Nazanin Afshin-Jam Mackay is a Human Rights Activist, Co-Founder of Stop Child Executions and The Nazanin Foundation. She is an author, singer/songwriter, Miss World Canada 2003, author, and public speaker.
In 2006 I was living a comfortable Canadian life. I was pursuing a career as a recording artist when I heard by chance a tale that both chilled and stirred my soul. In a short time, I found myself leading a campaign to help save the life of a girl in Iran, who shared my name, and who had been sentenced to death for stabbing one of three men who attempted to rape her. For defending her life, and that of her niece, she was facing the death penalty, placed in solitary confinement, sleeping on a thin blanket on the cold, dank floor, living among rats and cockroaches, tortured and isolated. At any moment, she could have been executed. There was as if a part of me was awakened. I was driven to do all in my power to stop this misery and secure her freedom. I told my music manager that night that I would have to follow this higher calling.
What motivates me most is fighting injustice, ending suffering, and seeing people, especially youth, live full and meaningful lives. This cause to which I was drawn gave me energy and focus. Her circumstance could have easily been my fate had I stayed in Iran after the revolution and been subjected to its draconian Shari’a laws. I was grateful to be living in Canada, a free democratic equitable county with the rule of law.
I had a mission to do everything in my power to see this girl through the injustice of her situation to save her from this horrible fate thrust upon her by this evil regime. Thankfully, through perseverance and the efforts of many like-minded people, we were successful, and she was spared the hangman’s noose, freed from jail, and is now happily married with four children.
We must all check in with ourselves from time to time to consider whether or not we are living out our calling, utilizing our blessings and abilities to the best purpose for the betterment of others
If you have a dream… make it a goal. Find the confidence to be the best version of yourself and all the world will benefit.