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Posts Tagged ‘ Neda ’

  • 15 June 2010
  • Posted By Shawn Vl
  • 9 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009, MEK

Whitewashing Neda’s Death

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This state-produced propaganda video was broadcast on the anniversary of the June 12th election, alleging that Neda Agha Soltan was not murdered by a Basij militiamember but rather by members of the Iranian government’s favorite scapegoat: the MEK.

In an interview with the suspect who is widely believed to have been behind Neda’s shooting, the video attempts to portray the Basiji as an innocent victim wrongly convicted in the court of public opinion. But when the filmmakers approached Neda’s sister to get her support for their version of events, she would have nothing of it.

What amazes me about this propaganda piece is not the fact that the regime is trying to cover up Neda’s death, but how they are trying to use Neda’s death as cover for the hundreds of other people that were also killed or went missing during the post-election uproar. Somehow, the government is under the impression that if they rid themselves of Neda’s death, then all their other crimes against the public will also be wiped clean. But it won’t work.

Neda is indeed a symbol of the Green Movement, but her death also bears witness to the other victims of the government’s brutality. If the hardliners want to truly redeem themselves, they need to come clean about the hundreds of other killings they’re responsible for, and the thousands of other crimes they’ve committed — not just this one.

  • 28 May 2010
  • Posted By Setareh Tabatabaie
  • 2 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Regime doth protest too much

It seems that despite any claims to the contrary, the Islamic Republic is still at least a little bit fearful for its safety and survival with the upcoming anniversary of the June 2009 elections.

This can be seen in the detaining of artists, hikers, Canadian journalists, and French academics (among many others). It can be seen in the execution of Kurds, Afghans, Bahai’s, and election protesters. However, perhaps the most controversial, the most offensive, and the most un-Islamic, is the recent declaration of a documentary to be released by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry to “complete the removal of ambiguities surrounding the murder of Neda Agha Soltan” and provide “new evidence” about the West’s version of events. In other words, to prove that Neda’s murder was staged.

I understand the obsession with Western conspiracies, as there have been many in Iran’s history. I myself am often the first to point to an underlying conspiracy as an explanation for things. Nonetheless, it is clear to any reasonable person that Neda’s death is not a conspiracy. If the initial evidence was not enough to prove it, the regime’s reaction was.

Neda’s family was threatened to make false confessions attributing her death to the West. Her family was prohibited from holding a funeral for her, despite funerals being very important in Iranian and especially Muslim culture. Neda’s fiancé and the doctor who tried to save her life in the video, both scared for their lives, left the country. Her grave was desecrated by supporters of the regime. And now, after all this time, the regime brings it up, yet again, by pointing its finger to others.

But I do not want to argue that Neda’s death was indeed the work of the Islamic Republic, because there are many others who have done that before me. Rather, I would like to point out the regime’s psychological insecurity, at bringing up a death from nearly a year ago. This documentary, like the recent arrests, executions, and detentions, is to be released shortly before the one-year anniversary of the June 12 elections. These events all happening in the span of a few days are more than a coincidence; they are to continuously dissuade people from participating in expected protests. This documentary is likely meant to undermine the powerful symbol she has become as well as the legitimacy of the opposition movement in Iran.

But how long is a family to suffer? The Islamic Republic ought to stop exploiting and hurting the Iranian people simply to allay its own fears and insecurities. Besides, who is really going to believe that the blood coming from Neda’s death was from a ketchup bottle?

As one of the many who cried upon watching Neda’s death, I can only imagine how her family must feel. My advice to the Islamic Republic: show a little Muslim compassion, it is what we are best known for. Let the dead rest in peace. And let the living finally move on.

  • 17 December 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 11 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Where are their votes this TIME?

Credit Corbis

It is widely believed that millions of Iranian voters had their votes stolen during June’s Presidential election. Now, once again, the Iranian people had their votes taken away when Time Magazine awarded Ben Bernanke the honor of Person of the Year.

For those of you who, like me, were upset that Time didn’t choose the Iranian protesters as their person of the year, there is some consolation knowing that the rest of the world did.

In fact, more than 536,000 people recognized their courage and voted for the Iranian protesters outnumbered the 2nd and 3rd runners up combined. Despite that, it was disheartening to see them eliminated from Time’s shortlist which appeared on Tuesday, a day before announcing their final choice of Ben Bernanke. (See the full results here).

But, why even conduct a poll, or election for that matter, if the votes aren’t going to be counted?

Seeing as the title is Person of the year, perhaps Time wanted to walk away from awarding the prize to another group. If you remember in 2006, Time received a lot of criticisms for choosing “YOU” as person of the year. So why even include the “Chinese worker” on their shortlist, especially if they weren’t in the initial poll? (See the short list here)

If Time did not want to choose another group, then why not choose Neda, who has come to symbolize the struggle for democracy in Iran? It seems like she fit their description of a person who, “most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year.” Apparently they rarely give awards to people who are dead (Einstein was the only one, but he was Person of the Century). Though if you ask anyone who follows the plight of the Iranian people, Neda is far from dead—her memory carries on as she continues to move thousands in Iran to hit the streets and inspire countless artists around the world. Who else has done all of this without uttering a word?

