SPEAKING GOD’S LOVE INTO VIOLENCE IN IRAN
A wave of protests erupted across Iran in November, sparked by an increase in the cost and rationing of fuel. Internet access was cut, and over 200 people were killed when the protests were met with violence. SAT-7 viewers have been sharing their worries, fears and prayers with the Audience Relations team, who have been available 24/7.
In a phone call, Shohreh*, a distraught and weeping viewer from Iran, reveals something of the atmosphere Iranians have endured in the past month:
“These have been such hard days. Being cut-off from the internet has been the least of our problems; we have experienced so much persecution… So many have gone on strike and so many have been arrested, harmed and killed. And after all that, [officials] come on our television channels and declare that ‘it wasn’t the people who came on the streets’. And with their news broadcasts they pour salt in our wounds. We have had an awful time and have felt totally alone. God alone knows what we have endured.”
“On the streets it has been military rule; so many police and soldiers. We have felt suffocated… I am sorry that I can’t stop crying as I speak”. Shohreh’s concern goes beyond fear for herself, “We are believers and yet feel this way – I feel sorry for those who do not have the Lord during these dark days that have been filled with pain”.
Uncensored and continuing to broadcast God’s love to people in Iran via satellite, SAT-7 PARS has been a valuable source of comfort and encouragement to its viewers at a time when Iranians have felt cut off from the world. “I truly thank God for you who have been our consolation during these difficult days. Watching your channel and your programs have been an encouragement to us”, shares Shohreh.
“We are telling viewers, that we are available 24/7 and are praying for them and for peace” says Panayiotis Keenan, the Executive Director of SAT-7 PARS, highlighting the SAT-7 PARS channel’s support for people in Iran. “We want our viewers to know that there is a huge family outside of Iran praying for them.”
“We always acknowledge the situation in Iran on our live programs and try to encourage our viewers” adds Moe Pooladfar, SAT-7 PARS producer of Insiders. “This season, in line with Article 18, presenters and guests such as Mansour Bourji will talk about freedom of religion, of speech and freedom to act as a human being on Insiders”. The themes chosen for all episodes are carefully chosen to address circumstances in Iran, to teach viewers their rights, and to support them.
“Our viewers pray for a better future in the country because they believe leaving Iran is not the answer. They ask us to pray for this & support them in this”, explains Panayiotis Keenan.
An Iranian woman, who did not give her name, also shared her deep misgivings as she prayed for her country: “May God bring good, and whatever that good is, let it come. May God have mercy for the sake of the little children who know nothing and can’t be blamed, and may He generously bring blessing and good to our country for which we are in distress.”
SAT-7 PARS is committed to standing with Iranians during this especially difficult period in their long history. Please pray for Iran.
* Names changed to protect the identity of the viewers