Sunday, October 19, 2008

Reporters Without Borders: Cyber-journalist arrested in Qom for posting dissident ayatollah’s sermon online

Via Reporters Without Borders... note the importance of the blogosphere to the liberal opposition. Why are words are so important. Speak to Akmadeenijad if we must but speak the names of opponents of the regime when we do. Iran is watching.
Reporters Without Borders condemns theologian and online journalist Mojtaba Lotfi’s arrest on 8 October for a posting a sermon by Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri - a well-known opponent of the Islamic revolution’s Supreme Guide Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - online. In his sermon, Montazeri criticised President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for saying Iran was “the world’s freest country” (

“No, Mr. President, Iran is not the world’s freest country and Lotfi’s arrest just for publishing comments made in public is evidence of this,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This decision is unjust and highlights the government’s desire to suppress online dissent, especially in the run-up to next year’s president election.”

The press freedom organisation added: “Websites and blogs are the main outlets used by the opposition to get its ideas across, as it is banned from publishing its views in the governmental newspapers. As well as a human rights outrage, Mojtaba’s arrest in an unacceptable method of intimidating the blogosphere.”

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Akbar Ganji:The Road to Democracy in Iran

From Akbar Ganji’s interview with the Boston Review on his new book, The Road to Democracy in Iran.
The reformists are worried that Iran will be attacked militarily either by Israel or the United States. The specter of war, together with regime repression, has pushed aside the struggle for democracy and human rights. Moreover, the regime in Iran uses this pretext of an ‘impending war’ and severely represses its opponents. Resistance under such circumstances is very difficult.
Activists ought to reflect on how their words translate into Farsi with efforts like this. The prospects of an Iraq-like invasion of Iran seem nil to me. I don't hear much saber-rattling.

The Mullahs are dancing on razor blades when they talk of nukes and using them on Israel. They risk retaliation on Iran, but I fear the real fear mongering going on in Iran is quoting us. We are not doing Iranian Liberals much good with it.

It would be so much better if we promoted the words of Ganji instead and let the Theocrats in Iran know we watch and read him. That would do far more good.

Friday, October 10, 2008

UU's on Secret Diplomacy

I looked Akmadenijad in the eye too maybe, just like Gerhardstein here.

Pretty close to it. I was walking back to my office in the Green Zone past PM Maliki's compound when traffic was stopped to let Ahmadinejad through... four Black Mercedes SUVs and two Iraqi Army Humvees. Machine guns on top, cocked and loaded.

I would have taken a picture but the guy standing next to me said not to point anything at them because the guards will shoot first and ask questions later. Keep my hands visible, and at my side. Don't make fast moves.

Anyways, the procession stopped at the gate to Maliki's compound and a Iranian guy in a collarless white shirt and aviator shades smiled and nodded at me out from one of the SUVs.

I'm an upfront guy. If the guy in that SUV asked my thoughts, I would have asked Prez A why he wants to make A-Bombs, hang gay kids, or stone women. I'm not a diplomat for sure.

Gerhadestein here wants to play games I'm afraid. Hide our intentions.
Our government might have detailed satellite images of Iran’s nuclear facilities; and we have probably drawn up battle plans of how to most effectively eliminate Iran’s nuclear and military capacities in as little time as possible. But the U.S. Government does not know what it is like to sit in a room with the President of Iran and ask him to stop enriching uranium. Diplomacy is most important with your rivals and enemies. You do not need to negotiate with your friends.

If it were up to me I would only have one option on the table, diplomacy. All those other options - tougher sanctions, naval blockades, military incursions, or all out war – would be hidden under the table. Because the longer we fail to diplomatically engage with Iran without preconditions, the longer the issues between us will remain unaddressed. I am interested in peace and progress, and I believe diplomacy is the vehicle that will get us there.
America is a tough country to understand. If you live in Ahmadinejad strange world we might be really difficult to understand.

The worse thing we can do is not explicitly state the consequences of war. That an Iranian first strike on anyone would result in devastating nuclear retaliation.

The last thing you want to do with Ahmadinejad is hide any cards under the table. The consequences of war will be horrific and Ahmadinejad needs to know. Don't hide that fact.

Like me with my camera, mistakes can happen and the outcomes tragic. You don't want any confusion. You want your hands out in the open. Nothing hidden under the table.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Shohreh Aghdashloo on "The Stoning of Soraya M

A film I had suggested our Social Justice committee view for Friday Flicks. A recommendation made before Rev Sinkford decided to chat with Akmadenijad

and the trailer,

YouTube of Ayatollah Boroujerdi before his arrest

This one with English subtitles of his speech before his arrest in 2006.

Why can't UU leaders ask to speak with him in prison?

Hallman and Morales on Sinkford's meeting with Akmadenijad

And not a word yet from the two who seek to replace Sinkford as far as I can tell from here and here.

Why silence?

Are they blind to a fellow liberal? Why do they plug their ears to these words?
Tell the world that Boroujerdi did not fear death…. He defended an Islam which promotes love and kindness not the Islam that these lot advocate which has brought poverty, corruption, prostitution, addiction ….I don’t want you to risk your lives for me, I just want you to tell the world what happened here,.
Boroujerdi doesn't ask Hallman or Morales to risk anything, just to witness.

Inspired Faith, Effective Action?

Robin nails (Robin posts graphic images of hangings) these embarrassing representatives of our Church.

