Archive for يونيو 4th, 2017

Murals as symbols of solidarity, resilience الاخلاقيات كرموز للتضامن والمرونة

04-06-2017

نشر 4 يونيو 2017 على موقع الجامعة البهائية العالمية

4 June 2017

NEW YORK, United States — Marthalicia Matarrita is a L1173_00atina artist from New York City. Although her life is a world away from Iran, Ms. Matarrita’s artwork connected her with Education is Not a Crime, a street art campaign to raise awareness of the denial of education to Baha’i students in Iran.

It is a formally instituted state policy of the Iranian government to ban the Baha’is, Iran’s largest religious minority, from teaching and studying in universities.

IN DEPTH: Listen to learn more about the background of Education is Not a Crime and the upcoming film

Diane Ala’i from the BIC provides background on the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education in Iran. Education is Not a Crime Coordinator Saleem Vaillancourt talks about the background of the campaign and its new film, Changing the World, One Wall at a Time.

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Ms. Matarrita was born and raised in Harlem, a historic New York City neighborhood known as a center of African-American and Hispanic life and culture. Because of her own experience struggling with institutionalized injustice as she was pursuing an education in the city, Ms. Matarrita forged a personal connection with the stories of the Baha’i students for whom she painted a mural on a public school in Harlem.

Her mural—a child and a flower symbolizing the seed that education plants—is just one of many across Harlem and around the world calling for equality through art as part of the Education is Not a Crime campaign.

The story of the unusual street art campaign and the history of the human rights issue behind it are captured in the new documentary Changing the World, One Wall at a Time.

Education is Not a Crime

Education is Not a Crime was started by the Iranian-Canadian filmmaker Maziar Bahari in 2014. Mr. Bahari is not a Baha’i himself, but he has worked to expose the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran for several years, notably beginning with the release of his documentary To Light a Candle in 2014.

Mr. Bahari’s background and work over the years connected him to the plight of the Iranian Baha’i community. In 2009, he was arrested under the charge of being a spy and imprisoned for four months. His prison experience was profoundly transformational, and upon his release he began to dedicate his life’s work to the improvement of human rights conditions in Iran.

Many human rights activists, including Mr. Bahari, see the Baha’is in Iran as a barometer issue, meaning that if Baha’is are being mistreated, their civil liberties disrespected, and their human rights denied, it’s an indication that the government of Iran is not sincere in its claim to respect the human rights of any groups.

Mr. Bahari’s work, both with the Education is Not a Crime campaign and To Light a Candle, draws attention to the distinctive response of the Iranian Baha’i community to oppression through the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), an informal university program that is implemented in living rooms and through online courses. Over the last thirty years, BIHE has assisted thousands of Baha’i youth to complete their education in a number of fields. Many students have continued onto their masters and doctorate programs at well-known universities around the world which have accepted its graduates for further studies.

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The mural “To Blossom” by artist Tatyana Fazalizadeh is located at PS92 in Harlem. It is a part of the Education is Not a Crime campaign, which raises awareness about the denial of education to Iranian Baha’i.
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