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Iranian Alert - July 15, 2005 - Iranian Ganji's Second Letter from Prison [Translated] A Must Read!
Regime Change Iran ^ | 7.15.2005 | DoctorZin

Posted on 07/16/2005 12:58:06 PM PDT by DoctorZIn

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Free Ganji

Ganji's Second Letter to the Free People of the World

Akbar Ganji, FreeGanji.blogspot.com:
[Disclaimer: there are many quotations of other thinkers in the following letter. Unfortunately references are missing from the Farsi text of the letter published on the internet. We have translated the quotes back into English from Farsi, so they might not match word for word with their original. We will try to amend this in future revisions.]

This candle is dying out, but its voice will not

Today, Sunday July 10, 2005 exactly 30 days have passed since I started my hunger strike. In two phases of hunger strike (11 days in late May, and 30 days since June 11) my weight has reduced from 77kg to 55kg, which is a loss of 22kg in 41 days. Many inside and outside the country ask why I have gone on hunger strike and why I am trying to reach legitimate ends through self-destruction. Is it not true that practical rationality demands that the ends and the means to those ends be in proportion with each other? Is it not true that theoretic rationality demands that for all claims (opinions and beliefs) suitable reasons should be offered? Is my action consistent with practical and theoretic rationality? Am I not considered a madman by intellectuals and liberals and human rights defenders? Here I shall try, despite the extreme physical weakness that has completely worn me out, to share my views clearly with everyone.

1. The Crime of Dissent:

A person who defends human rights and democracy via free expression, and fights authoritarian systems through peaceful means is called a dissident. Freedom of expression is a common goal of all dissidents. In ideological systems, dissidents challenge the ideology of the system by offering rival models. Their only weapon is moral courage in exposing the violations of human rights and the tyranny of the rulers. Wherever human rights are violated and dictatorship and tyranny prevail, and an ideology is there to back these two up, courageous dissidents will appear and despite the hardships oppose this process boldly. If this definition is correct, then given the history of my activities and what I have said and written, I am considered a dissident who is in jail for his dissent. The following two points confirm this claim:

1-1. Demanding democracy: In the words of Claude Lefort, the legitimacy of the power is based on the people but the image of the rule of people is intimately related to the image of an empty space that the executives of the public power cannot occupy. Democracy connects these two conflicting principles: first, that power derives from the people, and second, that power is not owned by anyone. However, democracy continues to live with this conflict; once this conflict is resolved or if it has already been resolved, then democracy will collapse or it has already collapsed.

In Lefort's terms, power is like an empty space and those who hold it are ordinary people who have occupied it temporarily. We are not dealing any more with a know-all, do-all guardian. In this system, there is no law that is unchangeable, whose statements cannot be criticized or protested and whose bases cannot be questioned. In a democracy those who govern are directly chosen by the people to serve and be accountable for a limited and definite time span. Conditional limited power will end by the judgment of people.

I have stressed many times before that the ruling sultanist system of Iran is an undemocratic system. Unelected life-time leader is at odds with democracy. His power does not derive from the people, but rather he is claimed to have been appointed by God to rule over the people. He is not a regular person like all other human beings; his gap with ordinary people is the gap between the shepherd and the herd. This is the content of the incorrect theory of the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent [Velayat-i Faqih]. The ruling jurisprudent [faqih] is the custodian of the people and holds absolute guardianship over them. Whereas, a kind of anti-paternalistic argument is behind both democracy and human rights. That is, there exists no superior person who is qualified to decide for individual or collective good (good or prosperous life), unless we have especially and within completely defined limitations given him such a power for a definite time. A virtue is only good if it is chosen freely, and for the choice to be free, there should exist a variety of options so that one could exercise his free will. The highest political figure in democratic systems is a regular human being capable of making mistakes, with definite powers, under the control of the people, and one who is elected by the people for a limited time. However, the theory of Absolute Guardianship of the Jurisprudent and what has been enacted in this regard in the constitution of the Islamic Republic, is essentially at odds with this approach. He [the jurisprudent] is not accountable to anyone, while all the power of the country is in his coil. We are facing two separate issues here. The issue of concept and that of the instances. Not only the theory (concept) of the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent is in conflict with democracy, but it also leads to an undemocratic system once it is realized in the outside world. The original theory is incorrect and undemocratic, and as a result its instance, in complete disagreement with democracy, has swayed all of the political arena in his hold and has formed a singular rulership under his orders.

