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Sunday November 15, 2009
KURDISTAN WILL NOT BE EXECUTED Lead Article: he most difficult moment of last week that was heartfelt by everyone was the execution of a hardworking activist. The Islamic Republic executed Ehsan Fattahian, one of Kurdistan’s tall and proud youth. Ehsan was of a working class family in the province of Kermanshah in western Iran, who was arrested and sentenced to death for his political struggle as member of a Marxist group in Kurdistan. His execution made people worldwide protest once again against organized crime in the name of killing political prisoners. The execution of political and civil prisoners in the Islamic Republic has a 30 year history. But in recent days the wave of concern provoked among the people and human rights activists has reached ... [Continued on pg 20]
Four Year Sentence for Hassan Salamat
Latest Reports on Prisoners (November 12th): Violation of Prisoner Rights Continues
Guards Threaten to Punish Activists Outside Iran
Combat Enemy’s “Psychological Operations”
Iran’s Head of Broadcasting Reinstated for Five More Years
“We Will Control the Internet Even More”
Ahmadinejad’s Reprisal Continues
Danish Reporter “Not a Journalist”
Iran set to execute another political prisoner
Protest against execution of Kurdish political activist
Head of Iran National Broadcasting Targets Opposition Leaders
Iran Protests Oxford’s Neda Agha-Soltan Bursary
Iran judiciary delays release of Zeidabadi
Iran's Haft Tappeh Union Members Imprisoned
Iran artists in tug of war with government
Municipality Workers of Khoramshahr On Strike
Iran's greatest master of traditional music, Mohammad … [Continued on pg 3]
More Executions as Government Tool for Silencing Opposition
Funeral Ceremony for Ehsan Fattahian Banned
Gradual Conversion of Schools to Mosques
Intelligence Agents Attack Student and Civic Activists’ Houses in Sanandaj
Grave of Neda Soltan desecrated by supporters of Iranian regime
Student Activist Abdollah Momeni Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison
Iran artists in tug of war with government Iran's greatest master of traditional music, Mohammad Reza Shajarian, always… [Continued on pg 3]
Iran’s Economic Climate and the Post-Election Crisis Even before the current political crisis began in June 2009, Iran’s economy was confronted ... [Continued on pg 16]
The fall of the Berlin wall: 20 years later
The Student Movement in this New Era! The Student’s movement has become even more extensive than previous years and ... [Continued on pg 21]
Twenty years ago as the Berlin Wall came tumbling down the bourgeoisie in the west was...
[Continued on pg 24] State, Civil Society, and Social Emancipation
Long before the mass discontent took the phenomenal form of a popular political uprising in recent months, the Iranian ruling powers had sensed the awakening of ... [Continued on pg 27]
20 years of Falling Down 9 November this year marked the 20th anniversary and celebration of a democratic free market … [Coniued on pg 2]
Homophobia and Islamic Fundamentalism in Iran In this article I want to ask: What is the sexual regime… [Continued on pg 7] Iranian-American Author Discusses Islamic Dress Iranian-American Azadeh Moaveni is the author of the best-selling memoirs "Honeymoon in Tehran" and "Lipstick Jihad." She… [Continued on pg 18]
Organisation, strike and assembly are our certain rights The Free Union of Iranian Workers calls for … [Continued on pg 18]
20 years of Falling Down
9 November this year marked the 20th anniversary and celebration of a democratic free market atop the destroyed walls of Berlin. 20 years of people living in two east and west sides and the middle is destroyed. Up to this day, we still see effects of this collapse in our everyday lives. An increase in racism and theocracy are two major aspects of the effect of this collapse. We will discuss other aspects of this collapse elsewhere another time. During the celebration of the “winner” party, I see it necessary to point out few facts. Heads of USA, UK, France, Germany, Russia etc gave their speeches at the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin wall – a “symbol of oppression” and “the communists, who built the wall to keep the eastern citizen from freedom”. It has been at least 20 years of them feeding us with such lies. It has been 20 years of displaying history inverted before the open and surprised eyes of its witnesses. For the few who don’t know the purpose of the Berlin wall, I will add that after Hitler’s army was overthrown, Berlin the capital of Germany was placed in the middle of eastern Germany and other parts of Germany were divided into four parts between the forces of the US, UK, France and Soviet Union, to prevent the possible rise of Nazism.
