Monday, June 29, 2009

What Truly Matters

Last week, it seems was the time for celebrities to die. You know the list, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Billy Mays. All of them have passed on and much of the time of the last weekend was spent looking at the lives. While we do remember the lives of those lost and the impact each has had on popular culture, let's not forget what really counts. It is what is happening in Iran.

People are still protesting in Iran, it may not be in the streets, but they are still demanding a fair and just election. People are still being arrested and murdered by the State thugs that are under the control of the ruling body.

Recent, a group of Iranian bloggers issued a statement regarding the election. Here it is:
Statement by a group of Iranian bloggers about the Presidential elections and the subsequent events

1) We, a group of Iranian bloggers, strongly condemn the violent and repressive confrontation of Iranian government against Iranian people’s legitimate and peaceful demonstrations and ask government officials to comply with Article 27 of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution which emphasizes “Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam.”

2) We consider the violations in the presidential elections, and their sad consequences a big blow to the democratic principles of the Islamic Republic regime, and observing the mounting evidence of fraud presented by the candidates and others, we believe that election fraud is obvious and we ask for a new election.

3) Actions such as deporting foreign reporters, arresting local journalists, censorship of the news and misrepresenting the facts, cutting off the SMS network and filtering of the internet cannot silence the voices of Iranian people as no darkness and suffocation can go on forever. We invite the Iranian government to honest and friendly interaction with its people and we hope to witness the narrowing of the huge gap between people and the government.

A part of the large community of Iranian bloggers

Consider this from the BBC:
One hardline cleric has called for people who take their protests to the streets to be charged with waging war on God, an offence that in Iran carries the death penalty.

With the constitution, a great deal of power rests with the clerics. So for a hardliner to make this statement, it probably echoes the feelings of a number of people who make up the government. If you think this person may be speaking for himself or an unimportant part of the Iranian society, here is another fact to consider:
Saeed Mortazavi, a prominent Iranian jurist and prosecutor of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, has been tapped to lead the investigation of jailed reformist leaders and party officials amidst widespread demonstrations in response the disputed June 12th presidential election.

Mortazavi, who has been implicated by Human Rights Watch for torture, illegal detention and coercion for confessions, gained infamy for his role in the death of a Canadian-Iranian photographer who was tortured, beaten and raped while detained in 2003. In 2000, Mortazavi led a crackdown against the Islamic Republic’s domestic opposition, ordering the closure of over 100 newspapers. Four years later he detained more than twenty bloggers and journalists, holding them in unknown locations. “The leading role of Saeed Mortazavi in the crackdown in Tehran should set off alarm bells for anyone familiar with his record,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East and North Africa director of Human Rights Watch.

In 2005, the BBC published an article entitled: "The Price Paid for Blogging Iran". In the article Clark Boyd states:
Web logs have become a popular forum for dissent. And the Iranian government has responded by arresting dozens of bloggers.

If that was 2005, imagine what is going on right now. With such things as cameraphones and Twitter, the message is getting out to the world. It is through YouTube we saw the video of protests turning violent as the State apparatus decided to silent those who questioned the outcome of the election. We saw the death of Neda Agha Soltan, the message is getting out.

Blogging is so simple in the west, but in Iran, the potential for danger is real. For further information you can read the article Ctr+Alt+Delete:Iran's Response to the Internet from the site, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center

It is up to us in the West to keep the pressure on, to let the protesters know they are not forgotten.

Show Solidarity with the Iranian People.

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