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Posts Tagged ‘ Qods Day ’

  • 3 September 2010
  • Posted By Setareh Tabatabaie
  • 3 Comments
  • Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

In the Spirit of Ramadan, Attack that Cleric

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFl-5hJ6_xM]

Since Sunday, pro-government militiamen have been gathered outside Mehdi Karroubi’s home, in effort to prevent him from attending the annual Qods Day rally that took place today. Usually a state-sponsored rally to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian people, last year Karroubi and other opposition leaders marked the day by gathering tens of thousands of their supporters into the streets, resulting in violent clashes with security forces. Last month, Karroubi announced that he would attend the Qods rally this year as well.

Consequently, for the last five days, the plainclothes militia have been pelting stones, breaking windows, shooting guns, and spraying the walls of Karroubi’s home with paint and slogans like “Death to Karroubi.” Chants among the crowd have included  “We congratulate the union of the United States and Karroubi,” “We are responding, O Khamenei,” and “If only Khamenei would give us the order to fight.” Today’s attack, however, was more intense than all others, with Fatemeh Karroubi, Karroubi’s wife, claiming that it seemed as if the crowd wanted to kill her husband.

All the while, policemen stood by watching.

Both Fatemeh and Karroubi’s son Hossein Karroubi are attributing the continuation of the attacks to the Supreme Leader. In an open letter to Ayatollah Khamenei on Wednesday, Fatemeh Karroubi wrote, “These obvious crimes are taking place in your support and in front of the security forces who do not dare to approach these attackers.” Hossein Karroubi questioned Ayatollah Khamenei as well, saying, “You think of yourself to be just like Imam Ali [Shia’s first Imam]. Is this the way of Imam Ali? Is this the way of Ali, that you want to confront someone, have attacked the home of a 73-year-old man and have blockaded his home and set it on fire?”

One of Karroubi’s bodyguards, “Mr. Yari,” was even assaulted and is now in the hospital.  In addition, aside from being vandalized, Karroubi’s home also no longer has phone service, electricity or running water, leading Hossein Karroubi to compare it to Palestine and its occupation.

The ironic part is that despite all this effort, the Qods Day rally today still did not turn out the way the government wanted. In fact, Fars News Agency attacked both BBC and al-Arabiya for minimizing the turnout in their articles. Moreover, it seems that the story on Mehdi Karroubi has overshadowed the story on the Qods Day rally, an unintentional backfiring of the attack.

It is quite sad to see the Iranian government’s reliance on intimidation and threats in order to try to silence its critics and would-be reformers. As the late Ayatollah Montazeri said, it seems Iran is neither Islamic nor a republic. What is especially ironic, though, is that this attack took place during the holiest month in the Islamic calendar: Ramadan. Instead of gathering with family and friends to break the fast, reflecting on the self, or giving back to the community, some people instead chose to attack a 73-year old man and his home, somehow believing it was more Islamic. So tonight, when I break my fast, I will pray for them, and all the people of Iran.

Sign the Petition

 

7,349 signatures

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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