Several bloggers expressed their disgust at learning that Afghans living in Isfahan, Iran were banned from a park by the authorities on April 1, 2012, the 13th day of Nowruz New Year celebrations. It is customary to mark this day by spending the day outdoors picnicking.
Although an official in Isfahan denied [fa] that Afghans had been targeted, a Facebook event was created to encourage Iranians to fight racism. The logo on the page says, “We are all Afghans”. Nearly 4000 people supported the campaign.
Aside from many legal Afghan immigrants and refugees, over one million undocumented Afghan refugees currently live in Iran, according to some reports.
Iranian blogger Sepid and Siah (meaning White and Black) says [fa]:
My Afghan brother and sister I am ashamed. I am ashamed that my country where you took refuge, is not a good host to you… But what can I expect from some people within establishment who try to humiliate you for years, they have already humiliated Iranians. But I am ashamed that my own people do not understand you.
Khorshidneshan writes [fa]:
Racism is one of the characteristics of Iranians. The problem is not only the Islamic Republic and a stupid official in Isfahan who orders to ban Afghans from gathering in park. The problem comes from us, [Iranian] people because we support it and do not protest… The discrimination against them is not a new thing. It is very difficult or impossible for Afghans to get an Iranian identity card even after living for long years in the country or marrying an Iranian.
Shahin Shar blog says [fa] let's end racism against Afghans today in Iran. The blogger has published several photos showing, in one case, how Afghans are banned from a swimming pool.
Because of the heavy censorship in Iran may we never know what really happened that day in the park. Meanwhile we can be sure that many Iranians know there is persistant discrimination against Afghans, and they wish to turn a page.