One Life: a song for Ashraf

A Community project London, Greater London

2700 brave human rights activists need our help. This is my personal campaign to bring one life to safety.

New stretch target

I am so happy to have reached my personal goal with this campaign. I can hand over the £2500 knowing one life will be granted freedom. But for the friends and relatives of those still in danger in Camp Liberty, the fight goes on. Every bit of money they raise goes towards safeguarding the lives of their loved ones, so please continue to give generously. Let's see how much we can raise towards saving another life before our deadline of the 25th of March!

'One Life' is a song inspired by the courage of 2700 Iranian dissidents who have risked and devoted their lives to fight for the rights of their fellow countrymen and women living under a brutal totalitarian regime.The dissidents are members of the PMOI (the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran), formed in 1965 by students and intellectuals in opposition to the increasingly autocratic rule of the Shah. Their hopes for democratic freedom were dashed when Khomeini came to power in 1979 (helped by the governments of the US and UK) and commenced his devastating theocratic rule, murdering tens of thousands of people.In 1981 when it became too dangerous for them to stay in Iran, the PMOI left and made a base in France. Since 1986 they have lived in Ashraf City, Iraq. Over the years many exiled Iranians from all over the world came to join them in working towards the goal of democratic change in their home country.

The changing political situation in the Middle East has left them in the hands of those that wish them ill. Even though they are 'protected persons' under the fourth Geneva Convention, they have been forced to live in a prison camp in dire and unsanitary conditions. They have been attacked several times resulting in many deaths. Their lives are in danger every day.

The western governments who once promised protection will not help them while these governments pursue a programme of appeasement with the Iranian regime.

Friends and relatives are working non-stop with the help of human rights groups such as International liberty Association and Iran's opposition in exile, the NCRI, to raise the funds needed to bring as many people as possible to safety before there is more bloodshed. They have to find the money themselves as no government is prepared to help.

Through this campaign I hope to raise enough money to bring one person to safety in Albania where they have been granted asylum.

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Ashraf is the name of a remote city in the Iraqi desert built by the exiled Iranians themselves. It became a beacon of democracy and equality admired worldwide, and a symbol of hope to the oppressed people of Iran. Changing political fortunes in Iraq as a result of the Iraq war saw the new government forging links with the Mullahs of the Iranian regime, and in 2012 the residents were forced to leave Ashraf to live in prison conditions in part of a disused former US army base near Baghdad, ironically called Camp Liberty. They are living in unsanitary conditions, being denied access to lawyers, food and medical treatment and are in constant fear of attack.

International Liberty Association are an organisation based in the UK standing up for human rights in Iran and the Middle East. Many of those joined to the organisation have family and close friends in Camp Liberty. Many have suffered persecution under the totalitarian regime in Iran and have lost loved ones in the ongoing fight for freedom.

ILA have been working tirelessly to fight for protection for the former Ashraf residents, persuading countries to take them in, and raising the expenses required to get them there. As most western governments (including ours) are still trying to appease the Iranian regime over the nuclear issue, no government organisation will commit to helping them.

Through these efforts, Albania has agreed to take a further 100 people, but will not pay their expenses. It costs roughly £2500 to relocate one person. International Liberty and their fellow organisations, through persistence and dedication have relocated 400 people. They are working to save another 100.

These people have been called 'the bravest of the brave'. They have stood up to tyranny in the name of freedom and democracy. They represent hope to those oppressed, and what it means to be free to all of us. That these people are saved matters to the world, it matters to their supporters, it matters to their friends and relatives, and it matters to me. My goal is to raise much needed awareness of the true facts, and enough funds to save one Ashrafi. Please come with me on this journey!

             'Quite rightly this still is a "Song for Ashraf" as, although Ashraf the place is now deserted and being looted and vandalised, Ashraf the spirit burns even more strongly in the hearts of all those who lived there and is also settled deep within all those, like you and me, who have witnessed these events and become part of the struggle for justice and freedom for these people, with the promise of a far better world beyond.'

Liz Carter, Link for Freedom Foundation

Some of the people you see in the video Mohammad and Saeed are twins. They grew up in Canada after their mother was killed by the mullahs’ regime in Iran. They had come to Ashraf to work towards freedom and democracy for their homeland. Saeed was killed during the attack on Ashraf September 2013 at the age of 29. Here you can read about it in Mohammad's own words, written one week after the attack. Saba and Sara: Saba was killed during the attack in April 2011

Saba and Sara with their father Saba after she was shot   Saba was an Iranian law student from Germany. A video has been put together to show the inspiring light that she was in her lifetime. It shows an interview wth Saba 10 years ago, when she first came to volunteer at Ashraf. She explains why she put aside her own freedom to strive for freedom for all. It then shows her final words "We will stand till the end", which were captured on video for all to hear.   Watch it here -   Saba died due to deliberate delay in her treatment at the age of 29.   Through this campaign, we who are free can carry her message on.