They even feed the rulers with democracy! Human beings are entitled to both, new world order and the orderly world after the collapse of the east block. It is a
bloody order which is stained with communities’ hunger and East and West not getting along; the US, poverty. Millions UK, and France against the united East of people are unand therefore three US, UK, and French employed overparts of Germany became West Germany night. The stock standing against East Germany. They market celebrates spied and threatened one other, started a the unemployphysiological war against one another, ment and hunger and the Berlin wall was the result of this of humans and same game. they become hundreds of pounds Now that the Berlin wall is gone, the wealthier overnight. In countries such as world operates as one with America as its Canada, Switzerland, Sweden and the leader. Those who led the revolution Netherlands where absolute poverty was against are now wearing Democratic abolished, poverty has now returned Party, liberal, conservative and social de- worse than ever. mocrat clothing and by democratic and parliamentary elections are ruling over The year after the eastern block’s fall, the same revolutionists. They make con- unemployment which was about to be tracts and are members of European Un- abolished in the country of Poland ion, NATO and the common market. reached above 20 percent. However, the 2
democratic people would eat and the democratic leaders were happy with this victory. Some simple-minded people, astonished by Hollywood movies were disappointed since no dollar bills were grown from the democratic tree. Many years back I had heard the story of Victor Andreevich Kravchenko, recently coming across it again in the New York Times. An interesting story for this column’s readers...Kravchenko was one of the high officials of the Soviet Union who gained asylum in the United States during a mission in 1944. He wrote a controversial book about the situation in the Soviet Union and the force labour camps with the title “I choose freedom” which gave him a name and also caused attack by the opposition. After a few years of living in this “free world” a disillusioned Kravchenko wrote another book, this time criticizing capitalism and the false propaganda around it with the title of “I choose justice”. In 1966, while depressed by both these worlds, he committed suicide. You will easily find his first book at any local library, but it isn’t so easy to find his second book. Human
beings entitlement to freedom in Kravchenko’s view is both freedom of speech and social justice. Social justice in eastern and freedom of speech in western democracy are nothing but lies. The 20 year celebration of the Berlin wall’s collapse would make a fair human to think whether this is worthy of human beings? Is this what a human is entitled to from this world and life?
ran's greatest master of traditional music, Mohammad Reza Shajarian, always avoided open clashes with his country's ruling hard-line clerics. So it was a bombshell when Shajarian - so revered that his audiences pelt him with roses - demanded state radio and TV stop broadcasting his music as a protest against the government. The state broadcaster complied. What pushed Shajarian into action was the government's brutal crackdown on protests over the June 12 election that Shajarian and millions of other Iranians believe fraudulently gave a second term to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iran artists in tug of war with government
In Iran, dissent by artists is more than just a while others have been threatened or imprismatter of celebrities mouthing off about oned. Dozens of cartoonists and documenpolitics: It has a powerful resonance among tary filmmakers stayed away from state festhe public. Arts and culture hold a special tivals in Tehran in recent months. place for Iranians. At family parties they Directors and actors from Iran's acclaimed read poetry aloud or bring out a santour, a cinema industry, which has a strong internadulcimer-like instrument, and sing songs of tional following, have also provoked autheir favorite composers. thorities' anger by showing up at internaThe shrines of poets tional film festivals in the opposition's Hafez and Saadi in the green. central city of Shiraz Filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who was briefly are among the most detained during a July demonstration in Tefrequented sites in the hran, wore a green scarf at a Montreal festicountry. When faced val over the summer. In apparent retaliation, "After what happened, I said 'no with a tough decision, authorities barred him from traveling abroad way' and threatened to file a Iranians will somefor another festival in October, along with complaint against them if they times pick a verse of several others planning to attend. continued to use my music," Hafez' poetry at ranWhen filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf won Mohammadreza Shajaryan Shajarian told The Associated dom and try to divine a lifetime achievement