Last night I had the privilege — and I mean that in every sense — to attend the private 20th anniversary dinner for The International Women’s Media Foundation. We seldom hear how dangerous it is for women who work in media outside of Western countries: journalists, filmmakers, photographers. (Although I did reflect that I have not had a death threat or suggestion of violence to my person since I stopped writing for SFGate.) After going to an event for the organization that helps, encourages and rewards women who bravely risk their lives to create media, I’m astonished to read that the UK has denied filmmaker Kiana Firouz asylum.
Please take a minute to learn about what Firouz is going through, and help make some noise about this. She is a 27-year-old filmmaker, actress, and outspoken LGBT activist who is from Iran. Her country, if she is forced to return, will punish her for “acts of lesbianism” as seen in her most recent film. The punishment for this is “100 lashes.” If she is found guilty of “the unspeakable sin of homosexuality” — and as she is a lesbian, and as Iranian media has publicized her sexual orientation — the punishment is execution by public hanging.
I highly recommend that you read about what she’s going through right now, and about the documentary film “Cul de Sac” that she is in, profiling the conditions of lesbians in Iran. The film is based heavily on Firouz’s life story. I find it somewhat ironic that the film was produced in the UK, and that the UK has refused Firouz’s application for asylum. It can’t be better now that the UK has a new conservative government that is “tough on immigration.” The film premieres in London this weekend.
There is a petition for Firouz here. I have to ask, is this all we can do? Read more in the Coilhouse post Save The Life Of Kiana Firouz. Read about the film, and why they made it, in On Film, The Trials Of An Iranian Lesbian Activist. (thanks for the tip, unknownbinaries)