I am on a bus - hurtling from NYC to Boston, MA where I will have a show. I have been laughing and having a grand old time with Helen Gillet. I am fortunate to be free to express myself creatively in this way.
I just got this email, and because there is wifi on this bus, and because this moved me so much I couldn't wait, I am posting this letter that I just received from my friend Sylvia K. If it is the only thing you do today - read this to the end:
I hope I can steal a second of your time and ask you to read this. This girl's story has been haunting me for the last few days, and I feel so powerless, but I do know that many powerless individuals can make a change.
In case you didn't know her : Kiana Firouz, 27 years old, lesbian, Iranian, she stars in a movie that'll open in London in a few days, Cul de Sac, a documentary about the condition of lesbians in Iran.
Kiana is now in England, she requested asylum there but the British Home Office rejected her application. She could be deported to Iran any moment now, where she will most likely be sentenced to death, after torture and reclusion, because of the explicit lesbian scenes in the movie.
In Iran, homosexuality is not only an unspeakable sin, but it is also against the law. The punishment for lesbianism involving mature consenting women consists of 100 lashes. This punishment can be applied up to 3 times, and then the woman is sentenced to death. For Kiana though, the death sentence could come much sooner, because of the proof contained in the movie.
What I wonder is, is there really nothing we can do? Why don't other countries spontaneously offer asylum to Kiana? I know nothing about these things, would it be ''illegal''?
As the little activist that I am, I wrote to numerous newspapers, politicians (both Italian and foreign), and to the British Home Office as was asked by the 'EveryOne' activists (you can also send protest e-mail messages to the British Home Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) requesting that Kiana receive refugee status as soon as possible, for she is a symbol of the international fight against homophobia and repression of gays and lesbians in Islamic countries.)
Still, no major newspaper even remotely talks about Kiana's story, nor do gay activists. People don't seem to care much at all. I do.
Last night I wrote to Kiana. Nothing much, only to say that I was so saddened and angry, that her story had moved and inspired me and that I was SO thankful to her for standing up for what she truly believed in.
This morning before going out I found her reply. It goes like this :
I am proud of you. we should proud of each other for being strong. I am so thankful for your supportive and kindly letter. It does not matter what is going to happen to me. Its all about freedom.
Take care and do not forget you are not alone, we are many...
I wrote it on a piece of paper and hurried out of the house.
I spent the greater part of this rainy day sitting in one of the University's courtyards, crying alone, while listening to M.I.A.'s song ''born free'' that suddenly was making so much sense to me. I mean, somebody who is in her situation, who has the strenght to write something like ''It does not matter what is going to happen to me. Its all about freedom'' breaks my heart into tiny insignificant pieces.
Because I look at myself, always complaining about homophobia in Italy, about the fact we have no equal rights, and I feel like a fucking piece of shit. Because for me, it is SO easy to go to London, to Paris, to Berlin and be the butchest fiercest lesbian around, without having to be afraid of being lashed 100, 200, 300 times and then hung, a thick rope around my neck, people rejoycing all around.
So please, please, please, I beg you, just talk to people about this, send Kiana's story to someone who could help, just raise awareness before it's too late.
For reference, here is the movie's official website with some contact info too
this is the petition endorsed by Kiana herself
and here you can find out some more about her story
Thank you SO much in advance.