Per The Hollywood Reporter, more than 50 figures from the entertainment industry have participated in a video in which they each hold up a piece of paper featuring the handwritten hashtag #StopExecutionsInIran.
The project was organised and produced by Iranian-American screenwriter Nicole Najafi, director, writer and producer Ana Lily Amirpour, and actress-writer Mozhan Marnò.
“We stand with the people of Iran in their fight for freedom,” an onscreen message reads. “Thousands of protesters have been arrested. Some have already been executed. Many more are in danger. But the world is watching.”
Marnò told THR that the aim of the video is “to get as many eyes on this issue as possible, and in so doing, make the Islamic Republic feel the pressure – the international community is watching”.
She continued: “The other purpose of this is to show Iranians in Iran that the world is with them; that they are not forgotten; that their protests and suffering are not in vain. They are out there in the streets risking their lives, and it has been going on for months now.
“We can’t underestimate the mental and physical stamina that takes.”
The demonstrations are a part of a series of recent uprisings against the Islamic Republic that have taken place within the last several years, in a bid to bring back democracy to the country.
Last September, the death of Mahsa Amini parked huge protests across Iran. The 22-year-old woman died in Tehran after being arrested for not wearing her hijab in accordance with government standards.
Police claimed she suffered heart failure at the station, although witnesses said Amini had been severely beaten by the authorities.
The Iranian government attempted to suppress protests by blocking access to apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp, while internet accessibility was also limited in the most severe internet restrictions in the country since 2019. Protestors were shot at by pellets and water cannons and had tear gas used against them.
Samuel L. Jackson CREDIT: David Livingston/FilmMagic
As of late last month, approximately 500 deaths had been associated with the ongoing demonstrations. Thousands more have been arrested, with 100 protestors at risk of execution (via Iran Human Rights).
“We’ve reached a point where we know this new generation of Iranian people want freedom and are taking control of their future like never before and the only thing we can do is keep that conversation going in new and vital ways,” Amirpour said of the new video and social media campaign.
“Seeing non-Iranian people in the media step forward and support us means so much because the news media has overlooked us, gotten a lot of it wrong and at times even made things worse. So it ends up falling on us to inform people.”
Najafi, meanwhile, said she hopes the footage will prompt others to express their support online and beyond. “I hope celebrities will speak out during their awards speeches,” she said. “You will get zero eye rolls from the Iranian community.
“This is one of those rare situations where social media activism is the activism.”
The #StopExecutionsInIran video also features a host of actors including Samuel L. Jackson, Cate Blanchett, Bryan Cranston, Brian Cox, Kate Beckinsale, Jason Segel and Elijah Wood.
Watch it in full above.
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