Recently, Jafar Beheshti, a native Iranian and peace activist, undertook a hunger strike on the North Seattle Community College Campus. His goal was to alert others to the fight for democracy and freedom and the violations of human rights that are occurring in Iran. As a young man in Iran, Mr. Beheshti was a political prisoner for six years.
I close my eyes as I write this; I picture my experience, and let the words flow. All lights in my room are out and my computer monitor is off.
Doors swung wide as I stepped out into the courtyard. The day was overcast and a touch of humid glaze filled my pores. I set my bag down on the wooden bench across from his tent as I watched him pace back and forth with the stub of a cigarette in hand. His left hand cupped his elbow as if the cigarette was a burden, and needed lifting. As I approached him, I saw a sign offering free political literature. It took him a few moments to even notice my presence; he was obviously deep in thought. I asked him abruptly, "Doesn't the hunger get to you?" he replied, "I have the choice to eat, but political prisoners of war have been robbed of all dignity, I am merely stepping into one portion of their shoes.” The next question I was almost afraid to ask, "How can one demonstration, with only one man, change society?"
He replied, "Society is not made up of thousands, society is you and me, right here, right now."