award at the NuremPress in a telephone interview. their fate from it. berg International Human Rights Film FestiIran's political turmoil has raised a culture Since its creation in 1979, the Islamic Reval in October, he dedicated it to Mehdi clash as hundreds of musicians, actors, film- public has always kept a tight grip on artists' Karoubi, one of the two defeated opposition makers, poets and writers have spoken out work, but artists say the suppression in the presidential candidates. against the government for its suppression post-election period has been among the But what made news at the Nuremberg festiof dissent and arrest of thousands. In a par- toughest. val was the defection of the daughter of ticular embarrassment to the government, "It's much greater now because of the stand Ahmadinejad's cultural adviser. the filmmaker daughter of Ahmadinejad's most of the artists have taken against them," Narges Kalhor, 25, filed for asylum after the own culture adviser sought asylum in Ger- said Shajarian. "For now, they're screening of her many in October, citing the crackdown at moving very calmly. But in the fushort film, home. ture, I know there will be a confronta"Rake," which is The government has responded by accusing tion between the artists and this govbased on the artists of falling prey to foreign "enemies" ernment." Franz Kafka and by stepping up pressure for their work Since the election, Shajarian and othshort story "In to toe its ideological line. More than 100 art- ers have been making pointed mesthe Penal Colists have had their works banned or have sages with their art. In September, ony," describing been prevented from traveling abroad. Oth- Shajarian sang "Zaban e Atash o a torture chamber ers have been detained. Ahan" (The language of Fire and in which the Narges Kalhor Ahmadinejad's art adviser, Javad Iron), based on a well-known poem in crimes of prisonShamaqdari, last summer threatened to ban which he pleads: "Lay down your gun. ers are tattooed on their bodies. Although artists from film festivals. "The enemy, Come, sit down, talk, hear. Perhaps the light she made the film a year ago, before the upwhich has been thwarted in its plans for a of humanity will get through to your heart rising, Kalhor said it was influenced by huvelvet coup, is trying to keep up the fever of too." man rights violations that routinely occur in their subversive activities at forDuring his last tour of Europe Iran. eign art and cinematic events," he in September, he sang "Certainly, I think an Iranian has to be in a said in Tehran. "Brotherhood in Arms," calling certain condition to want to make such a One TV producer says that since on Iranians to unite. film. I could have instead made a love story, the election, authorities have unof"It's a message that I always which would have been much easier and ficially barred actors who are conhad for the Iranian people: how happier. One must ask why I took on maksidered unacceptable from appearto love each other, how to be ing such a film," said Kalhor in a telephone ing on shows. good and kind to each other, to interview from Germany. "They tell us 'give us a list of artbe united," Shajarian said. "But Angered - and likely embarrassed - by his ists you want to use.' When we now it's taken on a more impor- daughter's defection, Mehdi Kalhor accused give them the list, they say 'this tant meaning." the Iranian opposition of supporting her atand this person are not suitable,'" One of Iran's most prominent tempts to challenge the government. He has said the producer, who spoke on poets, Simin Behbahani, put out not had contact with her for a year and a Jafar Panahi condition of anonymity for fear of her own plea. "Stop the scream- half. retaliation. ing, mayhem and bloodshed," she lamented "This issue is one of the symbols of a media State TV chiefs even seek to prevent anyone in her latest work. "Stop making God's crea- and soft war that opposition has launched," in a program from wearing green - the color tures mourn with tears. Stop recklessly he said, according to the official IRNA news of the opposition movement - and they've throwing my country to the wind." agency. gone so far as to cut scenes of actors wear- More than 100 Iranian poets have boycotted Narges Kalhor said her estranged father's ing green clothes in films made before the government-sponsored literary awards and accusations were laughable. "For 25 years, election, the producer said. contests, saying since the June election I've been wondering who these enemies works of many poets have been censored, are," she said. 3
Four Year Sentence for Hassan Salamat
Latest Reports on Prisoners (November 12th): Violation of Prisoner Rights Continues Concern Grows over health of Zainab Jalalian A female Kurdish political prisoner named Zainab Jalalian is reportedly ill. She was arrested two years ago and tried for having ties to Kurdish groups. Jalalian has been sentenced to death and is currently in solitary confinement at the Intelligence Ministry’s detention facility in Kermanshah.
