As the world mourns and eulogizes Nelson Mandela for his life’s work as the “last great liberator of the 20th century” , a Christian American pastor sits in one of the most brutal prisons in Iran. If there was ever an event that sheds light on hypocrisy it would have to be this one.
World leaders gathered from all around the world to honor a man who stood for justice and equality. Nelson Mandela spent over 27 years in prison for fighting against a tyrannical government in his country of South Africa. A country that was for so long bounded by the oppressive legacy of apartheid. Mandela was released in 1990 and later became the first black President of South Africa and was instrumental in uniting a racially divided and oppressed country.
President Obama has compared Mandela to leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi. In his eulogy of Mandela, Obama reflected on how Nelson Mandela’s life impacted him and how he was a beneficiary of those like Mandela who fought against racial oppression in his own country of the United States. Obama further stated,
..But in America, and in South Africa, and in countries all around the globe, we cannot allow our progress to cloud the fact that our work is not yet done. The struggles that follow the victory of formal equality or universal franchise may not be as filled with drama and moral clarity as those that came before, but they are no less important. For around the world today, we still see children suffering from hunger and disease. We still see run-down schools. We still see young people without prospects for the future. Around the world today, men and women are still imprisoned for their political beliefs, and are still persecuted for what they look like, and how they worship, and who they love. That is happening today.
The words from our own President ring true that our work is still not yet done in liberating those who are oppressed, yet for over one year an Iranian-American minister named Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned in Iran without any active efforts by this administration for his release. How can one speak of a great liberator like Mandela, yet so blatantly ignore an injustice to our own citizen who shares the same similar fate (like Mandela did) behind imprisoned walls?
Pastor Saeed Abedini was given permission by Iran to travel there to help construct an orphanage. While he was there he was arrested, convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison for simply having a Christian faith. For over one year Saeed has been beaten by his Iranian captors, endured horrific conditions, denied medical treatment and most recently has been moved to one of the most dangerous prisons in the world. An American man sits behind prison walls, beaten and tortured for his faith and our country has a leader speaking about standing against oppression and injustice. Who’s standing on behalf of Saeed Abedini?
The biggest betrayal of any effort to help release Pastor Saeed took place on November 23, 2013. That is when President Obama and his administration made a deal with Iran in an effort to “partially” halt Iran’s nuclear program. However, there were no negotiations, whatsoever, in the release of the U.S. citizen Pastor Saeed. Politics seemed to have trumped any efforts by this administration to fight for a man who has been unjustly imprisoned.
So as a world mourns for a man who understood the struggle of injustice and inequality under the oppressive government of South Africa, our own country weeps on behalf of our own citizen facing the very same thing under the oppressive regime of Iran. The international community was instrumental in helping in the release of Nelson Mandela. We need the same spirit of liberation in fighting for justice for Pastor Saeed. Obama remarked in his eulogy, “The questions we face today — how to promote equality and justice; how to uphold freedom and human rights; how to end conflict and sectarian war — these things do not have easy answers. But there were no easy answers in front of that child born in World War I. Nelson Mandela reminds us that it always seems impossible until it is done.”
On behalf of the American people and for the continued fight to free the oppressed- please Mr. President, nothing is impossible. Fight to Free Pastor Saeed Abedini! Get it done!
To help stand in the fight to free Pastor Saeed please sign this petition and make your voice be heard: http://beheardproject.com/saeed