Collecting Signatures: It can be Done!!
By: Jamshid Aeendar*
Friday 16 May 2008
Translated by: Sussan Tahmasebi
We had confirmed plans over two weeks ago to go to the mountains. Finally the day arrived. We had planned to collect signatures, work in a participatory manner, and also to have some fun. We were an energetic group of eight people, with our differences of course, but also our commonalities, including mountain climbing and intention to collect signatures in support of the Campaign’s petition asking the Parliament to reform laws which discriminate against women.
The weather was good and everything was set for a new experience for our group. From the start we made a decision to fill all our Campaign petitions with signatures and to stick together and not disperse.
In our first encounter we come across a group of four young men and women. The women read the petition and signed it. But the men laughed and avoided signing. Convincing a middle-aged couple to sign the petition took a bit more time. They wanted us to explain about all the laws that the Campaign is seeking to change. In the midst of our explanations, we entered into a heated discussion on family issues. The discussion became lengthy and we apologized stating that we have to leave. The couple had a short private conversation after which they decided to sign the Campaign’s petition and said their goodbyes by wishing us good luck. We continued with our signature drive. Some of our friends suggested that we take a break. We handed the petition to a young woman who was there as part of a group of seven friends. She read the petition’s statement out loud, while her friends listened. All of them signed our petition. They offered us some food and Ali arrived with tea for our group. We took pictures. And while we rested, we continued to gather signatures from others who were picnicking in the area.
We started again, moving up the mountain. We divided into three groups, so as to maximize our signature collection. It is interesting, because it seemed that all who decided to sign, first read the statement in its entirety then engaged us in discussions and asked questions. Most of the people we talked to and engaged with in discussions asked us if we were lawyers. A young girl asked me: "what has compelled you as a man to join the Campaign?" I answered by saying: "It’s simple! I do this for my sister, for my mother, for you and for myself." After hearing my response, she volunteered to get in touch with us and cooperate with the Campaign in a more involved manner.
All of the members of our group had different experiences while collecting signatures.
* Jamshid Aeendar is a member of the Campaign in Karaj. This signature collection drive was carried out by Campaign members in Karaj. Jamshid is also a member of the Men’s Committee of the Campaign in Tehran.