Let’s pray the dispute in Iran ends peacefully

I was waiting for my bus in downtown Vancouver the other night when an unconventional gathering grabbed my attention.

I was waiting for my bus in downtown Vancouver the other night when an unconventional gathering grabbed my attention.

It was in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the favoured venue for those protesting poverty, pot laws, the Olympics, etc.

But this was more vigil than protest, and the hundreds of people standing silently, many holding lit candles, projected a quiet power altogether lacking in the usual shrill productions that take place in that space.

It was the eighth of 10 nights of silent protest against the Iranian government’s crackdown on the forces of change in that country, I discovered.

The people in this crowd were mostly Iranian, overwhelmingly young and dressed in black to honour protesters killed by the Iranian government. Small groups both stood and sat, quietly talking. Some held candles, others signs in Farsi. Some wore green wrist bands in support of Iranian opposition leader Mirhossein Moussavi.

At the top of the art gallery steps was a screen flashing images of defiance, transmitted out of Iran via cellphone.

Some of the photos showed streets in Iran filled with people, each of them showing courage in the face of a government determined to cling to power — courage that was inspiring these Vancouverites to take a stand for their homeland.

One young lady I talked to said most of her family remained in Iran. When I asked if she was able to stay in touch with them, she said the Iranian government was interfering with phone and email and shutting down many of the websites making it possible to do so, such as Facebook.

The next big protest in Iran – one that opposition leaders were urging people to attend – was going to take place in a couple of days, she told me.

Liberal MP Bob Rae spoke words of encouragement at the vigil and somebody handed me a Communist Party of Canada pamphlet, but this was no political event; it was a human event.

The tired, dogmatic and increasingly desperate old men who now rule Iran are out of step with both the new world and the core tenets of the religion they profess to follow.

Their subjects who are filling the streets of Iran and calling out from the rooftops are predominantly young and full of energy, with time and history on their side. They are thirsty for freedom and tired of living under the boot of a government that manipulates elections, tries to control every facet of life and clashes with the international community at every opportunity.

Thanks to the technological revolution that has given rise to cellphone cameras and social media such as Twitter, the world is watching this people revolution closely.

Let’s pray that it ends peacefully and that its outcome does justice to the Iranians who are rising up in their own country – and the millions of others around the world who are in solidarity with them.

James Kwantes is a former Advocate editor. He can be reached at gone-coastal@hotmail.com.

Just Posted

Bystanders help Innisfail Mountie make arrest

A 35-year-old Ottawa man is facing a number of charges including resisting arrest

More supports for homeless needed for Red Deer

Provincial funding recently announced for Lethbridge

Second Central Alberta born jaguar dies

Mia’s brother Magnum dead at Discovery Wildlife Park

High profile individual delays UCP vote for Red Deer-South

Nomination vote to be held early in 2019

Police back mandatory alcohol screening

New legislation taking effect on Dec. 18 allows alcohol testing of all drivers legally stopped

Orlando SC acquires Canadian Tesho Akindele in trade with FC Dallas for cash

ORLANDO, Fla. — Canadian forward Tesho Akindele was traded to Orlando City… Continue reading

Koskinen notches third shutout, McDavid gets winner as Oilers blank Flames 1-0

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers appear to have shored up their defence… Continue reading

Beyonce performs at pre-wedding party in India

Beyonce brought her star power to a pre-wedding party for the daughter… Continue reading

Kirk Douglas celebrates 102nd birthday

LOS ANGELES — Actor Kirk Douglas got to celebrate his 102nd birthday… Continue reading

Ellen Page steps up attack on Nova Scotia pulp mill’s effluent pipeline

HALIFAX — Hollywood actor Ellen Page is doubling down on her criticism… Continue reading

Pence aide out of running to be Trump’s next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top pick to replace chief of staff… Continue reading

Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain… Continue reading

‘I killed my best friend’: Opioids’ fatal grip on mayor, pal

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

Most Read