1-2. Struggle for human rights: Human rights form a set of necessary minimum criteria for an individual to be able to lead a life in dignity and honor. David Beetham also considers human rights as the minimum necessary conditions for the individual's healthy and humane life. In the opinion of John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin, justice as fairness, is based on the assumption that all men and women are entitled to the natural right to equality in attention and respect; not a right that they have attained due to birth or trait or merit or moral distinction, but the right they hold as merely being humans capable of planning and demanding justice. In Dworkin's opinion, rights are not a divine gift but derive from the primary right to equality. [John] Finnis, too, shares Durkin's opinion and believes the main root of rights is the equality of human beings. In his words, the modern usage of rights correctly emphasizes [the concept of] equality, the truth that every human being is a fertile land for developing human characters, and that the importance of this development should be considered equally for all. In other words, the discourse of rights keeps the justice in the foreground of our considerations.

The connection between democracy and human rights is one of the problems of contemporary philosophy. Michael Freeman says: "the theory of democracy asks: who should rule?, and answers: people; the theory of human rights asks: how should the rulers behave?, and replies: they must respect the human right of all individuals. Democracy is a collective concept and democratic governments may violate human rights of the individual. On the other hand, the concept of human rights is created to limit the power of governments, and to the extent that it puts the governments under public control, it has a democratic character. However, human rights limit the legitimate power of all governments, including democratic governments."

David Beetham considers public supervision of collective decision-making the core of democracy. In his opinion, the principle of equality of all citizens gives them the right to express their views on public issues through associations of civil society, and participation in the government. If the right of all citizens to express their opinion on public issues, and to supervise the government is the essence of democracy, "to implement this right we need, on the one hand, political institutions such as elections, parties and legislative assemblies and, on the other hand, guarantees for the group of human rights that are called civil and political rights, and which are listed in conventions such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights."

In Beetham's opinion, the common human nature provides a single philosophical justification for democracy and human rights. Man's ability to make informed and logical choices, or to act out of thought and purpose about the issues that affect his life, is a philosophical assumption about the nature of man. Democracy is founded upon admitting "the assumption that man is able to solve the problems that influence his communal or governmental life, such as the right to vote or run for public office." Human beings are capable of making decisions in public and private arenas and of managing their lives. Ronald Dworkin believes individual rights are like trumps in the hands of individuals, trumps that the state cannot overrule even with the excuse of public interest. In his view, the moment these rights are recognized, they cannot be pushed aside. He says if a person has the right to publish his views, government officials cannot violate this right, even if they happen to be correct in believing that it would be in the interest of the society in general if they did so.

The author of these lines has exposed the cases of human rights violations in Iran several times. Here I point out a few examples of widespread human rights violation in Iran:

  • In the past few years, about 100 journals were banned all at one time and journalists were sent to prison, following the explicit and public speech of Mr. Khamenei claiming that the press has become the base of the enemy. The judiciary officials have announced formally in interviews that they have persecuted the press following the words of the Leader. This is the meaning of freedom of expression in the sultanist regime. After years of hard work and keeping journalists in solitary confinments they were unable to discover even a single enemy base. But the judiciary system never asked Mr. Khamenei to submit his evidence to the court, or documents showing that the press are the base of the enemy, and now that it has become clear that that claim was false, the Leader is not prosecuted for trampling on the right of the press and journalists.
  • That is, the Leader is not equal to other people. He can accuse citizens with no evidence whatsoever without being prosecuted.
  • When Mr. Khamenei took hold of the Leadership of the system, he talked about "cultural invasion of the enemy" and the necessity to resist it. This was followed by [TV] programs such as "Hoviat"(1)

    and intellectual dissidents were butchered in the most brutal way, as agents of enemy's cultural invasion by the top-officials of the Ministry of Intelligence.

