Sunday, August 16, 2009 /
While Iran isn't as bad as Myanmar/Burma, it has many parallels. Both in Myanmar and in Iran, the voices of hope are multiplying, and they're increasingly being heard.
Being prisoners in your own country and being held to ransom in the name of religion and a dictatorship, is exactly what is happening in Myanmar and increasingly in Iran. Myanmar, however, has closed its doors - no internet, no journalists, not much international trade and so on.
Recently and aptly nicknamed, the Islamic Republic of Rape and Torture, Iran has one advantage over Myanmar - emails, news, blogs, photos and videos are getting out far more easily, despite the government crackdowns. And Iran's business owners do trade internationally, and they do travel extensively. The situations of poverty and levels of education in Iran are much better than in Myanmar, and this gives the people a huge advantage.
Intelligent, educated people in Iran know not only what needs to be done to bring down the current regime, but are ready and very able to take over and help push the country towards democracy and freedom.
One advantage over Myanmar is that Iran trades extensively with an international market, making it vulnerable in the economic arena. And although the Rial is not internationally traded, it is currently being propped up by the government through a 24%+ inflation rate. This is costing the government plenty! It may well be the way Iran's current regime will be brought down - by economic ruin... with a little help from its people.
There's a wonderful thread on the Why We Protest forum. Please take a look at the ideas presented.
When asked what was the core quality that would make revolution in her country successful, Aung San Suu Kyi replied, "Courage".
Without a doubt Iranians everywhere, but especially in Iran, have displayed this kind of courage in non-violent protest. And they do so, knowing what might happen to them - beatings, imprisonment, rape, torture and protracted prison sentences. And yet they still protest.
Such is the human desire for fairness and freedom.
A message of hope...
We have faith in the power to change what needs to be changed but we are under no illusion that the transition from dictatorship to liberal democracy will be easy, or that democratic government will mean the end of all our problems. We know that out greatest challenges lie ahead of us and that our struggle to establish a stable, democratic society will continue beyond our life span. But we know that we are not alone. the cause of liberty and justice finds sympathetic responses around the world. Thinking and feeling people everywhere, regardless of color or creed, understand the deeply rooted human need for a meaningful existence that goes beyond the mere gratification of material desires. Those fortunate enough to live in societies where they are entitled to full political rights can reach out to help their less fortunate brethren in other areas of our troubled planet.
-- Aung San Suu Kyi
From Aung San Suu Kyi - The Voice of Hope - Conversations with Alan Clements
Friday, July 31, 2009 /
This is wonderful personal account of the protests on the 40th day after Neda died.
Thursday, July 30, 2009 /
Like many people, I'm riveted with the info coming from there via Twitter.
I'd originally posted this photo in another blog, but it didn't belong there.
Here's a photo that will surely become an icon - women coming to the aid of a man being beaten by the Basij.
Sure, there's been Neda and many others, whose on-the-spot photos and videos are very memorable. But this one shows the absolute courage and tenacity of Iranian women.
Iran's Disputed Election - The Big Picture - Boston.com
This small blog was only about some technical info and some small updates about the Iran Election and its fallout.
I have stayed quiet too long.
While many other sites have some great resources about the aftermath of the Iran election, repeating updates and information serves no purpose here. Plus I have so little time, I'm sure I couldn't keep up with the flow.
Under the guise of relative anonymity here, and amidst the massive flow of information from Iran every day, maybe I can state an opinion without fear of physical recourse.
Here are some random thoughts, not necessarily written in any professional way. Just some thoughts, hopefully to make you think too.
For a moment, forget the cause. Forget the election fraud and the government's outright lies and propaganda since. What gets me most angry and sad is the outright brutality of the current regime. People become playthings to suit their nefarious ends.
So many tributes for those who have died in Iran, for those who've been brutally assaulted, for those who've been bludgeoned on the streets, in the prisons, let alone the violent interrogation methods and forced confessions. For what? For walking the streets in protest, for wanting a fair election? For wanting what they believe to be their right?
It's Tienanmen behind closed doors and behind a closed country. Try as they might, the news is still getting out.
The victims of this regime are HUMAN BEINGS! Every single one has a life, family, and friends. In Iran, there is zero value on human life. It's as expendable as throwing away a piece of paper.
What are these supposedly religious people thinking?????
