Kilkenny Mayor Andrew McGuinness opened proceedings at the recent screening of the Maziar Bahari film To Light a Candle. Hosted by the Bahá’í community of Kilkenny the event drew attention to the plight of the Iranian Bahá’í youth who have been denied access to third level education for nearly quarter of a century.
“It was a lovely dignified event,” said Aine Keane, one of the organisers. The Bahá’ís of Kilkenny were joined on the night by other local dignitaries such as Senator Pat O’Neill and John Paul Phelan TD.
Noting that Senator O’Neill has now offered to arrange a meeting between the Bahá’ís of Kilkenny and the Minister for Foreign Affairs when he next visits Kilkenny, Ms. Keane also expressed her gratitude to the Irish musicians who gave of their time to add spirit and atmosphere to the event.
“People came from all corners of Kilkenny and for all kinds of reasons,” she said. “One teacher came because he had come across a reference to the Bahá’í Faith in comedian Omid Djalili’s autobiography and then when he saw our event mentioned in media, he decided to come along.”
On the night those who attended the film expressed their support for the ‘Education Is Not a Crime’ campaign which uses the Maziar Bahari film to highlight the denial to Bahá’ís in Iran of access to third level education. Mr. Bahari’s film documents the ongoing persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran since the religion’s foundation in the nineteenth century to the present day.
Many of those present at the screening signed petition cards which were sent to the Iranian ambassador while others made little video clips to voice their support.