  • Assassinating the opposition outside the country by "Foreign Servicemen"(2) was another part of the project dubbed 'healing through murder'. The terms, Eminence and Gray Eminence were forged to refer to the principle commanders of this project. The killing of Zahra Kazemi was formed on the same background. Zahra Kazemi is the only murder victim of the world without a murderer.
  • The brutal attack on the dorms of Tehran University and widespread arrests of beaten and oppressed students is another instance of human rights violation in Iran. Nowadays the students are not even permitted to hold a simple commemoration in one of the universities for the occasion. Sweeping political oppression is implemented in order to create a single-voiced society. In such a society only one voice must be heard: the voice of the Leader. There must be only one speaker and the rest should be listeners.
  • My pen is unable to describe the horrors that occurred in the pollsters' case. In my short leave [May 30 to June 11, 2005] I had a meeting with bloggers. They said that they were all taken to a bathroom naked, and were filmed. Saeed Mortazavi had told them: "One day while you are walking in the street a car may hit you and you'll die. There are many accidents everyday; it would be just one of them."
2. Fascistic Social Justice:

Fascists are against freedom of speech, tolerance, distinction between public and private spheres, civil society, free competitive elections, human rights etc. They defend social justice and use it in order to reach power and not lose it afterwards. But what kind of justice is this fascistic social justice? Theodor Adorno and Sigmund Freud have exposed the content of this kind of social justice. Adorno writes: "The half hidden current of insidious egalitarianism and the universal brotherhood in humility, is one of the elements of fascistic propaganda and fascism itself. Hitler's famous decree for the formation of 'Eintopfgericht' (the One-Pot-Dinner) was a symbol of this very concept. The less their desire is towards changing society's internal structure, the more they rant about social justice and by that they mean, of course, that not one member of the 'society of the nation' must be indulging himself in personal delights. Oppressive egalitarianism instead of the realization of true equality through elimination of oppression, is an essential element of the fascistic mindset."

Freud has also written about this kind of social justice: "Social justice means that we should forbid ourselves a lot of things so that others too would be forced to forbid themselves of these things, or in other words, wouldn't be able to ask for them."

Mr. Khamenei has proclaimed the country's agenda to be the pursuit of social justice and fight against social corruption, not freedom and democracy. When the real opponents of structural changes and fundamental reforms start singing the motto of social justice, it is clear that they are not sincere in their claims. Is it possible to consider human beings (women and men, muslims and non-muslims, clergies and non-clergies etc.) not equal from a legal standpoint and still claim social justice? What has regarding people as minors and one's own guild as their guardians got to do with social justice? Isn't political justice an important part of social justice? Then how can they prohibit important sections of the society from participating in the political arena and trample on their civil and political rights by various tricks, and still claim social justice? Even if social justice is reduced to the distribution of wealth and the fight against economic corruption (abuse of public resources for private use), then there still remains the question of what sort of wealth distribution will an undemocratic sultanist system bring about? Can a system busy in producing loyalists for itself allow a just distribution of wealth? Is it possible, in the absence of free and independent media, to fight those who take advantage of extralegal government funding and those who plunder people's possessions? Only free media, brave journalists and independent civil institutions are able to reveal and disclose the corruption of those in charge. Tyrannical regimes distribute poverty, corruption and prostitution in place of social justice. In whose times did the Ministry of Intelligence get involved in economic activities and business? And who could dare to reveal the economic activities of Ministry of Intelligence while Ali Fallahian was in charge of it? The economic activities of the rulers of the Islamic Republic and the new class produced in the sultanist state have always been immune against any confrontation and still remain that way. The economic corruption of the rulers is the forbidden quarter where people and the media are not allowed to enter. Porta(3)

says: "One of the variables that is strongly related to corruption is government's interference in the structure of economic life. Increase in the number of laws and regulations, growth of the public section and expansion of the welfare system all increase the opportunities for getting infected by corruption. Such opportunities also increase by the authority that government officials have in their disposal."

Human experience has shown that corruption is much more probable in absolutist totalitarian systems, where public opinion and the media are not allowed to disclose instances of corruption, than it is in other systems. Minimal government reduces corruption. In dominating maximal governments, who dares to ask, via the media, the question of why that certain "mister" had indecent relations with a married woman and used her to smuggle drugs and weapons out of the country and then killed her once he realized his indecent relations with her was about to be exposed? Why that other "mister" had indecent relations with a married woman and when his case came to get processed, order came from "above" to shut the case down? When even the "honor of muslims" is not spared what is there left to say about corruption. The sons of the privileged can easily gun down someone and be acquitted in public courts.