Imagine if you will, in our relatively comfortable and free life in the west, that just a single one of your best friends or a member of your family, were beaten, raped and forced to confess, or maybe they were shot in cold blood right in front of you. Or perhaps, for some flimsy reason, they were sentenced to hang by a kangaroo court.
Would you be outraged? Of course you would! Think about Rodney King and the outrage that followed. This was just ONE person. Think about this multiplied hundreds of times every day, thousands of times every year! Why aren't we outraged by every single one of those incidents?
What would you do? How would you feel? How long would you mourn that one person, friend or family, who died or was beaten senseless? What effect would it have on your life, for the rest of your life?
It's completely beyond my imagination to think that this one person's fate is multiplied thousands every day in Iran. Even without the election arrests, this is still happening every day in Iran.
Did you know that in 1988, more than 30,000 political prisoners were wiped off the face of the earth in Iran? Imagine that number... 30,000. Can you imagine 100? Can you imagine 999? Can you imagine 9,000? Now try to think about 30,000 separate lives being ended by a repressive and brutal regime! Who was held accountable? NO ONE!
Iran's regime has maneuvered itself into a somewhat untouchable corner. They're not accountable to anyone. And what's worse, they're mostly doing this in the name of religion and revolutionary credo!
Have you got to know any ordinary Iranians yet? Have you read about them yet? They are amongst the kindest, most hospitable, most gentle people on the planet! Yet, those in power, some of whom were not born in Iran (do your homework), still call themselves Iranian. I think not!
It occurs to me that in Nazi Germany, so many young people were brainwashed for so many years, until Hitler had an army of people who truly believed that they were of a superior race. They believed fervently enough that killing millions of people was nothing to them. How did that come about? Several reasons, not the least of which was that before the war, things were not good in Germany. There was lots of unemployment and many people didn't have a good life. Couple that with brainwashing that others were responsible, and that if these others were removed, there would be more jobs, more money, and a better life. People followed like sheep. It's what their friends did. It's what their family did.
The rich were getting richer, and the poor helped them because they were being promised a better life, while being brainwashed.
How many people believed the earth was flat? Why? It's what they were told to believe. It's that easy!
Power and money corrupt some people. Power, money and adherence to some ridiculous credo, makes people inhuman. Power, money and violence teaches people obedience. Really, it's that easy. It's from the 'Repressive Regime' handbook. Right out of knowing what works. But it's not working all that well in Iran right now.
There is no doubt that in Iran today, there are certainly followers of the regime. Why? Think about it. Amongst many reasons... the poor, the hungry, the people who've not had a good life for years and years, or people just swayed by the rhetoric. And on the other end of the scale, rich people getting richer and can (or have to) close their eyes to whatever else is going on. It was mostly the poor, and the opponents of the regime, who suffered under the Shah. The revolution changed that for a while.
Under the guise of religion and revolution, here are a bunch of people in power now in Iran - mullahs, ayatollahs and other clergy who who teach as authorities of their religion, and have done so for the last 30 years. These very people teach obedience under whatever guise they can - religion, philosophy, connections to what happened in the past, repression, threats of violence, all with occasionally believable rationalisations.
It's these very people (think China, Burma and other places) who shun and take steps to ban contact with the outside world. Why? It feeds into their credo of blind obedience through a number of methods including philosophy, violence and repression. It makes others turn a blind eye, mostly because they have to. In many places in the world, these 'followers' have no choice, whether they believe or not. Protest and you're dead. Whether you protest on the streets, by blogging, by talking to the wrong person - try it and you're dead.
In Iran, it is said that the ordinary people have two faces. One for inside the home, and one for the street. And these two faces differ vastly. Behind closed doors, life is different. For many people, life isn't so different from the west. They have parties, music, drink, fun, computers, mobile phones, makeup, fashion and more. Not everyone, but many - I'd even hazard a guess and say most - but it's definitely there and part of the culture.
On the streets, people are mostly obedient to Sharia Law. It's so brutal that there's no choice, really.
The recent elections have somehow unhinged ordinary people. It has made what ordinary people have been thinking for so many years, spill over into the streets. This is such a mortal danger to the regime that they are now acting desperately to hold on to their illusion. Money, power and politics.
