Skip to comments.A dying man's cry for freedom in Iran (must read)
Posted on 08/10/2005 5:59:15 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
THE HEADLINES out of Tehran concern the predictable failure of yet another round of farcical negotiations designed to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program. Meanwhile, a much more dramatic story is unfolding with much less attention.
Investigative journalist Akbar Ganji has been on a hunger strike since June 11 to protest his unwarranted imprisonment over the last five years for the crime of criticizing the theocratic thugs who have hijacked his country. Recently, he has been moved from prison to a hospital, where he is said to be at death's door. His condition is so perilous that even his advocate lawyer and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi has urged him to end his fast, but he has so far refused. Having lost a great deal of weight, he is apparently being kept alive only by intravenous fluids.
Ganji deserves to become as famous as Nelson Mandela, Andrei Sakharov, Vaclav Havel, Aung San Suu Kyi and other dissidents who put their lives on the line against injustice. Yet, while Ganji's mistreatment has been protested by the U.S. and by every major international human rights organization, the only U.S. newspaper regularly covering his ordeal is the tiny New York Sun. According to LexisNexis, there have been more than 1,000 media mentions in the last month of Natalee Holloway, the teenager who disappeared in Aruba, and fewer than 400 of Ganji.
One could argue that the fate of one man doesn't matter much compared with the larger issue of whether Iran will go nuclear. But the two are intertwined. The reason why the United States and even the European Union are so concerned about Iran's weapons is the nature of its regime.
We don't worry much about India or Israel having nukes because they are democracies with internal checks and balances. There is little chance of either one slipping an atomic bomb to a terrorist group for detonation in New York or London.
The prospect of Iran getting nukes is much more frightening because it is ruled by unelected ayatollahs who have turned their state into the world's leading sponsor of terrorism. Indeed, according to media reports, Iran is providing advanced explosive devices that are being used against U.S. troops in Iraq. But Iran's worst crimes are not those committed against Iraq, the U.S., or any other nation; they are the crimes committed against its own people.
Nothing better typifies the barbarism of the mullahs than their mistreatment of Akbar Ganji. A onetime enthusiast for the 1979 Islamic revolution, Ganji became disenchanted. He wrote books and articles documenting how top-level officials ordered the murder of writers and dissidents. He openly compared the Islamic Republic's ideology to that of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
From prison, Ganji has continued issuing statements calling on the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to leave office. He also urged Iranians to boycott the sham elections held in June that brought an Islamo-fascist, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to power as president. Ganji has concluded that there is no way to change this "sultanate" from within; he advocates civil disobedience to bring about secular democracy.
"I will not stand the master-slave relationship, the kind of relationship in which the Leader ascends to the ranks of a god and people descend to the level of slaves," Ganji wrote from prison in a "Letter to the Free World" (posted online at www.freeganji.blogspot.com).
He has also defiantly refused to renounce his critique of the state, even if it could win his release. "Let it be known that if learning my lesson is to denounce my previous opinions," Ganji wrote, "Ganji will never learn his lesson."
When the Protestant martyr Hugh Latimer was burned at the stake by the Catholic Queen Mary ("Bloody Mary") in 1555, he boldly proclaimed: "We shall this day light such a candle in England as I trust by God's grace shall never be put out." Ganji's public letter of July 10 ends with an echo of Latimer's words: "This candle is about to die out, but this voice will raise louder voices in its wake."
It is up to the free world to make sure that the cry of freedom Akbar Ganji's cry is not extinguished in Iran.
must read ping
No mention of Ghandi...
Still waiting for the million man march in downtown Tehran (with the security forces joining in or standing aside.)
This seems to be the only way forward.
His death may trigger the revolution we're all hoping for.
May civil disobedience rise up in the streets, like with Ghandi.
Anyone here know how to start a revolution? Or at least where we can find the manual? Who are Ganji's allies? His team needs some real help - not just press.
Most saddening is that Ganji a man firmly grasping his own convictions may soon deprive his nation of the leader they will most obviously need to lead them out of this wilderness - himself.
End the strike, Ganji. They need your voice. You are giving strength to you captors. Use your energy to fight them.
BTW-where the heck are the MSM??? They disgust me with their socialist agenda- and we still put up with it??? Each day I grow wearier of them then the next.
I tried hard not to read this. The death of this good man breaks my heart in two. I hope to God his death is not in vain.
01 July 2005
Letter to the Free People of the World
Today is the 19th day I'm on hunger strike. I was on hunger strike for 11 days in late May. The second phase of my hunger strike started on June 11, 2005. In total, my body weight has reduced from 77kg to 58kg in 30 days of hunger strike; that is, 19kg loss in one month.
I have been put in solitary confinement in section 240 [of the Evin prison] and subject to extra punishments such as being denied telephone communications, having visitors, newspapers and taking a walk in the open air.
In authoritarian systems, lying turns from a vice to a virtue. Liars claim: we don't have any political prisoners, any solitary cells, there is no hunger strike in Iran's prisons, prisons are like hotels. They solve their problems by changing the names. They call solitary cells suites and falsely suppose the problem is solved. Would an ass transubstantiate into a parrot, if we called it so? Prison means deprivation of freedom. Does prison change in essence into a hotel by calling it so? (I am using essentialist terminology since Islamic philosophers are essentialist and consider transubstantiation an impossibility.) A political prisoner is one who is imprisoned because of his opinions and the expression of his dissenting views. All global human rights organizations have confirmed that during recent years hundreds of people have been sent to jail in Iran for being dissidents.
