Saturday, September 17, 2005

Heritage and Submersion

Iranian blogger, Mehdrad Sheibani, Rooz Online:
President Ahmadinejad, who according to Sharg newspaper has taken along his friends on his first trip abroad, misses “the revolution, Islam and the dear motherland as soon as he lands in New York to attend the annual UN General Assembly meeting.

Prior to his speech before representatives of some 191 countries and organizations, he first holds a meeting with Iranians in the US, whom news agencies call officials, appointees and associates of the government of Iran, as has been the practice with other Iranian visitors to the UN and surprisingly talks of the grandeur of Iranians, clearly avoiding the Islamic content of his local talks. He repeatedly uses words such as “the great Iranian nation” which has a “very bright history”. He calls Iranians to be the “leaders of human civilization and attributes much of what constitutes science and ethics today to the work of these people.

Have no doubts that today the great Iranian nation is a most influential force on the world’s stage, its culture, civilization, and morals. Iranian culture and values have many followers”. Yes, these are the words of a president whose normal speeches at home repeat Islam or Islamic in every sentence he pronounces. READ MORE

“And while all other ideologies and philosophies have failed
in taking mankind to a satisfactory position, the Iranian nation has solutions for all human problems,” he emphatically says. “Do not doubt that what the Iranian nation offers to mankind today will soon become universal”, he proclaims, insisting that all “resistance against Islamic culture and revolution will end and the future belongs to Islam, the Islamic revolution, and the great Iranian nation.”

And while Ahmadinejad makes these grandeur proclamations in front of just a few of his compatriots in New York about an ancient civilization, a new water dam back at home in the province of Fars province will soon submerge the remnants and ruins of Iran’s past, perhaps not unlike what happened in New Orleans. The director of Fars Province’s Water Works issued a warning that the new dam that is gradually building up a water reservoir will soon submerge all the historic sites that date back to thousand years. And in the capital of the ancient civilization that Ahmadinejad proudly talks of in New York, the interior minister is busy not only shuffling the governors of all the provinces, but reshuffling those offices from head to toe. Mostafa Pourmohammadi, the new minister, however takes off for a pilgrimage trip to Saudi Arabia before even learning of the details of his new office, let alone the offices of the towns and villages on the edges of the Iranian plateau. He did of course appoint a new hardline mayor for the city who happens to be a former military commander by the name of Galibaf. His other appointments such as Ravandi for the capital’s province however backfired as he himself resigned due to growing pressure in the Majlis and elsewhere, just as did his representative for the town of Zahedan. But still, Mostafa Pourmohammadi insists on choosing his management team from former security and military officials whom he wants to install at all levels of the reaches of the central government in the provinces. Any one who has followed Iranian post revolutionary history knows the kind of “construction” and progress such sweeping changes bring about.

In Tehran, the very same people that Ahmadinejad believes will soon save the world, are battling hard to organize their front for democracy and human rights against all odds. And speaking of human rights, one cannot lament at Akbar Ganji’s efforts again to save her husband from the dungeons of Evin prison. She again reaches out to international organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders for help, drawing their attentions to Ganji’s deteriorating health. She stresses that while her husband agreed to break his hunger strike in return for a review of his case and promises of his release, nothing has really changed regarding his imprisonment. We know that Ganji has been returned to Evin prison from Milad hospital, while no one has yet been allowed to visit him.

Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, another student leader who has been in prison recently returned to prison from a “home leave”. As a reminder, he was arrested charged and sentenced for 14 years of imprisonment for “acting against the state” and “insulting the Leader of the country. Of course there are other prisoners or detainees who are denied their freedoms because of their conscience and expression of their ideas. Farzad Vahidi, who had been arrested numerously in the past and released, has once again been subpoenaed by the judiciary. His documents, not surprisingly, do not refer to any charges against him. Just an invitation to a meeting!

Daftare Tahkime Vahdat (Office for Strenghtening Solidarity), the largest student organization that at one time fully supported the regime and its leadership and whose leaders including Tabarzadi, have been through the cells of Evin prison, is organizing a seminar “human rights and the challenges ahead, a theme that is a thorn in the eyes of the regime. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a student leader, says at the seminar “observance of human rights is the most important gateway to solving the country’s current problems.”

While some 20 days have passed since the assassination of Judge Moghadas, Fakhrodin Jaafarzadeh, the head of Tehran’s criminal division has no suspect in the case, even though the Japanese embassy is said to have given him its surveillance video which purportedly has filmed the assassination. The new minister of Intelligence has nothing new to add when he says that his agency has not come up with any names either.

Outside the home of this “great nation, as Ahmadinejad would like to remind us all, Iran continues to remain a hot topic. The Governing Council of the International Atomic Energy Agency will meet soon to again review Iran’s nuclear program.

The Iraqi president, Jalal Talebani raises a poignant question when he asks Russian leaders who call for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq “who will stop an Iranian invasion of southern Iraq if the US forces leave Iraq?