To The Daily Sun,
I teach in a small private school in N.H. As I passed the door of a fellow teacher recently, I read a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer who suffered death at the hands of the Nazis: "Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." Almost immediately the plight of American pastor Saeed Abedini came to mind.
Saeed Abedini is a naturalized American citizen who was detained and imprisoned by Iranian officials in the summer of 2012 after he traveled to Iran to visit family. While there he continued his efforts to build an orphanage. His chief crime apparently has resulted from his outspoken Christian testimony. A convert from Islam, Pastor Abedini was sentenced to eight years in prison, convicted by an Iranian court for undermining "the Iranian government by creating a network of Christian house churches and ... attempting to sway Iranian youth away from Islam" (Fox News, Jan. 13, 2013). He has now spent two Christmases in prison and currently his health is threatened as a result of beatings he has received while in prison. Apparently he needs surgery.
We are not talking about a man from another country. Saeed is an American citizen. His family is living in Boise, Idaho where his wife is from and where the Abedinis were living with their two children prior to his arrest in Iran.
We may not be able to do much, but we can do something. We can contact our elected officials and urge them to apply pressure to the Iranian government to release Pastor Saeed Abedini for humanitarian reasons. Nuclear talks with the Iranians are set to resume sometime this month. Now is the time for our elected officials to pressure the Iranian government to allow Pastor Abedini to return to his wife and children in the United States. But our representatives need to hear from their constituents that this is an important issue to them.
"Them" is "us." We need to call N.H. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (phone: 202-224-2841) and Kelly Ayotte (phone: 202-224-3324), Representative Carol Shea-Porter (phone: 202-225-5456), and President Barack Obama (White House phone number: 202-456-1111) or send them letters or e-mail (there are email forms on their official websites) and urge them to fight for the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini.
I just called; you can, too. Remember, if we do not act, we still act.