The Trial of Adnan Hassanpoor Kurdish journalist, Adnan Hassanpoor appeared before the 1st branch of the Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj. Hassanpoor was represented by Saleh Nikbakht and Judge Babai presided over the court. Hassanpoor was arrested on January 25th 2006. He was sentenced to death during a closed trial on June 12th, 2007 on charges of espionage, belligerStudent’s rights group HRA reports that at a ence and acting against national security. His hearing held last week the prosecutor’s rep- death sentence was reduced to a prison term. resentative agreed to the objections made to the indictment by defense lawyer Molavi Abdol-Ghani Shah Arrested Mohammad Oliyai-fard. Nervertheless, Molavi Abdol-Ghani Shah, also know as Judge Pour-Abbas found Salamat guilty of Badri has been arrested after appearing at the the charges of this indictment and sentenced Clerical Court. Abdol-Ghani was Friday him to four years in prison. The charges prayers Imam in Zahedan and a teacher at against Salamat include propagating aganist Hozeh (school of Islamic studies). He was the regime and conspiracy to disrupt national expected to be released on bail but remains in detention. security.
ranch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court has sentenced Hassan Salamat, a sociology PhD student at Tehran University, to four years’ imprisonment. Salamat was among the large group of activists arrested after the presidential election.
Hassan Salamat was under the watch of security forces before the elections for activities during his bachelor degree studies. During the election-related crisis, he was arrested because he was suspected of having contact with two other activists, Zia Nabavi and Majid Dori. Although Hessam Salamat was the top student in the PhD entrance exam for studying sociology at Tehran University, he was banned from pursuing his studies after interference by the Faculty of Sociology chair as well as external security elements. Since than he had been active in a committee formed to advocate the education rights of banned star students. During the 10th presidential electoral campaign when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the existence of any banned star students, this committee made considerable protest by compiling a list of students deprived from continuing their studies and assembling in front of the Ministry of Higher Education. This action led to the arrest of a number of committee members, including Ziaeddin Nabavi, Majid Dori, Shiva Nazarahari and Hassan Salamat. Salamat was detained in Ward 209 of Evin prison for two months and had been released on $200,000 bail. His lawyer, Mohammad Oliaei-Fard has announced that he will definitely be presenting a formal objection to the court's latest verdict. 4
His codefendant, Naser Abdol-Hosseini was previously sentenced to death. Khademi was arrested and accused of having ties to Mojahedin-e-Khalgh Organization. During the show trials, Khademi confessed to having been involved in anti government activities. Evidence that became public later showed that his confessions were all part of a rehearsed scenario, designed by his interrogators, who had promised to release him if he complied. No News on the Fates of Detained Shiraz Students Several Shiraz University students, who were arrested when security forces stormed the campus on November 4th, are still being detained. Saeed Rezai, Ahmad Aref, Khabir Safarpoor, Ayoub Poor-Fathi, Ehsan PoorSoltan and Abolharai and several other students are being held in Adel-Abad prison in Shiraz. A students’ protest at Shiraz University on November 4th, ended in violence when Basiji, plainclothes and intelligence forces who were being helped by the special guards, entered the University campus. Videos which have been published show security forces pummeled violently the students who were part of the protest. Ali Nejati Arrested Ali Nejati, member of the Haft Tapeh workers’ union. Was arrested and taken to Dezful prison. Nejati has been repeatedly arrested and summoned to court over the past few months.
Azar Mansouri Moved to Public Ward Azar Mansouri, the deputy political officer of Mosharekat Party, was moved to a public ward in Evin Prison. Mansouri was arrested on September 20th, 2009 and spent the first 50 days of her detention in solitary confine- Shabnam Madad-Zadeh Suffers from ment. No details are available on the case Chest Pain against her. Shabnam Madad-Zadeh’s Chest Pain Ignored by Evin Officials Saturday, November 14, 2009 Families of Political Prisoners Gather Shabnam Madad-Zadeh, senior member of Again The families of political prisoners held their Tahkim Vahdat organization, suffers from third gathering outside the Judiciary. They chest pain after being held for 268 days in demanded the release of political prisoners Evin. Madad-Zadeh has gone several times to and implementation of the rule of justice: Evin’s clinic asking for medical help but was Release of all Komail Prayer detainees; denied treatment each time. Prison officials Release of all female political prisoners inrefuse to take necessary steps to provide cluding Azar Mansouri, Nafiseh Zarehmedical care to Madad-Zadeh who is reportKohan, Mahboobeh Haghighi, Fariba Pajooh edly in critical condition. and Mahdieh Minavi; Madad-Zadeh has been detained since her Public court hearings (since the accused were arrest in February 2009 and her trial was named in a public indictment); postponed 