20 June, 2009

The Latest

I finally received an email at about 4am Tehran time from my friends and they are alright. Worried, weary and unsure what's next, but o.k. and I am so very thankful.

Not everyone was so lucky. Supposedly the young woman whose death was captured on video and spread around the world today was named Neda. Someone elsewhere pointed out that Neda means "voice or call" in Farsi. Whether that is her name or not, she was someone's daughter and grand-daughter, perhaps someone's sister, girlfriend or wife. I simply cannot quite come up with satisfying words...

I have no idea what today (about 8a.m. there now) will bring for people there, but my friends, their families and friends, and really the whole country are in my thoughts.

Regime violates own constitution...

Article 27 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran

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.

(The movement has been non-violent and fully in compliance with the principles of Islam)

Articles of the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam

(d) Safety from bodily harm is a guaranteed right. It is the duty of the state to safeguard it, and it is prohibited to breach it without a Shari'ah-prescribed reason.

11(a) Human beings are born free, and no one has the right to enslave, humiliate, oppress or exploit them, and there can be no subjugation but to Allah the Almighty.

18(a) Everyone shall have the right to live in security for himself, his religion, his dependents, his honour and his property.

(b) Everyone shall have the right to privacy in the conduct of his private affairs, in his home, among his family, with regard to his property and his relationships. It is not permitted to spy on him, to place him under surveillance or to besmirch his good name. The State shall protect him from arbitrary interference.

(c) A private residence is inviolable in all cases. It will not be entered without permission from its inhabitants or in any unlawful manner, nor shall it be demolished or confiscated and its dwellers evicted.

22(a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari'ah.

(b) Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari'ah.

(c) Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical Values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.

23(a) Authority is a trust; and abuse or malicious exploitation thereof is explicitly prohibited, in order to guarantee fundamental human rights.

(b) Everyone shall have the right to participate, directly or indirectly in the administration of his country's public affairs. He shall also have the right to assume public office in accordance with the provisions of Shari'ah.

Article 20.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(Iran is a signatory to the UDHR)


Violence in Iran

Word is trickling out of violence in Tehran, including a supposed bombing - announced by the government, so very suspect - at the tomb of Imam Khomeini in southern Tehran. No word on the rest of the country. Most importantly for me, no word from friends.

Video from BBC Persian service
Pitney's live blog on Huff Post

May never watch CNN again since they are relying on Iranian state-controlled Press TV for their "information". Idiots. Reminds me of when I lived in Syria and was invited to a friend's home: "We're easy to find, right across from the Ministry of Information." Knowing the part of town they lived in, I was a bit confused, but upon arriving I had a good laugh when I looked across the street to see the offices of al-Baath newspaper.

This video, reportedly made last night, has made the rounds but is none-the-less very moving.


19 June, 2009

More from Iran

Here's more of the latest from friends in Iran, again edited to protect them. Everybody is very worried of what will happen at Saturday's march and thereafter. I agree with my friend here, hard to believe this has all unfolded in one week....
I can't open sites such as....and of course many other sites. We can use some proxies of course but it changes daily and sometimes it is time consuming if you want to get unbiased news fast.

I read your blog and it is very thoughtful of you to write about Iran.

As you know the leader Ayatullah Khamenei delivered his speech in Tehran University Friday prayer this morning and he confirmed he is on Ahmadinejad's side and there should be an end to opposition rallies otherwise the demonstrators and their leaders will face God's punishment!!!! (you know what he means by that). Also he said the only way for Mousavi is through Guardian Council if he wishes to complain about the election result.

Tomorrow there will be another massive rally by the opposition group and we have to wait and see how the guards will react after the disappointing but threatening speech today.

It is a very confusing situation now. We have serious conflict of interests between the clerics in power plus a newly formed opposition movement which soon will either be demolished completely or leads to a bloody civil war.

Oh I am so tired of watching news and reading and not having a normal life for the past week. I still can't believe it all happened in one week. Last Friday at exact same time I was voting with high hopes ......... Unlike some people I am still hopeful but worried as well.

I love you and thank you again for all you do. I am attaching few pics from the rally last evening; a silent walk to mourn for those killed in the protests. Mousavi himself was among the people and said he will continue and won't give up ..... we'll see!!!!

17 June, 2009

Words Direct From Iran

I finally received word that my friends in Iran are o.k., for now. They allowed me to share what they wrote, with some editing to protect them. Any notations from me are in light green.
Keep following Nico Pitney's live blog over at HuffPost. Also check out this blog.
Thanks so much for your concern about us here, we are OK somehow feeling excited and hopeful, but at the same time expecting harsh reactions soon from the other side. Also that's so thoughtful of you to go green :)

Tomorrow (Thursday) is going to be the biggest rally by Mousavi supporters to condemn the killing of some protesters and continue showing their opposition to the vote result. On Friday Ayatollah Khamenei will lead Tehran Friday prayers congregation and have a speech for the crowd who are mostly Ahmadinejad's fan. This will most likely lead to additional clashes towards Mousavi's supporters and an order to ban further protests and severe punishment & imprisonment for the demonstrators. They have already asked other countries to stop interfering, blocked most sites and asked the foreign journalists and reporters to leave the country.

