This Struggle’s Got My Vote

I started college when I was 29.

The university degree (a Bachelor of Arts) with which I’d graduated a decade earlier hadn’t been of much practical value when it came to finding interesting, rewarding and challenging work.

So I “went back to school” on the cusp of 30, at the recommendation of my then-boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend.

(My life often unfolds in interesting ways, sometimes as a series of seemingly synchronistic events, sometimes apparently the result of careful planning and execution. Either way, it’s all an illusion lol).

Coincidence Leads to Career

In this particular instance, coincidence was the driving factor. To make a long story short, my then boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend suggested I study PR. I did a bit of research, thought I might like it (anything, I surmised, would be better than selling sportswear in a local department store, which was what I was doing at the time).

I borrowed some money, quit the sports department gig, and took the PR plunge.

The two-year public relations diploma programme included several journalism courses (PR really isn’t all about schmoozing, partying and “spin,” as most people think. It’s actually a lot of hard work, and involves a multitude of competencies, one of which is writing).

For practice, all the PR students, including me, had to write for the student newspaper. I was assigned to cover several political rallies in Calgary, the Western Canadian city in which I lived at the time.

Buried in scrapbook somewhere are the stories I wrote about those rallies. I don’t have them at hand, but I do remember the gist of the pieces: the Western Canadian political scene was boring, I wrote. It lacked the depth, the colour, the raw edge of the vibrant political landscape of my home province Quebec, I thought. I was opinionated even then. Some things never change.

Freedom Is Worth The Fight

As a Canadian “Quebecoise,” I grew up in an environment where people passionately believed in political struggle, and in having a voice. The wild, wild Canadian West paled in comparison, at least when it came to public affairs (of the non-sexual kind, I mean).

The volatile political scene in Quebec, and the deeply held separatist beliefs of many French Canadians, has threatened to tear apart my beloved country on more than one occasion during the last 30 years.

That could be one of the reasons I’ve been so captivated by the events in Iran over the past several weeks. There’s something about protest, and making one’s voice heard, that resonates with the experiences of my youth.

Beyond that, one of my own passions, and most cherished values, is freedom. For the most part I live a life free of constraints. And yet I long for more freedom still: from invisible chains of my own making that even now impair my ability to completely realise my potential.

Neda Becomes A Rallying Voice

My heart goes out to the downtrodden, the abused, the dispossessed, and the oppressed, particularly women everywhere, who fight daily just to survive. They are my heroes. I’m inspired by their courage, their determination, and their bravery in the face of sometimes seemingly insurmountable odds. I admire the simple fact that they don’t give up.

I observe with wonder a world in which the name of an “ordinary” young woman who loved music has become a rallying cry for change, because she was shot and killed in the street for no reason. I mourn the loss of her life, as well as that of countless other victims who die violent deaths.

But I celebrate the fact that the loss of hers, at least, has not been in vain. Her death may have more meaning to the world’s shifting fortunes than those of hundreds of others who have come to unjust, premature and anonymous ends.

I feel sad and proud and angry when I see Iranian women of all ages protesting, being beaten, fighting for what they believe in, for what I believe in: freedom. They are sisters with women the world over, all of us struggling in our own way, every day for a better world.

Little did I know when I “back to school” at the age of 29, that the experiences I had then would figure in what I’m writing now, more that twenty years later.

Likewise, who knows how the blood that’s being spilled right now in Iran (and elsewhere in the world), will impact life two decades down the line.

One thing for sure: this struggle has my vote.

Susan notes: If you would like to show your solidarity with the people of Iran; cast a symbolic vote here: http://this-is-my-vote.com/

Here are some of the women who have already cast their votes (I love the way each avatar is SO unique, even if you don’t vote, it’s worth visiting site just to see the diversity of creative ways to get a single simple message across):



















Related links:
More Music In Support Of Iran: U2 Goes Green In Barcelona
Joan Baez Sings We Shall Overcome For People Of Iran
United For Neda (Divided We Fall) Amazing Tune, Powerful Message, Disturbing Images
We Stand By You In Solidarity (Bon Jovi & Co)
Leyla Cries By Day, And Shouts From The Rooftops By Night
United For Neda (Divided We Fall) Amazing Tune, Powerful Message, Disturbing Images
The Amazingly Transformative Miracle of Music: WOW !!
Music, Dance and More (AWR)

Doctor Shares Neda’s Last moments (this is an amazing testimonial, must watch)
A Young Girl Is Shot Dead
Neda Loved Music, Not Politics (this is a lovely interview with a friend of hers and of her fiance)
Iranian "Lionesses" In The Streets of Iran