Freedom for Alizadeh – 02/21/2021 – Mathias Alencastro

On the day that Folha celebrated his centenary, he removed a star from anonymity. A character worthy of a Victor Hugo novel, Mahnaz Alizadeh went through the great revolutions that have marked Iranian society over the past two decades, documented the heroism of militants, and ended up being dragged by a network of trafficking in human beings in Acre, where reporter Fabiano Maisonnave took her to find herself shaken by a traumatic passage through the prison system and distressed by its process.

Alizadeh, 35, brings in his bags a piece of Iranian youth history. His generation entered politics at the turn of the century, always in the wake of the reformist experiment led by Mohammad Khatami in the 1990s, considered a failure. The campaign for a million signatures for the abolition of discriminatory laws, the first struggle in which she was engaged, is remembered as a revealing moment for the women’s movement and a catalyst for the social process which culminated in the ” Green Revolution ”of 2009, when the regime has approached collapse since its founding in 1979.

The government responded with a campaign of repression that has intensified over time. The year 2018, for example, is described by Amnesty International as “the year of shame” after the arrest of 7,000 activists. Documentary filmmaker with a recognized career abroad, Alizadeh dared to give the floor to lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, a reference in the field of human rights with a life marked by absurd convictions and strikes of hunger. Alizadeh is the profile of the activist that the regime seeks to neutralize to silence icons like Sotoudeh.

Pursued by a regime recognized for its ability to act beyond its borders, Alizadeh’s generation travels between the Middle East, Europe and the United States in an incessant and precarious search for protection. The fact that his deportation from Brazil is still on the table demonstrates our lack of awareness of the risks facing Iranian exiles. Recently, activist Ruhollah Zam, who has lived in France since 2011, was lured to Baghdad by Iranian agents with the promise of interviewing a senior Iraqi official. Captured and taken to Tehran, Zam was ultimately convicted of “corruption on earth”, one of the country’s gravest crimes, and executed with all fanfare and under all circumstances last year.

Alizadeh found in Brazil a country plagued by pandemic and environmental calamity, a civil society plagued by an explosion of violations and violence, and a government Olympicly indifferent to its suffering. Like so many other Republican monuments, the Brazilian migration regime is being deconstructed by the Bolsonaro government with attempts at hardening and politicization. It now remains for the Brazilians to live up to their trajectory. Everyone must take action to resolve their legal situation, organize their protection and prepare for their future. The abandonment of the Alizadeh cause would be another blow to the ideas of freedom and universalism in Brazil.

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