On May 10th 2007, the day we started our trip, we were average Iranian citizens who saw themselves under the shadow of an imminent threat. A war that had already devastated two of our neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan, was now staring us right in the face. And the same propaganda machine that had, a few years earlier, prepared the public opinion for the invasion of these countries, was now intensely focusing on us; capitalizing on the same fear and ignorance to justify greater economic sanctions and eventual military actions against our country.
We felt overwhelmed, misunderstood and isolated in a world that unfairly viewed us, or so we thought it did, as a bunch of terrorists staunchly seeking nuclear weapons for evil purposes. We could not afford to be silent. We had to be heard! We had to remind the people of the world of the great civilization that was, and is, ours. Share with them the richness of our culture and the depth of our spirituality. And reassure them, that as a nation, we have not initiated any aggression against any other country for the past 260 years!
With the ambition to spread these messages, and yet with realistic expectations, we packed our bags, took our bicycles and embarked into a long journey across the western hemisphere. We knew that the task that we had undertaken was an almost impossible one. Truly, it was more the sense of responsibility than optimism that had driven us to this project. After all, how could a dozen Iranian citizens on bicycle have any significant influence on the western public opinion against the constant negative propaganda of media giants? Or again, how could they change the course of international politics in a world governed by corporate interests, ideological conflicts and geostrategical calculations?
But as we pedaled through the European and North American continent; from the ancient alleys of Rome to the green hills of Passau to the crowded boulevards of Paris, Los Angeles and New York, and as we met with thousands of people from the four corners of the western world, a new and unexpected hope began to emerge within us.
We encountered an impressive number of individuals rising up against injustice and going beyond their ways, to defend the rights of other human beings living thousands of miles away from them. We were witnessing a true spirit of universal compassion breaking through the boundaries of personal egos, nationalities and religions and gradually expanding all over the human family. A 58 year old British man who had been camping in the Parliament square of London for over 6 years to protest the suffering of Iraqi civilians, affirmed to us in the most determined voice that “Not a single Iraqi child shall be killed in my name”. We came across an American woman in Washington D.C who was staging three weeks of hunger strike to protest the military threats of an American Senator against Iran. “I am fasting with my spirit” she said, clearly demonstrating, in her words and actions, that the spirit of humankind is truly one. In Chicago, we joined with thousands of other people who were gathering from London, Buenos Aires, San Francisco…to voice, each in their own way, the sufferings of people living in Baghdad, Kabul and Jerusalem.
Something strange and extraordinary might be on the verge happening! Maybe, through the beating drums of war, the loud explosions of cluster bombs, the poisonous dust of depleted uranium and the heart-wrenching cries of agonizing mothers; we are witnessing the painful, yet miraculous, birth of a new integrated world, and the emergence of a higher level of human consciousness.
On July 23rd 2007, the day our long trip ended, we were no longer average Iranian citizens, but engaged citizens of a new world!
We have traveled thousands of miles for peace, but it only seems like a first step on the long and difficult road that is ahead of us. A road to world peace, that we are now more determined that ever to cross.
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|[02 Aug 07] :: The Miles for Peace team attend the US Congress and meet with members of the Congress|
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|On Wednesday and Thursday the Miles for Peace team met with members of the US Congress in order to convey the peaceful message of the people of Iran to the members as representatives of the people of the United States.|
During these two days members of the Miles for Peace team, with the help of Peaceful organizations in Washington – especially Ms. Leslie Angeline, who had gone on a 24 day hunger strike to protest the harsh statements made by Senator Joe Lieberman about military strikes to be taken against Iran, met with four members of Congress, in their offices, and delivered a message of peace on behalf of the people of Iran. They also gathered around the entrance of the Congress Hall to speak with members of Congress while they were leaving the building, in order to introduce the peaceful message of Miles for Peace; and to express their discontent with any military, or otherwise aggressive actions that might be taken against the people of Iran. It is important to note that a number of these members of Congress were not willing to grant an audience and listen to the message of peace being delivered by the Cyclists. Some of those who agreed to speak with the cyclists are the following:
• Jesse Jackson
• Barbara Lee
• Lynn Woolsey
• Jack Kingston
• Trent Franks
• Ortiz Solomon
• Delvard Rosa
• Gus Bilirakis
• Jim Moran
• Payn Donald
• Minh Ta
• Maxine Waters
posted on 02 Aug 07 @ 14:00
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