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