14 09 2009

The Siege of Ashraf

Camp Ashraf Hunger Strike.
Protestors Praying.
Standing in Solidarity.

Hunger Striker

Ashraf Protest: Children too.

INTV Press Release.

Hunger Strike.

Camp Ashraf is a small Iraqi city just 75 miles west of the Iranian border. Here, many Iranian refugees have taken residence for about 23 years. It was in this camp that the first members of the Peoples Mujahedin of Iran began to make a home for themselves and has only grown since. The PMOI has fought to affect revolution and establish a free Iran since their inception.

During the Iraq war, the PMOI and other residents of this camp worked with the United States military in their mission to liberate Iraq from Sadaam Hussein’s dictatorship. As a result of their cooperation, the residents of Camp Ashraf were listed as a protected people under the Geneva Convention. Under this title, the people of Camp Ashraf are to be protected by the United States military. On January 1st, 2009 Camp Ashraf, in addition to many other Iraqi facilities was turned over to Iraqi security forces. Six months later, Iraqi police attempted to enter Camp Ashraf without the consent of its residents. The residents of Ashraf came together attempting to defend themselves from the offensive but their efforts were quickly rendered ineffective and Camp Ashraf was seized.

As a result of the raids, a handful of people were killed and over 300 people were injured. Additionally, the upper echelon of the PMOI, a total of 36 men were arrested, extracted, and deported to Iranian jails.

Hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world have spent weeks protesting this Iraqi action and the hands off policy of the United States through hunger strikes all over the world. One of these hunger strikes is located just steps away from the White House in Washington, DC. On day 45, I spent a little over an hour talking to a protester by the name, Amir. He is an Iranian-American who lives in the United States. Amir has a family, a full time job, a mortgage, and other responsibilities, but has spent the last 45 days of his life protesting this destruction of human life and rights. He and many others have spent day and night praying for their voices to be heard and for their countrymen locked in Iranian prisons to be released.

Amir spent time with me as he does with anyone willing to listen explaining their mission, their goals, and their distress. Amir and his peers continue their hunger strike today and will until they achieve justice.




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