4 times. That detainees be allowed to choose their defense lawyers and the publication of names of Latest News on Morteza Asadi those officials who prevent this; While Morteza Asadi’s case has been sent to Publication of the names of those officials the security branch 3 of the Revolutionary who are exercising pressure on the families Court, there is still no information on the of post election detainees; whereabouts of the detained student activist. Speeding up of the trial process and facilita- The defense attorney, Oliyaifard, who repretion of the release of detainees by lowering sents Asadi told HRA: “He is being investithe bail amount. gated by the security branch 3 of the Magistrate Court. Neither I nor his family has been told how long the investigations will last”. Reza Khademi Sentenced to Death Reza Khademi who is one of the accused in Asadi was arrested 6 weeks ago. He last the post election trials was sentenced to death called his family 4 days ago and is being held which makes him the fifth person to receive a incommunicado since. death sentence after the presidential election. [More news on next pg]
Guards Threaten to Punish Activists Outside Iran
n a speech, published in progovernment Kayhan newspaper, Massoud Jazaeri said that protesters who questioned the June presidential elections and held another rally on November 4, are acting in a “plot” and “AmericanBritish coup” and that “a large number of individuals involved in the plot have been identified and will be confronted in time.” Jazaeri also stressed that, “despite being patient, the Islamic Republic of Iran could not allow agents of regime change and the soft coup to plot against it, and that if forced, will create “serious challenges for agents of the coup outside the country.” He did not elaborate as to what these “serious challenges” may entail. It should be noted that in the first two decades of its foundation, the Islamic Republic of Iran was accused of numerous assassinations of prominent opposition figures outside Iran. Jazaeri also warned against what he called “negative propaganda” and interference by Western media on the anniversary of the take over of the American embassy in Tehran, and accusing them of “creating a forged atmosphere”, instigating and encouraging “dissident” behaviour by Iranian citizens.
propaganda and destructive activities with double intensity.” The five groups supporting the green movement outside the country named on the website are “secular intellectuals”, “journalists,” “student activists,” “artists” as the four movements since the June 2009 elections. The fifth group are “promonarchists, infidels, veteran counterrevolutionaries, members of the Mojahedin Khalq organization and other counterrevolutionary groups. The IRGC classifies each group. The first comprises “secular intellectuals who are fundamentally against religious rule and the Islamic governance and view the Islamic republic to be a paradoxical phenomenon”, the second group, in its view, is made up of “reformist media journalists who controlled the media during Khatami’s administration.” Student activists who emigrated to the West in the last decade, “pro-monarchists” and other counter-revolutionary groups are also identified.
The report on the website stresses the “support that these groups have provided to the main opposition leaders Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi before and after the contested June 12 presidential elections and claims that the “announced anti-revolutionary stances of these groups have never been repudiated by Moussavi, This threat of “creating a serious challenge Karoubi and Khatami. One may conclude for the supporters of Iran’s green movethat the positions of these groups are the ment outside Iran” takes place after similar positions of the domestic perpetrators of remarks on November 4 by Ismail Ahmadi the green coup, including Mousavi, KarMoghadam, commander of Iran’s law en- roubi and Khatami.” forcement forces, stressing that law enforcement forces would “confront seriously The political office of the IRGC claims that any steps taken to overthrow the regime,” “because the laws of the Islamic republic and warned those outside Iran against igdo not allow these groups [protesting cannoring the laws of the Islamic Republic. didates and the leaders of the Green moveMoghadam had said: “Some political ment] to openly express their views,” the movements are trying to create problems foreign branches of these groups express for the police because of the force’s contheir views under the secure protection profrontation with saboteurs to establish peace vided to them by Western countries. This and order. These individuals, inside and report names Shirin Ebadi, Mohsen Kadioutside the country, are not mindful of the var, Ataollah Mohajerani, Abdol-Karim law and want to hold rallies without legal Soroosh, Mohsen Sazegara and Mohsen permits while the police carries out its legal Makhmalbaf as the key leaders of the duties.” Green movement outside Iran. It also says there are a large number of Iranians who Basirat, a website belonging to the political because of their beliefs and activities have office of the Pasdaran Revolutionary not only supported the protest movement Guards (IRGC) named five movements and after the elections but also engaged in aca number of Iranians outside the country as tivities against the Islamic Republic. Per“leaders of the green coup outside Iran.” sonal weblogs, political websites and InterAccording to this website, parallel to the net social networks are claimed to be the psychological war headquarters of the coup media that is “directed from outside the group inside Iran, a command center for country.” foreign based activists “has begun its 5
