Iranian-born campaigner Maryam Namazie addresses Sixth Form on activism

Our Sixth Formers had the honour of listening to Maryam Namazie, a prominent Iranian-born campaigner and writer living in the UK.

For decades, Maryam Namazie has been a human rights defender, focusing her efforts on the rights of women and girls, refugees, LGBTQ+ people and more. Recently, she has been speaking on and organising protests in solidarity with the women’s revolution in Iran.

We had the honour of hosting Maryam for a talk with our Sixth Formers, where she spoke powerfully about the Iranian regime’s crackdown on women’s rights in the country. She also described why she thinks it’s important for young people to get involved with human rights, and how someone can start their activism journey:

If you are looking at the situation in Iran right now, it’s led by women and girls. It’s Gen Z girls fighting for things that many take for granted here in Britain; the right to dress as you want, the right to think as you choose, the right to dance and sing – these things are banned in Iran for women and girls. They are rights that people are dying for. It’s important for young people to feel that they are not alone – that their voices are being heard and that they are being supported.

As for starting your journey as an activist, there is no one way to do it – it’s a very personal thing. It depends on how much time you have, how much you believe in something. It is very easy to do, you don’t need a lot of money to be an activist, you don’t need a lot of resources because you can take a pen and piece of paper and post it on social media with a message. At school you can organise events, rallies and speakers as well as joining organisations and activities that exist to support the cause. Thanks to social media it is easy to access them – it’s easy to build networks and find like-minded people.

The world we are fighting for is the world that is going to be theirs [young people]. The more that they put their foot forward and take action, the better world it can be. Sometimes it might seem impossible, but the reality is that everything that has changed for the better in the world is because of activism.

The students were undoubtedly inspired by Maryam’s words, and following the talk she gave them an opportunity to draw posters in solidarity with girls and women’s rights in Iran.