Haleh Esfandiari is the director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She was detained and arrested in Iran while visiting her aging mother in December and prevented from leaving the country. She was subsequently threatened, pressured, and repeatedly questioned by security authorities. Most recently, on May 8, 2007, she was arrested without charges and taken to Evin Prison.
A signature on a petition is no effort on our behalf. Writing an email to our newspaper or a letter to the authorities takes perhaps a little more of our time. Walking in the streets and picketing the Indian or Pakistani or Iranian consulates and embassies is perhaps the best possible action for those of us far-removed. These cases of academics, artists, and doctors suffering the injustices of the State may never rise us out of our respective complacencies but they should. They really, really should.
Juan Cole has decided to pull out of a conference in Iran to protest Haleh’s detainment. Similar action by scholars could and should add up to pressure the Iranian govt. says Robin Wright’s Boycott Threat Puts Pressure on Iran to Release Scholar