Saturday, December 11, 2010

December 2010 Show

Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Iran
December 10, 2010
For podcast of this interview please Click here!

The situation of human rights in Iran is of concern, because the West is so pre-occupied with the nuclear issue that the question is never raised in the context of the negotiations and/or the confrontation with the Islamic Republic. Two of the groups that face gross discriminations by the government, as well as the society, are religious and sexual minorities. These groups do not threaten the governmental establishment in a po...litical way, but still are subjected to mostly silent violations of the Human Rights. Followers of Baha'i and Jewish faiths are accused of spying for Israel and their loyalty is questioned. Their education and chances for participation in regular life are extremely minimal and in many cases they are denied equal opportunities. The GLBT communities on the other hand are treated as outcasts, both by the society and by the government.

I talked with representatives from both groups in my show 'Voices of the Middle East.' Two members of the Portland Baha'i community will speak about the situation of their community in Iran and the persecution by the government. Later we will hear from a Gay refugee in Portland about Gays in Iran, their involuntary migration to Turkey and finally their resettlement in Portland.

Jacqueline Left Hand Bull (Delahunt) lives in Portland and is the Administrative Officer of an organization that serves 43 native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest with health issues including research, policy, service delivery, and capacity building. She is also the Chairperson of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States – the elected nine-person body that governs the affairs of the American Bahá’í community in the 48 contiguous states.

Merat Bagha lives in Portland and is the President of Tiba Medical, a small medical device company. Born and raised in Iran, he is a longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest having completed his undergraduate studies at Oregon State University and graduate studies at the University of Washington. In 1981, his mother, Mrs Shidrukh Amirkia Bagha, was arrested in post-revolutionary Iran for hosting a Bahá’í gathering. After a 3 month incarceration in the notorious Evin Prison, she was summarily executed along with 7 members of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Tehran.

Arash is a pseudo name for an Iranian Gay refugee who has lived in Portland for the past 14 months. He has spent 2 years in Turkey before being accepted by US. There are hundreds of sexual minority members among thousands of the Iranian asylum seekers in Turkey waiting for their cases to be processed by UN and western countries. Arash like other refugees who arrived in the past few years is still looking for a descent job and to realize the dream that youth from Iran are hoping for in the USA. If you or anyone you know can offer him and his friends a good job please call the station or contact Goudarz via email at