The President’s Office and staff of SRH University Heidelberg express their repugnance at the violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in Iran and at the first death sentence in connection with the protests.
“We have been observing the situation in Iran with consternation for some time now. We strongly condemn the brutal actions of the Iranian rulers against peacefully demonstrating people,” stated Professor Dr Carsten Diener, President of SRH University Heidelberg. “We are appalled by the fact that, besides prison sentences, the first death sentence has now been handed down in connection with the protests. We stand with all Iranian people, and especially university members, who are taking to the streets to demonstrate for their human right to life and freedom.”
Among the demonstrators are also many friends and family members of students and staff of SRH University Heidelberg. In total, 21 Iranians are currently studying at the university, and a number of colleagues and family members are also from Iran. Two of those students are Milad and Baran (names changed for security reasons), who study Dance Movement Therapy and Music Therapy. “We are shocked. It is difficult to concentrate on other issues or on our studies. At times I can’t stand other people around me either,” remarked Baran. The student’s parents and brother are still in Iran, and when the internet is working, they use every minute to talk to each other.
Baran explained that she has lost part of her life: “Iran is my home. Leaving was really hard for me, and I want to go back, too.” Milad, 29, has been working with artists critical of the regime; he cannot go back, he is banned from his home country. So both Baran and Milad lead lives of disruption: mentally, they are always in Iran; physically, they are here in Germany. Turmoil has surrounded them throughout their lives. “We live two lives, we have a multiple identity,” Milad commented.
SRH University Heidelberg is giving small signs of solidarity for protesters in Iran by organising a number of activities. For example, the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree at the university will take place under the slogan “Wishes for the World” this year – students and staff can express their wishes for Iran and other crisis regions, as well as donate to the Center for Human Rights in Iran. In addition, Iranian students will report on the current situation in their home country and invite students to participate in activities such as a minute’s silence and roundtable discussions.