Please keep praying for a positive outcome and by the way I don't mind you use my words or pics in your blog (of course as you said no reference to who I am).

"YES WE ARE OK and hoping for a real reform after 30 years...

The internet connection is very slow at some hours due to the recent events. Most sites are blocked, sms text messaging is blocked and mobile phone communication is literally blocked after 4 pm. Every day we have huge demonstrations backing Mr. Mousavi...(regarding protests Wed.) just called me and said probably millions were there. Pro-Mousavi protesters either have silent walk wearing black with green flags or ribbons to show respect to the people who were killed by riot police during Monday rally. Tomorrow (Thursday) Mousavi asked for a mass rally...

It is the most exciting and different time in Iran since my childhood when the revolution happened. This time most people voted because they were fed up with lies, bad economy, lack of jobs and all the promises that Ahmadinejad never kept.

The 85% turnout was unbelievable and prior to election date Iranian were so united and all over big cities you could see a lot of young people campaigning for Mousavi and the friendship and unity which was lost for years and years among our people was once again witnessed. All streets and many cars were covered by green banners, ribbons and the excitement was unbelievable. People who haven't voted for the previous election terms were so hopeful this time. Mr. Mousavi is an architect and before election was the president of "Iranian academy of arts". His wife is an artist and has Phd in political science and is his political advisor.

When the interior ministry announced the results ONLY after few hours and declared Ahmadinejad as the president without even giving the results of each province people went crazy. Of course he had the vote of the villages, deprived parts of Iran and military staff, BUT he never could have the vote of the province which Mousavi was born there and they just lied to people's face and thought people are stupid. But this time due to the unity of pre-election among young and old, and the other candidates' disagreement to the strangely low number of votes they got ..... the fire started and it is getting bigger and bigger. I still can't believe how it hasn't stopped. Every night from 9-10 pm people go on the roofs or streets and say "Allah o akbar" or GOD is the greatest, drivers honk and people do things to show their hatred and protest.

Well, I was never good at politics and still am not, but every single moment I find I am either watching TV and getting news from different international channels or search websites.

Whatever the results will be .......... one thing is for sure ...... people are not silent anymore and the present system can't keep them silent as before. Also the world is watching now and those who didn't know much about us and saw us through our government may see us differently.

What do you hear among Americans?
Please keep following the news and keep all these many people in your thoughts.

What Do Iranians Want? A Seven-Point Plan From Iranians

Here's something emailed to me from friends in Iran
The message of the protestors in Iran:
Yesterday in Tehran, fliers were handed out among protesters. The text of one of these fliers is as follows:
1) Disqualification of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei due to his lack of ability of righteous leadership.

Disqualification of Ahmadinejad due to election fraud and illegitimate occupation of Presidency.
3) Temporary appointment of Ayatollah Montazeri as Supreme Leader until revision of the Ground Law.
4) Acknowledging Mir Hussein Mosavi as the elected president of Iran.
5) Building an interim government for managing the day-to-day business of government and as well revision of the Ground Law.
6) Free-giving of all conscious political and minority prisoners.
7) Disbanding all suppressive organs of the regime under any name.

16 June, 2009

One Image

A backer of Mir Hossein Mousavi helps evacuate an injured riot-police officer during riots in Tehran on June 13, 2009. (OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Of all the images coming out of Iran, this is one that has really, really stuck with me. It speaks to so many things...


UPDATE: It seems YouTube has, thankfully, relented on this!

It looks as if YouTube is removing some of the videos making it out of Iran due to violent content being against their terms of use agreement. I am not a fan of extraneous violence. These images are not and the clips are an international public service in the face of the Iranian government's lockdown of media.
Come on YouTube, let the truth be seen and heard!

Celebrate World Refugee Day in Austin Saturday


The World is Watching... or really trying to!

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 20.1
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

Article 21 looks likely to apply, as well: the right of people to participate in their government through free, fair and universal elections.
Trying to stay atop the news from Iran and worried about friends there...
Yes, I realize that lots of citizen journalist outlets are down at the moment and professional journalists are being prevented from reporting on everything, but why is this not a major news story in the U.S.? Yes, I know the concept of sustained, quality coverage of vital things actually happening beyond our borders is a radical one but come on..
This whole thing is lessening my dislike of Twitter significantly, especially their decision to delay their service outage.
Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, who I had the honor of hearing speak twice recently at my university, spoke out today from Switzerland about the arrest of her human rights colleagues in Iran.
Global Voices
Juan Cole
Nico Pitney's live-blogging/collecting of information
Checking the Iranian blog rolls as well...
And the hunt for good, instant information continues...
YouTube, Twitter, even Flickr is serving as a news outlet...
The power of all these relatively new information outlets only leaves me thinking of past actions and movements and how different they might or might not have been if these tools had been available.
A rather chilling, but useful blog here.
For now, we're going green in solidarity.