As an aside... if you think that the regime is not in ongoing relationships with the USA and Britain, think again. What you and I don't know about that, would fill volumes.
Why have people taken to the streets, when they KNOW what will happen to some of them? People are willing to give their lives for truth and freedom! Your best friend, your brother or sister - these are the people taking to the streets, putting their lives, their health and their sanity in mortal danger. Why? What would make you take to the streets like this, under such a repressive and violent regime?
What gets to me is that the rest of the world thinks that it can solve this problem with a few sanctions here and there, or with a letter or two to the UN.
And it IS our business. Human beings are our business, no matter where they are.
The regime is acting this way because it thinks it's untouchable. And really, it has been untouchable for 30 years! What has the rest of the world done in 30 years, apart from a few trade sanctions? NOTHING.
How on earth can so many hundreds of thousands of people be killed, tortured, hung, beaten, and we do NOTHING. Why? Because there's nothing much we can do without causing complete chaos in the region.
Sure, the press writes good articles. People blog with evidence all the time. What else have we done? NOTHING!
One life taken for the regime's cause, is one life too many!
People who've been able to escape Iran - and there were millions who left around 1979, and more since - have been lucky in many ways. People with money in Iran, can go on in their businesses, making more money, and can buy their way out of many problems. They travel relatively freely and they carry on with their lives.
Imagine if you will... could you get together the money for airfares for say 6 of your family, plus money to establish yourself in a new country?
Do you have any idea how many people in Iran go to the embassies every day, trying to get out. Many countries won't have them, or visas take 2-3 years to process, if you have money. If you only eek out a meager living, you have no hope of getting out. And really, most Iranians love their country and their culture. It's the government they can't stand.
Iran is a rich country, with plenty of resources, yet the economy there has been getting worse and worse over the last years. Where is the better life and sharing of wealth that Ahmadinejad promised? Who is lining their pockets with that money? The British freezing bank accounts with more than $1.6 billion, should speak volumes. And yet the people with this much money still want to stay in power, despite all the protests, despite having to rig elections. Why? They and the next several generations would never have to lift a finger and still live very well.
Something happens to people in power when that power also means money. I don't claim to fully understand it. I do, however, know the phenomenon of people in this position who have no integrity.
So what can we do? Keep writing to Amnesty International, who essentially have almost zero legal clout? Appeal to our governments, most of whom have already stated they don't want to publicly interfere? Remember, I said 'publicly'. What legal recourse do we have? NONE
Repression of all kinds... beatings, torture, arrests, interrogation with forced confessions, Basij bursting into your house in the middle of the night, and so much more, will keep people off the streets. DO NOT mistake that for Iranians not caring and not wanting change. Unfortunately, the regime is succeeding in part. And this conflict will take much longer to resolve, I fear.
I urge you to think of one single person who has become a victim of this regime and multiply that by thousands. Then think about us as human beings caring about other human beings. Then think of a way of making the perpetrators accountable.
Hey, why don't we make them accountable under exactly the same laws (real or made up) that they are exerting their power and violence over ordinary people now? No, that's not the way. It makes us as bad as them. But who can make the perpetrators accountable? Which international organization can go into Iran and enforce that?
We need to make people accountable for what's happening now and what's happened in the last 30 years in Iran, and for that matter, anywhere else in the world that these atrocities are being committed.
How do we do that? I don't know. Do you?
International organizations need much more power than they now have.
All I know is that it MUST be done somehow, and the sooner the better. One more innocent life becoming a victim of this or any regime, is ONE TOO MANY!
Thursday, June 25, 2009 /
. In Iran, the family is the basis of the social structure.
. The concept of family is more private than in many other cultures. Female relatives must be protected from outside influences and are taken care of at all times. It is inappropriate to ask questions about an Iranian's wife or other female relatives.
. Iranians take their responsibilities to their family quite seriously.
. Families tend to be small, only 1 or 2 children, but the extended family is quite close.
. The individual derives a social network and assistance in times of need from the family.
. Elderly relatives are kept at home, not placed in a nursing home.
. Loyalty to the family comes before other social relationship, even business.
. Nepotism is considered a good thing, since it implies that employing people one knows and trusts is of primary importance.
Read more here.
Friday, June 19, 2009 /
Thursday, June 18, 2009 /
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 /
Media, phone and internet restrictions in Iran is explained Iran to media: no cameras allowed.