3. The Project of Heroism and Myth-formation:

The age of heroism and looking for saviors is gone. It is as if heroes and myth cannot be approached. They belong to the forbidden quarters. Some are to the opinion that Ganji has created a situation where he cannot be criticized; so the way out of this dilemma is for him to somehow change this situation. I do not know what kind of reasoning is this that argues, since the unwanted outcome of enduring and resisting tyranny and human rights violations in undemocratic societies is that he who does so turns, in some people's minds, into a hero or mythical figure then we must not confront tyrants and human rights violators. This approach is, in my opinion, completely false for the following reasons:

3-1. Instead of giving up the resistance against tyrants and those who violate human rights, we should refute the pre-modern illusions of the people. We should point out that there are no saviors. All men are regular people and prone to error. Earthly human is sinful and erring.

3-2. We should relentlessly criticize everyone's opinions and beliefs, including dissidents', through deconstruction. Criticism occurs in the public arena. When Sadegh Hedayat, Ahmad Shamlou, Shariati, Motahari, Khomeini, Soroush, Mojtahed Shabestari, Malekian, Shayegan, Ashouri, Javad Tabatabaei etc. could not escape criticism, how could an average journalist do that? It is not at all important that a person does not tolerate criticism, neither is it important that the disciples of a political thinker or activist consider him immune to error, what is important is that criticism be possible so that everyone gets criticized in the public arena, and no one can deceive the people with totalitarian ideologies.

Brave intellectuals and thinkers should build the public arena, not wait for the ruling regime to build it for them. Critical rationality is the only weapon in fighting heroism.

3-3. This issue has nothing not to do with heroism. The issue is the following. An individual has been put in jail for years due to his dissenting opinions and views but they haven't stopped at this unfair, unjust and illegitimate act and have forbidden him telephone communication and medical treatment; they say: "you must write letters of repentance and criticize and reject all your previous beliefs otherwise not only will there not be any improvement in your conditions but after the current sentence is over we will keep you in prison for years through a new trial." Is resisting this unfair process heroism? Do my critics invite me to write letters of repentance? The goal of the system is to break and destroy me. Although I have been broken physically during these years but I have tried not to break mentally and spiritually and to say "no" to the ruling tyrants. A "no" that is costing me my life. This body is on the way of complete destruction, but since I believe in the conjectures I have made (all my opinions), I see no reason to deny their truth. It is a trivial fact that all these conjectures must be met with the sword of falsification. Commitment to "critical rationality" is different from "giving up our beliefs by force of prison."

3-4. The political regime of a society is a dress cut to fit the build of its people. If the people prefer a tyrannical political system and think it will answer their needs, no one can prevent them from what they choose. The people can choose a dictatorship or a democracy, to raise the flag of democracy or to put on the veil of dictatorship. Is the heroism of the people who compromise with and tolerate the tyrants worth anything to induce one to sacrifice his life for it? "The people who obey the dictators of whose redundancy they are aware at the same time one way or the other. They mediate between these conflicting views with the assumption that they themselves are the cruel rulers and oppressors."

Prison has not trapped me in illusions. Dejection, hopelessness, despair, isolation, escaping politics and public arena, going after life and its pleasures have become prevalent in our society today. I have never been under the illusion that someone (people) are awaiting me outside [of prison]. Not only that, but my closest friends do not accept my thoughts, talks, writings andbehavior. But none of these facts obliges me to bow before the tyrants so that I may be released from prison. Life in slavery is not worth a dime to me. In the same way that some give themselves the option to cooperate with the tyrants, or to remain silent before human rights violations, I too have the option to oppose the tyrants and say "no" in a loud voice to them and their manners. This is a right that the Mohammedann law confirms:

La yuhibbu Allahu aljahra bialssoo-i mina alqawli illa man thulima wakana Allahu sameeAAan Aaaleeman [An-Nisah:148]

God loveth not the utterance of harsh speech save by one who hath been wronged. God is ever Hearer, Knower. [Women:148]

4. Socratic Death:

Socrates was in pursuit of two things at once. First: Autonomy of the individual against the society (the right to live as an individual). Second: Thinking freely and questioning everything. Socrates did not falter for a moment to put his personal life in danger and invite death in order to show the significance and superiority of individual thought over the group, the society and the government. He proved himself before the city as an individual, by welcoming death. By his death Socrates became the symbol of an individual who existed and lived for himself and independent of the city. But one must not forget that his death was a defeat for the city-state, because it revealed a fundamental deficiency ie. the weakness to recognize the freedom and the autonomous existence of the individual, it revealed that the city-state could not accept the individual's freedom and his autonomous existence.
Tokvil correctly notices: "Our fathers did not know the word "self-belief" that we have devised for ourselves, since in their days no person could have been found who didn't belong to some group, or who was able to consider himself absolutely alone." In the pre-modern times, the idea of an individual, an individual free in his choices and alone in his privacy, was unknown. The birth of a subject who was the master of himself, who was defined by the commitments brought about by his choices, is symptomatic of the fact that he no longer understood himself primarily as a part of an organic whole. A person dissolved in a community cannot make use of the creative and critical facilities of his mind and thought. This is not possible unless the person can see himself as separate from the group and the community.