Tehran's lie-making prosecutor [Saeed Mortazavi] claims one day that Ganji is sent to a solitary cell for his hunger strike. Another day he says Ganji is taken to solitary confinement so he learns a lesson and he will stay there until he learns it. Yet in his last statement he says: "Since Ganji has respiratory problems, doctors have recommended that he stay in a quiet environment away from disturbance." Liars forget their previous lies, and make new ones. They have forgotten that the head of Tehran's Justice Department (Alizadeh) claimed a month ago that Ganji was not sick. Now they say that doctors have diagnosed him with respiratory problems (read asthma). Have doctors recommended that Ganji stay in solitary confinement, be denied telephone communication, visitors, reading newspapers, fresh air and sun? Did they order to forcefully put a drug dealer, sentenced to 15 years in jail, in Ganji's cell at 12:20am on June 17 to finish him off? (They took that drug dealer on Thursday June 16 to Tehran's prosecutor and Saeed Mortazavi had briefed him well on what he had to do that night. The person who had accompanied him from Mortazavi's office to my cell on 8:12pm was telling the wardens that if it had been up to him, he would have tossed Ganji's dead body on the floor himself. Of course I refused and did not let him in my cell and left the cell myself. I have explained that night's complete story in a separate letter.)
Let it be known that if learning my lesson is to denounce my previous opinions, Ganji will never learn his lesson; that all my writings, especially the first and the second book of the Republican Manifesto are the result of deliberation and knowledge. The relentless critique of my writings is the job of others. Let it be known that Ganji will not cease his indefinite hunger strike until he achieves his goal. Forcing repentance letters on prisoners is the method of Stalin's interrogators inherited by Iranian Stalinists.
Today my broken face is the true face of the system in the Islamic Republic of Iran. I am now the symbol of justice. The justice that, if viewed correctly, puts on display the full extent of the opression of the rulers of the Islamic Republic. My outworn body and face reveals, paradoxically, the claimed justice and the true oppression. Anyone who sees me now asks in surprise "Are you Akbar Ganji? What have they done to you?"
Yes, I am neither sick nor on hunger strike [sarcasm]. They have made me lose weight from 77kg to 58kg through improvised tortures. They hide this outworn body from the public to hide the reality of the Islamic Republic. Why do they not allow reporters to take and publish my pictures?
Happy it is when the touchstone of experience cometh in play So are left disgraced those who conceal impure alloy. [a line from a sonnet by Hafez, the 14th-century Persian poet]
As I have said many times before, if I die in prison, it is on the orders of Mr. Khamenei [the Leader]. Mortazavi gets his orders via Mr. Hejazi directly from Mr. Khamenei. I have opposed the unelected and indefinite rule of Mr. Khamenei. I have said that [his] life-time unaccountable absolute power is at odds with democracy. I said expressing this opinion will be faced with Mr. Khamenei's quick and harsh reaction. What took place proved me right. He does not tolerate any personal criticism. Karroubi, Moeen and Hashemi Rafsanjani all tasted Mr. Khamenei's "religious democracy" in this election. The widespread and organized interference of the Guards Corps and Basij caused the outcry of even Larijani's campaign staff and the person of Mohsen Rezaei. A sultanist system is at odds with democracy. In such a system the sultan rules supreme and everyone else is at his service. Mortazavi has told my wife: "What will happen if Ganji dies? Dozens die everyday in prisons; Ganji will be just one of them." These are Mr. Khamenei's words that are uttered through Mortazavi's lips. Ganji dies, but the demand for freedom, democracy, political justice, hope, aspirations and ideals won't. Love for others and self-sacrifice for people will always continue to live.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
1. The prosecutor [of Tehran, Saeed Mortazavi] said: The door of Ganji's cell is open and he has contact with other culprits (accused of distributinging and selling the nation-wide university exams) in this section. This is a lie. The culprits of the same case are kept separately in different solitary cells so they cannot collude and [so they] give in to staged confessions under the pressure of interrogation and complete isolation. Sometimes I hear other prisoners in solitary confinements who ask for open air time and the opening of their cell's little windows. The claim that the cells' doors are open and that the prisoners can contact each other is an utter lie. Recently one of these same prisoners (of the national exam case) went on a hunger strike for 14 days.
Media do not like Freedom fighters, they love Gitmo detainees, OBL, Kerry, Castro, Khomeini, Carter and ... etc
He is Patrick Henry of Iran
Which is why I said the security forces need to stand aside or join in. It seems to be the only way the million man march is effective.
I know Iranian security takes it extremely hard to any kind of demonstration. Shooting and throwing people off buildings is not uncommon. But eventually (and with some solid pre-work) it can work.
The guys in the security forces are just ordinary Iranians and there is no way they like doing this kind of thing. It only takes one or two units joining in to turn the tide based on the experience of dozens of other successful million man marches (including Moscow and Lebanon.)
Anyone who is "seriously" involved in this issue should pay heed to what has worked before. For example, even things like rock music keeps the kids on the scene.
The mullahs, in their headlong defiance of international conventions, are burning up the headlines. We're Americans and we forget it took 13 years before we had independence from Britain and our own constitution. I fear Iran will subjugate it's people even further while it presses for nuclear capability. What's to stop the tyrants? They have everything they want.
"Media do not like Freedom fighters, they love Gitmo detainees, OBL, Kerry, Castro, Khomeini, Carter and ... etc"
And Nelson Mandella, a terrorist, and the pig arafat. Terrorists is what they love. If I could, I would force Ganji to eat, to stay alive! Why should the evil ones live and the good die?