Nasibeh and the others

In Iran, it is near impossible to change the system from within. Iranians who seek a freer and more dignified life usually relinquish their homeland. Sometimes Turkey is no better than Iran. Young people like Nasibeh Shemsai choose to leave Turkey as well, as they don't see Turkey as promising much more than Iran.  

Nasibeh Shemsai, a young, middle class woman from Tehran, walked on foot through the mountains to reach to Turkey from Iran. Nasibeh’s route was long and steep. It was quite dangerous too.  Last year on the same path, Kamran Guderzi, a 17-year-old Iranian had frozen to death. Like Nasibeh, he too hailed from a middle class family from Tehran. While he was not as politicized as Nasibeh, he had dreams of a better, freer life. Nasibeh, on the other hand, clung onto her ideals and was political.
 
She is one of those women who stood up against forced Islamic clothing in Iran. Women standing up against the forced wear of hijab have been protesting every Wednesday in Tehran. They took off their headscarves in public and stood silently, before posting their videos on social media. This is how the protests started.
 
Later, the protests evolved, some women rode bikes, others delivered white flowers to other women. Nasibeh shot videos on the Tehran subway. Her scarf does not cover her hair but it is on her shoulders and she can be seen giving white flowers to women and asking for their support for Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian human rights activist who is jailed like many others.
 
This video and her passion for basic rights got Nasibeh in trouble. She was summoned by the court and spent 6 months in prison. Later, the court decision was finalized and she was sentenced to 12 years in jail. As she did not want to go to jail ever again, Nasibeh took the risky path. She walked to Turkey, with a group of other Iranians, without a passport.
 
In Iran, it is near impossible to change the system from within. The state has the money, the means, and citizens’ rights are limited. Protesting, getting into parliament as an MP does not change much. Iranians who seek a freer and more dignified life usually relinquish their homeland. Nasibeh has two brothers like that. One lives in Spain, the other in the Netherlands.  
 
Her aim was to reach the Netherlands via Turkey. However she had no passport as the courts in Iran had previously confiscated her passport. She paid 10,000 euros for a fake German passport and in fact, was very close to getting on a plane with it. Yet the police got suspicious at the very last minute and Nasibeh got caught. The Turkish authorities were willing to send her back to Iran.
 
The Iranian diaspora has good networks. Through a campaign on social media. Nasibeh’s cry was heard. Lawyers applied for the suspension of the execution. She won’t be sent back to Iran and will ask for an asylum. It is unlikely that she will stay in Turkey. Rather, she will try to go to Europe.
 
Nasibeh is just one example. This is how Iran loses its best people. Educated, hard working Iranians cannot remain in Iran as the regime loathes those who ask for better. Those Iranians have no choice but leaving.  
 
Turkey fails to gain these people. Sometimes Turkey is no better than Iran. Young people like Nasibeh choose to leave Turkey as well, as they don't see Turkey as promising much more than Iran.
 
While for some, such migrants appear to be a burden for Europe, they are quite the opposite. Those migrants are young, vibrant, and want to produce. And oddly enough, they tend to believe in the core “European” values more than some Europeans do themselves.

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