My closest friends are from Iran. I consider them my brothers and they treat me like family. They’ve told me their tales of escaping a country after the revolution and finding their way to America and freedom. Each is a successful, humble, respectful and loyal person. And each still has family in Iran. Even though they were all tied up with personal commitments on Saturday, I headed down to the Federal Building in Westwood to photograph the protest by Iranian Americans in support of their fellow Iranians at home battling for freedom.
I’ve photographed for too many years and know the perils of actually participating in a protest as opposed to documenting it as a photojournalist. The line between photojournalist and protester is an important one. Although I was there to document, my love and respect for my friends (who weren’t there) made it a more personal experience than most other demonstrations I’ve covered.
The demonstrators were passionate and peaceful, yet they exhibited a energy that seemed destined to find it’s way to the men and women defying threats at home to battle government forces in ways that haven’t been seen in nearly thirty years (or so I’ve been told). There were older Iranians standing next to teens twittering on their iPhones, women leading chants with megaphones and children with signs they made themselves. Everyone was draped in green, signs depicted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a criminal and photos from the protests in Iran showing spilled blood circulated widely.
Time will tell if the protests both in Iran and worldwide will have an impact, but if Saturday was any indication, the support from the Los Angeles Iranian American community is not likely to subside anytime soon.
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