Nazanin’s Chain Unites Us All
Cardiff Amnesty has been overwhelmed by support for the Knit for Naz Campaign that was launched in March 2019.
The project was designed to highlight the ongoing plight of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who has been imprisoned in Iran since the 3rd April 2016. 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. While we are all delighted to learn that Nazanin has been released from prison temporarily, the fight for justice continues.
The injustice of Nazanin’s situation has inspired ordinary people from around the country to help knit a chain to symbolise that society is only as strong as its weakest link. Made up of 2,810 links and a mind boggling 3,343,900 stiches, we want to thank everyone who contributed to the 500 metre long (1,640 ft) ‘chain of care’.
The Campaign Continues
Cardiff Amnesty are delighted to report that Naz’s knitted chain is being used as a campaigning tool across the UK. For example, members of Cardiff Amnesty were invited to speak to the Monmouth Amnesty Group’s in August to explain the Knit for Naz campaign. Keen Monmouth knitters were on hand to identify the links that they had contributed to the project and to raise awareness of the case.
In September the chain was displayed at the Wales Amnesty International Conference in Aberystwyth. Human rights activists came together from around the country for an action-focused day on a wide range of issues including the ongoing detention of Nazanin. The chain was used as part of a joint action with the Scottish Amnesty Conference who were holding their meeting on the same day.
On the 30th November the Farnham Amnesty Group used Nazanin’s chain as the centrepiece of their annual Amnestea event. Nazanin’s parents-in-law, Barbara and John Ratcliffe, joined the Farnham group for the event. Cards were written, tea and cakes were consumed and musical contributions came from an Open Mic session. Those attending the event crocheted small flowers, with adults and children also painting greetings cards which were turned into a small exhibition.
While in Farnham, the chain called in to visit the 2nd Scout troop where Nazanin’s situation was explained alongside that of Emil Ostrovko. The scouts made their own cards and enthusiastically wrote messages of support to Nazanin and Emil.
The Christians Against Torture Group at Ararat Baptist Church, Cardiff, have been tireless in their campaigning for Nazanin’s release. On the 10th December the ‘chain of care’ made an appearance at Ararat Church as the centrepiece of their annual International Human Rights Day events.
With the New Year came new events. 2020 started well as in February the chain crossed over the border once again as it took a starring role at the ‘Justice and Peace Conference’ in Bristol. And further plans are being made to continue the use of all this knitting to agitate for Nazanin’s release.
We are pleased to announce that the chain will be displayed at the National Assembly for Wales in June and July 2020. We will keep you posted as these plans develop.
What would you do with this chain?
We want to continuing using this chain as a campaigning tool to secure Nazanin’s permanent release from prison. So here is the question, ‘What would you do with this chain to raise awareness of Nazanin’s plight?’ Why not wrap it around your church or school, perhaps use it to adorn a local council chamber or museum? Let your imagination run wild.
If you have a brilliant idea and the time and energy to put it into action then why don’t you drop us a line? If you are inspired to take up the Amnesty banner to fight injustice please contact Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow our social media here.