The documentary "Education Under Fire" profiles the systematic persecution of the Baha'is of Iran, with a special focus on the remarkable Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE). People of the Baha'i Faith in Iran have been subjected to systematic persecution, including arrests, torture, and execution, simply for refusing to recant their beliefs. They are also prohibited from going to college (and blocked from many professions). In 1987, the semi-underground Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) was formed to give young Baha’is their only chance for a university-level education. Despite repeated raids and arrests, volunteer teachers and administrators created an independent, decentralized university system that has lifted the lives of thousands of Baha’i students across Iran. Columbia University Professor of Iranian Studies Hamid Dabashi calls the BIHE “Nothing short of a miracle.” A new round of raids and arrests tried to shut down the BIHE in May 2011. Almost a dozen men and women are still in prison for doing nothing more than trying to teach.
Produced by Single Arrow Productions, and presented by Amnesty International, "Education Under Fire" is a story that both deeply troubling – and deeply inspiring. As former BIHE student Shahrzad Missaghi says in the film, “They can take away all the equipment, the computers, everything. But the knowledge is in the head, is in the brain. The government can crush our bodies, but they cannot crush the mind and soul.”
"Education Under Fire" was filmed in nine cities, with almost a dozen BIHE students or teachers (several whose family members were imprisoned and/or executed), plus: Bani Dugal (Representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations), Elise Auerbach (Iran Specialist for Amnesty International), Hadi Ghaemi (with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran), Hamid Dabashi (Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University), Roxana Saberi (journalist and former prisoner in Iran), and Dr. Ramin Ahmadi (Co-founder of Iran Human Rights Documentation Center; he also leads annual medical missions to crisis spots around the world).
Through this film, and the campaign it supports, you can a have real impact on the lives of people in Iran, and around the world. Your financial support will directly cover the cost of editing, sound design, color correction, and graphics - and help prepare a campaign that will reach campuses and communities around America. You can find out more about the project through the website: www.educationunderfire.com
"Education Under Fire" will intimately connect a diverse audience to a grave human rights issue, a uniquely inspiring story of resilience against oppression, and the need to respect human rights everywhere. As former BIHE student (and daughter of an executed Baha'i leader) Mojdeh Rohani says, "We can use this experience to not only just think about ourselves and what is important to us, but to look at the bigger picture; to think of people of this world as if they were our own family."
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