Foucault quotes Baudler as saying that modern man is an individual who creates himself as a work of art. The autonomous individual is a dissident, he "differs" from others, he is a maverick. Not only does he create the style of his own living, but he chooses the fashion of his death by himself as well. Isn't death also the creation of a work of art? Particularly in a system where individualism and freedom of thought are not recognized.

Difference is the necessary condition of man's growth and flourishing. It bestows upon each member of the human race, man and woman alike, the choices that give value and meaning to his or her autonomy. Individual autonomy can only be realized in a "multi-cultural" society, a society where the presence of different cultures makes meaningful choices possible. It has to be accepted that autonomous individuals are capable of choosing between several teachings and life patterns. According to Ulrich Beck, the German sociologist, individualization in modernity means that people have to create their own life story in the absence of certainties and fixed obligating traditional norms, and by the emergence of new ways of living that are constantly under change and evolution.

Socratic death is a style of living, a style of living that men of wisdom have not ceased to praise throughout the history. The choice of death, if one is forced to deny one's individuality, and is deprived of the opportunity to think freely, talk freely and live freely, is a choice, against which reason has no objection left to present. Unconditional freedom or indefinite hunger strike is based upon such theoretical background.

5. Dracula, The Bloodsucking Vampire:

Franco Moretti writes in a psychoanalytic-marxist analysis of the novel Dracula: "Dracula does not like shedding blood. He needs blood. His ultimate goal is not to destroy and waste other people's lives out of indulgence, whim or fancy, rather his goal is to use their lives…. His nature forces him to fight to become unlimited and to dominate over the entire society. For this reason it is impossible to "co-exist" with the vampire. One must either surrender to him or kill him to rid the world of him and him of his curse… . Dracula is a real monopolist. He is lonely and a dictator and will not accept any competition… . He does not limit himself to joining to himself (in the literal sense) the physical and moral powers of his victims, he is up to making them his, forever… man's condemnation before Dracula, like before the Devil, is "not for a definite period" but for entire life… . The vampire, just like the monopoly, destroys the hope that man's independence can one day return to him. He threatens the idea of personal freedom… . When Dracula threatens the freedom of an individual, that person is incapable of resisting or defeating him alone and by himself. Man's individuality is under the threat of being dominated by the Vampire. "a handful of isolated people don’t have the power to face the concentrated might of the vampire, either".

Although the dictators have managed to bring my body under their domination, since they have not succeeded to take away my spirit and my thought in their grips and to make them theirs forever, they can't stand my face and so crave for my blood. Recently Saeed Mortazavi has told some officials in a meeting: "So what? What happened when Zahra Kazemi was killed? Human rights organizations condemned Iran in a couple of declarations and the case was closed. Zahra Kazemi is in her graves now. Ganji's death will also end after a couple of similar declarations. Ganji is better dead than alive".

In the alley screams an owl wet from rain
Someone's biting the dust by a tall wall
I have been imprisoned by the shadows of night
The night imprisoned by the cold net of the sky
I have to go on along with the shadows
Every night to the dark town of madness
The light of my star is fading out
I have been caught between life and death once more
Darkness comes along with his cold claws
In the cold earth my heart…….

The person who recounted these sentences to me, swore to me that "Your death is their dream. You are an obstacle for them. They can’t wait till you die". That compassionate person wanted to convince me by this to break my hunger strike. But I was reminded of Milan Kundera. In his novel "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", recounting the situation after the "Spring of Prague", Kundera writes:" Is it better to shout out and hasten our death or to keep our silence and lengthen our slow and gradual dying"

With my silence of the past couple of years I was lengthening my gradual dying. My Acquiring all sorts of diseases in prison, only made them happy. Whenever my medical documents were presented so that I could be sent to medical centers out of prison, the prosecutor’s office prevented my leave so that I would gradually die inside prison. Now that I have shouted out I have hastened my death, but I have also managed to show to the entire world how ruthless and inhuman the sultanist system ruling Iran is in reality and what it has in store. This system has not yet actualized its complete tyrannical potential. Let the world learn what goes on inside "Hotel Evin" and its "Suites".

