Murals in New York City, Jersey City, New Jersey, make statement for human rights in Iran

A Harlem mural shows a giant teal gazelle against a black background, barren trees and a peacock feather.
They are among about a half-dozen murals painted around New York City and Jersey City, New Jersey, to draw attention to journalist Maziar Bahari’s campaign for press freedom and educational access in Iran, where he spent 118 days in a jail after an appearance on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”
Bahari, whose story was told in Stewart’s film “Rosewater,” hopes the art will attract the attention of diplomats attending the U.N. General Assembly and spark a conversation about human rights. He has founded a non-profit group, Not A Crime, to focus on journalism and education for Iran’s largest religious minority, the Baha’i, a group that believes in one God and emphasizes that humans are equal and diversity should be cherished.
With more than 30 imprisoned journalists, Iran is second only to China in jailing reporters, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Cases like those of Bahari and Jason Rezaian — a Washington Post reporter held in Evin prison for over a year on espionage charges — have spotlighted the issue.
The Brooklyn mural is a likeness of Atena Farghadani, an artist and activist serving a 12-year sentence in Iran for creating a cartoon that criticized a law limiting women’s access to birth control. The mural, created by artist Faith47, shows her without a mouth.
Ron English is painting a large, official-looking warning suggesting that photography is not permitted.
Street art is a perfect vehicle for delivering such political messages, he said: “Everybody experiences it.”

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