Knit for Naz

Cardiff Amnesty warmly invites you to an evening of crafting and human rights in support of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

 

You may have heard of Nazanin …

Since the 3rd April 2016 Nazanin and her daughter, Gabriella, have been imprisoned in Iran. Nazanin was returning to the UK after a family holiday when she was detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Following her detention she was sentenced to five years imprisonment for allegedly plotting against the state.

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Nazanin’s daughter, Gabriella, then only 22 months old was left stranded in Iran with her grandparents, separated from her mother and father. After the strain of three years of imprisonment Nazanin has fragile physical and mental health while Gabriella, who will turn five in June, has forgotten how to speak English.

 

 

Given these exceptional circumstances the British Government has now granted Nazanin diplomatic protection, a step that raises her case to the level of a dispute between the two states.

IMG_2106We recently learnt that Nazanin and other political prisoners knit gifts for Gabriella. In the photo you can see Gabriella wearing a mustard-coloured beret knitted by her mother. Around her neck she wears a pink scarf knitted by her mother’s cell mate, renowned human rights activist Narges Mohammadi.

In this everyday act of kindness we saw an opportunity to highlight the enormity of Nazanin’s sentence.

On Sunday 7th July 2019 Cardiff Amnesty will host the third “Stand up in the Park” comedy night in collaboration with the Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival. By the 7th July Nazanin will have spent 1,190 days in prison separated from her daughter and loved ones.

But how do we mark this unimaginable length of time, a life put on hold for three long years?

Cardiff Amnesty wants to highlight this ongoing injustice by encouraging everyone to knit a symbolic chain, each link of which will contain 1,190 stitches. That might sound like a lot of stitches but remember each stitch represents one lost day of worry and heartbreak for an ordinary woman separated from everything that she loves.

 

So here’s the plan … 

We are asking you join us at 7.30pm on Monday 13th May at the fabulous Pettigrew Tea Rooms in the centre of Cardiff to help us knit a chain symbolising both Nazanin’s imprisonment and the links that join us together (instructions below). Much like a chain, society is only as strong as its weakest point and that is why we must continue fighting to secure Nazanin’s release.

DSCN2626If you can’t join us on the 13th May or would prefer to knit your sections of the chain at home, you can post your knitted chain links to Owen Collins c/o 43 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9HD. You could even consider holding your own ‘Kint for Naz’ event!

Please help us spread the word by circulating news of this challenge to friends and family – and anyone who loves to knit!

Directions to the Pettigrew Tea Rooms can be found here. We have also been asked to remind everyone that there is no parking at the Tea Rooms and no disabled access to the first floor.

Cardiff Amnesty and the Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival are asking you to share photos of your knitting projects @AmnestyCardiff @CDFOpenAirFest. If you have a Ravelry account you can also track the project as it develops here.

 

Stand Up in the Park 2019

Stand Up in the Park takes place in Sophia Gardens on Sunday 7th July at 8.00pm with the bar open from 7.00pm. Tickets cost £18.00 and are available here. To get involved or to learn more contact Owen at amnesty.cardiff@btinternet.com

As usual we will be using #FreeNazanin in support of Nazanin and her family. You can also take action today by signing a petition here calling for Nazanin’s release and learn more about Amnesty’s work here.

 

Knitting instructions

The chain links can be any colour you choose but we are asking you to follow these pattern instructions (and please don’t weave the loose ends in, as we can use them to sew the links together).

To create rectangular strips approximately 30x5cm:

DK weight yarn (any fibre can be used, e.g. wool, acrylic, cotton, or a blend) at a gauge of 22 stitches and 28 rows in 10cm. 4mm needles (UK old size 8, American size 6) is the usual suggested needle size but adjust this for your personal knitting tension.

Cast on 70 stitches. Then knit 17 rows straight (this will produce garter stitch).  Then cast off … the chains of oppression.

 

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