Ahmadinejad’s Reprisal Continues The arrest of foreigner nationals picked up unprecedented momentum in Iran after the electoral coup in Iran, parallel with the arrest of Iranian citizens by security agencies. Now Tehran’s general and revolutionary prosecutor has charged the three American’s detained in Iran near the Iraqi border with espionage. Abbas Jaafari Dowlatabadi told state run IRNA news agency: “The charges against the three American detainees is espionage. The investigation is of course still continuing and more information will be provided soon.” Following the arrest of three Americans in August 2009, Allaedin Borujerdi, the head of the Majlis national security committee told an Iranian Arab language television station AlAlam, affiliated to IRIB, that the arrest of these Americans was in response to the arrest of a number of Iranian officials in Iraq by the US. He added “I don’tt believe Americans expect that the case of these three individuals will be resolved soon.” Prior to the statements by the Majlis representative, Iran’s disputed president Ahmadinejad had also told the BBC when he was in New York, that, “The release of three American climbers may be tied to the release of a number of Iranian citizens that have been arrested by the US in Iraq.” These remarks come when the Iranians that had been detained by US forces in Iraq have been released, therefore it was expected that the Americans would also be released. But on 7 October 2009 Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced that Iran had in its possession documents that showed the US to have a hand in the disappearance of an Iranian in Saudi Arabia. Raising such issues has further delayed a decision on the Americans. In this regard, Mottaki said, “These documents show that the US is responsible for the arrest and detention of Shahram Amiri (who is said to be a specialist at the Qom nuclear facility).” [More news on Next pg]
Combat Enemy’s “Psychological Operations”
he Deputy of the Supreme Command of the IRGC forces announced two days ago the creation of two “central” and “supreme” commands to combat what it calls “psychological operations of the enemy.” Massoud Jazaeri who is among the hardline military commanders supporting the coup administration that came to office in June 12 of 2009, did not reveal details on the nature and organization of these two commands but said that they would be operational soon. Jazaeri has in the past been criticized by supporters of the green movement for his remarks on what he called the “green coup” and his advocacy of confronting the “leaders of the conspiracy” (a reference to Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi) made this announcement just a month after the organization under his command held a seminar titled “Seminar on Psychological and Media Operations” in the auditorium of the state-run national radio and television organization. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad participated in the inauguration of this seminar and spoke of the need to “confront the leaders of the soft war).
Jazaeri’s reference to “some media outlets” comes at a time when the reformist news website Jonbeshe Rah Sabz (green movement) reported that the government planned to launch some 100 media outlets to confront the green movement. According to this website among 100 websites and news agencies, five principal media outlets support the coup administration, namely Kayhan newspaper, Javan newspaper, Raja news agency, IRNA news agency, and Fars news agency, providing primary information while other sites engage in developing and distributing the analysis and instructions of these five coup organs. According to this news report, the following agencies are are among those supporting the coup administration, created to fight the “soft war” and “the enemy’s psychological operations”: Fars, Raja, Jahan news agency, IRNA, Vahed Markazi Khabar (Central News Unit), Iranian student news bulletin (created to wrestle with the news bulletin of students from Polytechnic University), Hayat, Ansar News, Borna News (news agency for the youth of Islamic Iran), Tavana (news club for young journalists of Fars news agency), Markaz Asnade Engelab Eslami (News Site of the Center of Islamic Revolution Documents), Deylam News, Tribune, Shii News, Sepah News, Kanoon Andishe, Resane News Center, Plak News, Sajed site, Bulletin News, Jam news, Mowood News Center, Rasad News, Shabake Khabar Daneshjoo (Student Network News), Paygahe Khabari Amaliyat Ravani (Psychological Operations News Center), Paygahe Khabari Nezamabad (Nezamabad News Center), Paygahe Khabari Zalin (Zalin News Center), Dowlat News (Government News), Saye News, Gerdab, Ghalam Press (Pen Press), Ravayat News, Dana News, Khadem News, Kowsar News, Rahe Raja, Mardomyar, Paygahe Khabari Game Sevom (Third Step News Center), Sahar News, Jana News Center etc
