You are a member of a global family, and your kin represent an intricate tapestry of circumstances. It is such a big world and we must all share this limited space. However, we are steadily growing ever more interconnected. We have transcended our physical limits of space and time with exciting advances in communication technology. But our steady movement towards greater global intimacy signals the need for a change in consciousness.
Let’s talk about my personal experience.
If I learn that my neighbour is ill, I find myself in the uncomfortable position of having to make an important moral decision that, I believe, is the basis for many matters of justice.
Should I labour ceaselessly until my neighbour is well, or should I act as if I never knew? Besides, my responsibility towards my neighbour is diffused across many people who also know of my neighbour’s condition. One of us will eventually step forward, I’m certain. So if I do nothing, I cannot be held accountable for it.
But it’s not that simple. There is yet another factor that impacts my decision; namely, CAN I help? Is my neighbour suffering from a fatal disease or from the common cold? Do they need a friend or a physician? Do they even want my help? Would it be prudent for me to get involved? Should I contact a third party who is better suited for this particular situation?
Many of these questions will have to be answered before I decide to help, sure, but here is the joy of intimacy: will you take action or will you allow yourself to become preoccupied with the overwhelming burden of wells, whys, what ifs and perhapses?
I tend to stay away from academic discussions of altruism, generosity, love, and justice because, honestly, I think they’re a waste of precious resources. The only philosophy required to take action against injustice is grandma/pa’s advice:
“Do what you can, the rest will work itself out”
“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you should read up on those malaria bugs”
“What are you standing around here for, grab a rake and give us a hand!!”
Admittedly, during the infancy of communication technology we were all pretty much passive consumers of information. Nothing was expected of the individual. I was still just one person who really wished he could do something for someone else, but didn’t know how to go about doing it. But now, things are different. New and creative ways have been developed for channeling your voice, your skills, and your resources to provide for the needs of communities all around the world.
So here’s my appeal.
Students in Iran are experiencing a serious crisis right now. To stay enrolled at a University depends on how well you conform to the standards established by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Seriously, I want you to think about this.
You just graduated from High School. Your marks are at the top of your class. You’re dedicated to pursuing Engineering, a field that will not only enrich your life, but the social and economic life of your country. You apply to a university and you get in! Sweet. So you start your engineering program and then a little while into the program this happens:
On 20 December 2010, a Baha’i who was studying at the Engineering School of Natural Resources at Yazd University was denied access to his online student account. Subsequently, he found out that his name has been deleted from the system. School authorities referred him to the National Education Measurement and Evaluation Organization (EMEO) in Tehran. On 27 December, he went to EMEO to follow up and the person in charge stated that according to the provisions set out by the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, Baha’is have no right to higher education; however, the official refused to give the student a written document stating the reason for his expulsion.
Currently, you can be expelled from or denied access to higher education in Iran just for being a human rights defender, a student activist, a women’s rights activist, a member of a religious minority, or simply because you have the avocados to elevate the social discourse to something more than the status quo.
Watch this video:
Now select your country below (or you can select International):
Good job, now scroll to the bottom of the page you just opened sign the freakin’ petition! It’s soooo simple, but it’s something isn’t it? Now you don’t have to sit there and think, “man, I wish I could do something for that student way out there in exotic Persia land.”
If you enjoyed being “involved” why not try these:
Welcome to the world of internet activism. Hey, hold on a second!! You don’t have to stop there. Now it’s time for you to be creative. What else could you do to raise awareness about the situation of Iranian students? Please post your ideas as a response.
Check out this video for some idea of what’s going on: