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Iran Survey
”Everyone can do something and if only everybody had this mindset we could make a change”
On how creative industries can shine a light on the protests in Iran
ATEFEH SEBDANI
12 Oct 2022

After a long career in the tech industry, Atefeh Sebdani has put that on pause and is currently working on her first book. In addition to this, she writes poetry and works with activism.

Can you share your thoughts on what is happening in Iran right now and how this is affecting you personally?

— We might see an ongoing revolution in Iran and while I say these words, my entire body is full of hope, despair, and powerlessness. Because we’ve seen these efforts before and the suffocation and bloodbath of the same efforts. We are here far away, comfortable and safe, not knowing if we want our dear relatives to hide away or to fight harder. These three weeks have been a full-blown, real, and live horror and all we can do from here is to echo their voices but not only that: to grasp everybody’s arms and convince them to react and act. We need to make people change the world we live in, together.

Why is this happening right now? In regard to cultural and generational changes.

— A huge portion of the Iranian people are younger. Furthermore, above 80% of the habitants are highly educated. Remember that on top of this, the oppression has been ongoing for 43 years, meaning a majority of the population of Iran has never felt freedom in their lives. 

— As the years pass, everything gets worse; poverty, inequality, terror, medical care, pollution, freedom of speech, censorship, LGBT+ lives, and more. The younger generation has had enough and the elderly are also standing up now stating; we’ve already lived through this hell but you shouldn’t have to!

Have you seen any initiatives in your industry that are supporting or at least discussing what is happening right now?

— It’s getting there but it was a very slow and disappointing start. Many of us exiled Iranians have been working day and night to wake the industry, journalists, organizations, politicians, and so forth up. Some have yet to be awakened.

If not, what would you like to see?

— I am sick and tired of the fuss from some of our heaviest political names. I know that we are in a transitional government. However, I will not accept that as an answer. They are still in their respective roles and further on and they’ve had years to make a change. And yet, in this critical time, they come with fluffy words about the killing of Jina Mahsa Amini but not much about how they plan to take any action against this horrific regime. I’m still waiting for them to act.

In regards to the regime’s internet shutdown, how can we, who have unlimited access to social media, help and keep shedding light on the situation?

— Educate yourself on what is going on. It doesn’t have to be deep, anyone who can read can find out that we are dealing with a regime that is committing crimes against human rights. That is enough for everybody in the world to get loud. Also, do what you can from where you stand and within your knowledge and network. Everyone can do something and if only everybody had this mindset we could make a change. Change begins with you.