Talk with the butcher if you must, but why refuses to voice solidarity with fellow Liberals in the butcher's prisons, or display the photos of the victims instead of group shots of yourselves?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The declaration of prisoner religious leader of Iran

Seyed Hosein Kazemeini Boroujerdi's recent statement in full via his blog.

Why are many religous Libereals so quick to equate Theocratic Islam with Evangelical Christianity yet so slow to voice any Solidarity with the Liberal Islam expressed here?
In the name of God the merciful and the gracious and greeting to afflicted homeland by despotism and salutation to oppressed nation of Iran that is disfavored by Iran dictatorship.

It's the third year that I'm witness of the massacre of deprived and oppressed people, under the name of subversives, bullies, spies, riotous, false claimants and sellers of narcotic substances, in Evin.

I became aware of the deep of committing crime and making calamity of political Islam and closely saw the medieval tortures of the executioner and tricky claimants of Islam, during my detention in various sections of prison.

I'm not penitent for devoting my youth in the cause of combating against the traitor to God and swindler authorities of religion and I'm proud to sacrificed my father and my mother and my health and took my family and my followers to the altar of history in the cause of revealing the nature of governmental religion.

When I was hearing the wail of my one-year-grandchild in appalling 209section of Evin, while my eyes were closed and my hands were chained and my ankles were shackled by the religious fogyish, I told to my tears: joint to the river of calendar of contemporary Iran to its tomorrow pages be as a rainbow of liberal resistance and future generations smell the scent of releasing from the despotism of marauder governors better.

That day that the army of ruling head police was attacked in Enghelab square by the followers of traditional religion and the shout of freedom of thought and culture which are different with laws of Regime, narrowed the space for the oppressor government, I understood that country of braves, will not sustained opinion censorship and advertising pressures of the mammonish and irreligious Mullahs. And that midnight when the armed Velayat Faghih forces attacked the gathering of woman, man, old, young and child who were gathered around my house and were dissatisfied with the terrorist and bloody Islam I understood that It's the time of downfall of 30 years lying and swindle of the irreligious regime of Iran and it's the time of public movement of honor, gentle and patriot nation.

So, I announce to human society because of the name of all religions God and because of the love to country which is under the oppression of fierce government, and by truth on natural and public ability of countrymen, and with the decision to save honor country from essence of devilish clergymen, I have started to protest against the usurpers of sacred country and I'm sincerely ready to die to uproot the theory of " our religion is that very our politic" and to offer the opinion and religious freedom and thought independence to exemplary people.

So, according to this great national and humanity movement, I ask all civil societies, legal centers in the world and the authorities in the side of Human Rights and opinion freedom to defend of this peace, justice and freedom messenger with the all force, and take my emancipator message to security council of united nations and sentence the obvious and continued violation of Human Rights in religious, opinion and thought affairs, by issuing a salutation, and appoint me as an observer of united nations in religious and cultural affairs and also appoint me as its ( united nations ) representative in region countries till I can guard the ideal of worship according public demands by receiving the international security and immunity, and protect spirituality and sacred of nationals and peoples against every kinds of limitations and prohibitions .

At the end of my words ,I ask the clergymen of all religions to help me "as a person who is opposed to opinion inspection" and reflex my request to the related courts, also I ask the great Pope for serious and continuing advocate for my rightful demands and expect him to ask Christian governments and nations in the world to help me, also I ask authorities of Alazhar society, Mecca Darolfatva ( a place in Mecca for issuing religious statements ), and other issue centers of religious orders to remove the charges and ambiguity about real Islam with help this prisoner clergyman, and also I ask the presidents of Russia and china, that are supporters of Iran, to ask for my absolute and disputable release, by putting Tehran regime in pressure. I notify the members of uncommitted movement, of human duties in respect of oppressions of Iran government.

Seyed Hosein Kazemeini Boroujerdi
Tehran - Evin prison – Oct 2008
Paydar پایدار
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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Be it a golden cage, my desire is for freedom

A slogan from the protest below at the University of Tabriz. Via Iran Human Rights Voice.
Last Saturday, students in the University of Tabriz, along with a number of Islamic Society members in the same university, held a sit-in session to protest the detention of ethnic activist students during the summer season, and their continued detention.

The sit-in started in front of the School of Humanities affiliated with Tabriz University and students, while chanting slogans, carried signs in support of detained students and marched toward the School of Technology in the same university.

According to reports by Amir Kabir Newsletter, the statements on the signs included “release our comrades: Sajad Radmehr, Faraz Zehtabi, Idin Khojei, Amir Mardani, Mansoor Aminian, Maghsoud Ahdi”, “be it a golden cage, my desire is for freedom”, “do not give up, there is light at the end of the road”, “we must speak the words, we must cry the pain”, and “release our friends”.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sinkford and Ahmadinejad: it's not WWJD. What would Hallman or Morales do?

CC notes,
I CAN NOT WAIT for a new UUA President and I really, really hope that neither Hallman nor Morales have the inclination to do things like this in the name of my religion, and by extension, me.
Instead of waiting, I'd really like to know what Hallman and Morales would do. If they must talk with the devil, why not ask the devil about the fates (by name!) of the poor souls the devils tormenting in his hell? What's so hard about that?

There's no reason Hallman or Morales couldn't write letters to the Devil now. They can forget our Sinkford, but they can still write and ask the devil on the fates of these brave people. (pdf file)

Silence should not be an option.