Hafez used to say:

The ease of the this world and the next is in the interpretation of these two words
With friends, compassion, with enemies, tolerance

But Motahhari used to say Islam has gone even further than this:

"With friends, compassion and generosity, with enemies, compassion and generosity too... to have compassion is to be compassionate towards one’s enemies as well."

Forget about compassion with friends and enemies: They aren’t strong enough to fight their enemies and have to retreat continually before them, so, they try to satisfy their frustration by pouring all of their wrath on the heads of internal dissidents.

6. Rejecting Sultanism, the Pre-Condition for Demanding Democracy:

Today, the opposition groups in the Middle East have opted for the strategy of fighting personal rulers. Egyptians demand the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, Syrians, of Bashar Asad, Libyans, of Moammar Gadhafi, Saudis, of Malek Fahd, etc. In the Republic of Azerbaijan democrats demand that Ilham Aliev and in Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov resign. Dictators for life are under attack everywhere. This is a time when democracy has worldwide appeal and lifetime rule is not at all defensible and should be sent to the archives of history. As if the personal dictators of the Middle East are not satisfied with decades of tyrannical rule over their countries, they want to extend their dictatorial rule in any possible way. We are witnessing in Egypt now that people in the streets of Cairo publicly demand that Hosni Mubarak should step down.

In the political arena, there is competition over attaining political power. But the necessary condition for such a competition is the presence of alternative leaders (with alternative programs). The person who wants to take control of the political leadership of a country should compete with other leaders in a free and fair election so he can hold the power for a limited time and [later] peacefully relinquish his power to other leaders through free elections and the negative vote of the people.

I have clearly said time and again that 16 years of personal rule is enough for Mr. Seyed Ali Khamenei. Although expressing such demands in the region of the Middle East has become commonplace and harmless today, the ruling regime of Iran considers such demands as equal to blasphemy. It is interesting to note that the regime of Iran broadcasts the demonstrations against Mubarak on the IRIB [state television] and shows that Mubarak's opposition do not get into much trouble, but here [in Iran] demonstration against Khamenei is impossible and costly, and even expressing the demand for his resignation by a dissident will cost him dearly, i.e. the system [of Iran] admits that it has fallen behind and is less tolerant than the regimes of Egypt and Azerbaijan.

I do not believe at all in the theory of the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent [Velayat-i Faqih] and I think it is anti-democratic and violates the human rights. I will not stand the master-slave

relationship, in which the Leader ascends to the ranks of a god and people descend to the level of slaves. I apologize in the place of Mr. Khamenei to students, journalists, bloggers, isolated clergies who are Objects of Emulations [maraje'], families of the victims of serial murders, the family of Zahra Kazemi, ... for all that has gone to them in these years. I strongly apologize in place of Mr. Khamenei to the families of the executed prisoners of the summer of 1988 all over the country. I ask for forgiveness in place of Mr. Khamenei from the noble people of Iran for what the Council of Guardians and the judiciary system have done in these past years. Six days from now (Saturday July 16, 2005) will be the 2000th day of my imprisonment (90 days in the first arrest in 1997 and 1910 days in the current one). That is, I was forced to endure 2000 days in prison for expressing my dissenting opinions and beliefs. But two thousand days of jail in the sultanist system is not sufficient for otherness, for being unconventional, and for dissent. The punishment for "difference" is much heavier. Tolerating difference is the essential and inseparable component of democratic politics. Intolerance and oppression are the main components of authoritarian regimes. I have never resorted to violent methods and have only demanded change in the current political regime through peaceful means.

In the first book of the Republican Manifesto (March 2002) I suggested that the regime should hold a referendum. But since it is clear that the regime will never accept such a demand, I saw the only way to reach such a target to be civil disobedience. I have preferred a republic to the system of the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent since many years ago and I have considered civil disobedience to be the road that would lead to it.

This candle is about to die out. But this voice will not be silenced. This is the voice of peaceful life, tolerating the other, love for humanity, self-sacrifice for people, seeking truth, seeking freedom, demand for democracy, respecting the opponents, welcoming different lifestyles, separation of the state and the civil society, separation of the private sphere and the public sphere, separation of religion and state, equality of all humans, rationality, federalism within a democratic Iran, rejecting violence,... .

