The Rose and the Nightingale
On 8 February, Emily Johns, noted anti-war artist, and Milan Rai, an anti-war activist and author, set off for Iran on a ten-day peace delegation organised by the Fellowship of Reconciliation USA. Emily went on a similar delegation with FOR-USA in 2006, just before the Emily and John started co-editing Peace News.
The delegation is this year’s main project for Justice Not Vengeance, a small peace group Emily and John have been involved in since 2003.
The following post contains reflections and artwork from their delegation. For a complete summary of the delegation, visit their website at http://drawingparadise.org/
Mil writes: In Shiraz, on Day Four, while we were waiting for our minibus to show up, a man walked by carrying an old old rifle. He was dressed in civilian clothes, walked along casually without a care. Probably a hunter, we guessed. The striking thing about the incident was that he was the first and only armed person I’ve seen in Iran (and it’s now Day Seven).
I’ve seen hardly any soldiers or police, and those I’ve seen have not carried guns (truncheons but no guns, so far as I could see). In London, it’s not uncommon to see armed police, but even the unarmed police in Hastings wear stab jackets and handcuffs and a baton and other equipment, and they look paramilitary. Police we’ve seen here wear a hi-visibility tabard saying ‘Police’, and maybe carry a truncheon. This doesn’t mean the police here are to be trifled with, or that there isn’t a massive security system here, there is. It’s just that, on the street, guns have not been visible.