The Iranian government wants more than anything for people to forget Neda, and the other millions of protesters—they’ve gone so far as to call her murder staged and refused to let people visit her unmarked grace. In a way, Time has done part of their Iranian government’s job for them.

Perhaps Time didn’t realize the impact that this award could have had for the Iranian people. While I’m sure Bernanke is happy about his award and perhaps it will put pressure on him to really fix the economy this time the impact of the award for the Iranian people would have been much more tangible. Honoring them would have shown Iran that the world is still watching; as a result, putting pressure on the government to reform its behavior. The Iranian people want to be part of the international community, but how can they, especially if we fail to recognize them?

Time is not solely to blame; in fact, this Person of the Year episode is symptomatic of most media—in the words of one disappointed protester “typical short memory Americans.”

The Iranian people have shown us that the Green movement is not just a trend. They’ve shown their ingenuity as they’ve turned insults into rallying points, (see the campaign to free Majid Tavakoli), money into organizing flyers and they continue to break Iranian government’s internet filters  to keep us informed of their activities. Won’t we at least do them the honor by paying attention longer than a few weeks?

  • 17 November 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

PBS: A Death in Tehran

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Check your local listings.

At the height of the protests following Iran’s controversial presidential election this summer, a young woman named Neda Agha Soltan was shot and killed on the streets of Tehran. Her death — filmed on a cameraphone, then uploaded to the web — quickly became an international outrage, and Agha Soltan became the face of a powerful movement that threatened the hard-line government’s hold on power.

With the help of a unique network of correspondents in and out of the country, FRONTLINE investigates the life and death of the woman whose image remains a potent symbol for those who want to keep the reform movement alive. The film also explores a number of unanswered questions in the aftermath of the greatest upheaval in Iran since the 1979 revolution: How many were arrested and killed as the security forces attempted to contain the growing protest movement? To what extent was the presidential vote manipulated? What is the future of the movement that seems to have been silenced?

Read the official press release after the break.

  • 26 August 2009
  • Posted By Michelle Moghtader
  • 0 Comments
  • Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Madonna, “The Planet Needs You!”

From images of children starving in Africa, to new pictures of protesters in Iran, Neda and other “Where’s My Vote” images, Madonna turns her concerts into awareness events. She tells her fans that the “Time is Now” to “Get up!” and become aware of the problems surrounding us.

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  • 30 July 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • 1 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Police Break Up Mourning Ceremony

BBC News has the latest:

Iranian police have arrested mourners who had gathered at a cemetery in Tehran for a memorial to those killed in post-election violence, reports say.

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi tried to join mourners at the graveside of Neda Agha Soltan, whose death became a symbol of post-election unrest.

But reports say he was forced to leave the cemetery shortly after his arrival.

Other witnesses said that mourners clung to his car, chanting “Mousavi, we support you”.

[…]

Mr Mousavi got out of his car and walked up to Neda’s grave, but was then surrounded by police, the witnesses told AFP news agency.

“Mousavi was not allowed to recite the Koran verses said on such occasions and he was immediately surrounded by anti-riot police who led him to his car,” a witness said.

“Hundreds have gathered around Neda Agha Soltan’s grave to mourn her death and other victims’ deaths… police arrested some of them … dozens of riot police also arrived and are trying to disperse the crowd,” another witness told Reuters.

The occasion, called arbayeen, is a Shia Muslim event that marks the 40th day after a death. Mousavi and Karroubi had requested a permit for the gathering, but the request was denied by the Interior Ministry.

[T]he authorities are particularly sensitive about these “arbayeen” turning into political demonstrations.

That is exactly what happened during the Islamic Revolution 30 years ago in a cycle that helped lead to the downfall of the Shah, our correspondent says.

Update: A reader correctly points that although the word arbayeen is often used in Iran, the word in Farsi for the 40th day of mourning is “cheleh.”

  • 21 July 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 1 Comments
  • Congress, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Rep. McCotter to Khamenei “You are doomed by your own hands.”

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Yesterday, Representative McCotter (R-MI) spoke out strongly against the Iranian governments use of the violence against women. He told the story of Taraneh, who died after being raped and tortured in an Iranian prison. McCotter made bold statements by predicting the fall of the current government under the hands of Supreme Leader Khamenei.

Here is the truth about Ayatollah Khamenei his misogynistic and murderous regime- You’re referendum has held and you have failed your test. Taraneh and Neda condemn you as the despicable killers of women. You have no legitimacy either in the eyes or the eyes of the civilized world. You are doomed by your own hands. And it is but a matter of time before your regime clashes and the Iranian people breathe free.

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Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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