This candle is about to die out, but this voice will raise louder voices in its wake.

The black coffin of night
Resided in his eyes
The star turned off
And fell on the ground.

Akbar Ganji,
Evin Prison
July 10, 2005



(1) "Identity," a series of TV programs made to "expose" the foreign dependence of intellectuals and writers, at the direction of Saeed Emami, Deputy Minister of Intelligence. Emami was arrested in the arrests made after the project of murdering writers and intellectuals in the Ministry of Intelligence was exposed and mysteriously "committed suicide" while in custody. GO BACK.

(2) Perhaps a pun intended in the original Farsi: "farangi karan" is used to refer to "Greco-Roman wrestlers," a national sport in Iran. GO BACK.

(3) Donatella della Porta [?] GO BACK.

DoctorZin Note:

For those wondering why this man would be willing to die rather than keep his silence, read this letter. In it he shares his view of man, governments, competing ideolgoies, why the Islamic Republic has failed and why he chooses death rather than submit anylonger.

His ideas and those like them of other dissidents are the seeds of a new Iran.

A Daily Briefing of Major News Stories on Iran:



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2 posted on 07/16/2005 1:00:39 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Oh, they have to hate the direction of the Iraqi government these days.


3 posted on 07/16/2005 1:15:03 PM PDT by EGPWS
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To: DoctorZIn

ping


4 posted on 07/16/2005 1:45:14 PM PDT by Crush T Velour
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To: DoctorZIn
I have stressed many times before that the ruling sultanist system of Iran is an undemocratic system. Unelected life-time leader is at odds with democracy. His power does not derive from the people, but rather he is claimed to have been appointed by God to rule over the people. He is not a regular person like all other human beings; his gap with ordinary people is the gap between the shepherd and the herd. This is the content of the incorrect theory of the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent [Velayat-i Faqih].
5 posted on 07/16/2005 3:18:44 PM PDT by F14 Pilot (Democracy is a process not a product)
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To: All

Free GANJI Now!


6 posted on 07/16/2005 3:36:43 PM PDT by Khashayar (Oh You Little...!)
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To: DoctorZIn
I have tried, ever since this thread was posted, to make some kind of reply. My God....what a JEWEL this precious man is!!! I remember a great scene from the movie The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston playing Moses. Moses is in the mud pits talking with an "old man" who has been in the mud pits all his life. At one point an Egyptian soldier throws his spear at the old man and he falls back, dying, into the arms of Moses. When Moses tries to offer some words of comfort the old man says that it is okay...."DEATH IS BETTER THAN BONDAGE." Is that too harsh? Perhaps the old man was a crackpot. Well, how about Patrick Henry? "GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH!" When I was wondering WHY Ganji was doing this I was thinking as a FREE AMERICAN. But Ganji is right. There are some reading this who won't understand, but most of our Vets will. Well, damn, it feels like I still haven't been able to put into words that make sense, what I wanted to say. So, I'll let this wonderful man, this champion of FREEDOM and all its SPLENDORS, finish this post for me:

The person who recounted these sentences (previous poem) to me, swore to me that "Your death is their dream. You are an obstacle for them. They can’t wait till you die". That compassionate person wanted to convince me by this to break my hunger strike. But I was reminded of Milan Kundera. In his novel "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", recounting the situation after the "Spring of Prague", Kundera writes:" Is it better to shout out and hasten our death or to keep our silence and lengthen our slow and gradual dying"

With my silence of the past couple of years I was lengthening my gradual dying. My Acquiring all sorts of diseases in prison, only made them happy. Whenever my medical documents were presented so that I could be sent to medical centers out of prison, the prosecutor’s office prevented my leave so that I would gradually die inside prison. Now that I have shouted out I have hastened my death, but I have also managed to show to the entire world how ruthless and inhuman the sultanist system ruling Iran is in reality and what it has in store. This system has not yet actualized its complete tyrannical potential. Let the world learn what goes on inside "Hotel Evin" and its "Suites".

{tears}

7 posted on 07/16/2005 6:24:26 PM PDT by Reborn
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To: DoctorZIn
To read today’s thread click here.

Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

8 posted on 07/16/2005 9:45:25 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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