...authorities have barred all journalists working for foreign media from reporting on activities in the streets. And foreign reporters who went to Iran to cover last week's elections are beginning to leave, as officials say their visas will not be extended.
This will assist you in being involved in Twitter and how to behave there. It's important to read this so you don't make mistakes.
Twitter Hashtags #iranelection #gr88
It is imperative that ACCURATE and verified information gets out from Iran. You can help by doing the following:
DO NOT RT (retweet) ANYTHING to do with any of the Iranian Tweets, and especially DO NOT mention any of the trusted names/sources.
Do not tweet anything that is not VERIFIED by one of the trusted sources.
FOLLOW ONLY TRUSTED SOURCES
There are many government agents now on Twitter. At first their posts seem credible, but in reality, they want you to follow them, and once they have a decent following, they'll start spreading lies and pro-Ahmadinejad propaganda.
DON'T USE A TWITTER STREAM FROM #iranelection OR #gr88
Use any twitter client where you can set only those you follow, or where you can enter multiple searches for those user names you want to follow. That way you can avoid the hundreds of people who are posting in the Iran related hashes (#) just for the hell of it, for nefarious purposes, or simply posting and reposting misinformation.
KEEP LOOKING AT THIS PAGE
This page lists known and suspected fake Twitter IDs, who are posting on the vital hashes (#iranelection, #gr88). To avoid huge streams of misinformation, just follow trusted sources. These are people well known to those who've been on twitter since the beginning of the Iran Election. We can no longer tell you who they are for security reasons.
If you know who the trusted sources are, DO NOT advertise it in any Twitter message, or anywhere else.
WHAT CAN BE BLOCKED FROM TWITTER
While Twitter itself and most other sites are blocked from Iran, some very clever and resourceful people in Iran know how to get around it. Once they're around the blocks, EVERYTHING on Twitter is available to them. Hashes can't be blocked. User names can't be blocked.
CHANGE YOUR LOCATION in Twitter and DON'T ADVERTISE IT!
Most people on Twitter now know to change their location to Tehran, Iran with the Tehran time-zone, but PLEASE DON'T ADVERTISE IT.
Anyone looking for fake geolocations can easily go back through your posts and see, "I'm now posting from Iran", or "I've now changed my location". It's total stupidity to advertise - you're just making it known that you changed your location, curtailing the government's search so they can quickly eliminate you from the real posters in Iran.
USE COMMON SENSE, KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT
Many of the people following the Twitters from Iran, are not Iranian.
Please don't assume anything about what they really want for THEIR regime.
You may think that total democracy as in the USA is desirable, for them, but don't assume you know what they want. Derogatory comments about Islam or about any other deeply-rooted religious and/or cultural practices in Iran only serves to fuel the anti-USA and other anti-Western World sentiment that is drummed into them.
If you want to know more about Iranian culture, there are plenty of places on the Internet you can learn. The Iranian people are good, kind, generous and loving people with a very long history. They generally do not reflect their government's views. Having said that, don't assume they all want the moral freedoms we have. Some do, some don't. Even in a totally free and democratic Iran, you will still see some people in veils who are deeply religious, just like you'll see people f all religious persuasions in the west.
Any rude comments about Islam or about Iranian culture will only fuel the government's anti-western sentiment and will insult those people in Iran who who have beliefs other than yours. Not all in Iran are religious, but please respect those who are.
Don't forget that the basis of the current problem revolves around the election and the cheating that took place. That is the primary issue and remains so.
The goal of the protesters is to have a fair election. They didn't get that. Anything else you think they want, can be a false assumption on your part. Like anywhere in the world, in Iran there are opposing views of cultural and religious practices.
Don't assume that government agents will or won't do something. They can be brutal. If you think that they won't do something based on common sense human rights violations, think again. Remember, they've had 30 years of an oppressive regime - time enough for young children to be brainwashed, time enough for some people to submit to the government's will and promote it.
Please use common sense and don't assume anything unless you really know better!
Most of all, think twice before you post ANYTHING that you think is fact to any of the Iran Election twitter hashes, or to any part of Twitter for that matter. You may well be putting someone else life in danger.
If you like this article, please Tweet to #iranelection and/or link to the location so more people can read it! The tweet button below is general and won't tweet to any hash-tags.