The seminar was held on October 11 2009 but did not receive much domestic or international media coverage at the time because of the exceptional political and social conditions in the country. Political experts have said that the presence of key media personalities that support the coup administration, including the head of Fars and IRNA news agencies, demonstrated the collaboration that was taking place during Experts believe that despite the repeated the seminar proceedings. calls by media supporters of the coup administration to confront the “psychological During the seminar, Ahmadinejad spoke of soft war and psychological operations of the need for media readiness to deal with the enemy”, which was followed up with the “soft war” adding that “psychological the launching of a slew of news sites and operations focused exclusively on ears and news agencies and the organization of nueyes”. In his remarks two days ago, merous seminars with the same message Jazaeri said “The cause for the enemy’s and statements, it appears that the immirise in soft operations is the planning for nent launching of the commands that the big coup the foundation for which was Jazaeri has mentioned this week, these oplaid years ago and which emerged during erations which bring much economic and (the last) presidential elections. The media security benefits to their operators, will are viewed as the key tools in the psycho- grow further in volume. logical operations of the enemy against the Islamic Republic of Iran.” 6
We Will Control the Internet Even More”
n the post election turmoil Iranian government agencies made every effort to prevent access to information from the worldwide Web. As if this was not enough, security and military officials have now entered the scene and are formally threatening Internet providers. Ahmadi-Moghadam, Iran’s police chief, told ISNA student news agency at a seminar on drug control yesterday that one of the duties of law enforcement agencies was to strictly control cyber and virtual space. In his interview the police chief mentioned the battle against what he called the “infected” cyber space and Web: “In addition to a shortage of state laws on this subject, many individuals, including those who wish to portray themselves as intellectuals, are against the control of cyber media and the cyber space while this sphere can be the area for many crimes. Because of this, this sphere the control of cyberspace must be pursued more rigorously and it appears that stronger steps are envisioned for this in the fifth development plan.” The chief of police did not explain in his interview what the crimes in this sphere are and confined his remarks to threatening Internet operators, while introducing greater access restrictions to them. This is taking place despite the fact that after the election coup, in addition to working professionals at newspapers, some 10 journalists working for domestic virtual media have been arrested and sent to prison. Information coming from Tehran indicates that security agencies have sent threatening emails and text messages, and asked Internet carriers to refrain from exchanging information that is detrimental to the government. In recent weeks numerous emails have been sent to Internet operators with this message: “Dear operator, you are currently operating illegally and against national interest in cyberspace and should you continue these activities you will be identified as a criminal according to computer criminal laws and will be dealt with accordingly.” In addition, according to news reports, some Internet operators have been threatened through text messaging and warned that they would be legally confronted. One such text message that has been obtained by Rooz Online goes like this: “Dear citizen, according to information we have received, you are the victim of anti state propaganda of media affiliated with foreigners; should you participate in any illegal gathering or be in contact with foreign media, you will be dealt with in accordance with articles 489, 499, 500, 508, 514, 609, 610, and 698, of Islamic Punishment Law."
[More news on pg 10]
Homophobia and Islamic Fundamentalism in Iran niques has brought a difficult situation upon homosexuals sexual which has created a particular basis and must be inn this article I want to ask: What is digenous to a new understanding. Modthe sexual regime in Iran? and ern perspectives provide a way for underWhat is the link between homopho- standing this issue, and more importantly bia and fundamentalists in Iran? If I the understanding the situation inside were to describe this matter in the abIran. This article attempts to better that stract, in my opinion Iranian fundamen- understanding based on pre-knowledge talists’ homophobia is based on the of the situation described above whereby relationship between religion and techthey techniques and values of capitalist nology. The nature of a prevailing sexual ideology, like its reproductive idea suppresses the very idea of homosexuality First let's take a look at Islamic fundamentalism and raise areas and look into the roots of it. You may suspect that homosexual behavior by Iranians would come from their homosexuality tendencies. This would be a rational thought, that homosexual desire is free in Iran rather than modern Western societies. This behavior can be easily seen in a part of the religious class of Iran's religious government. However with these homoerotic behaviors, what place is there for homosexuality in Iran, repression and denial of its very existence? This confusion stands out when the three punishsociety to religious hatred is linked homents are taken into consideration; burn- mosexual tendencies and has created ing at the stake, throwing from a cliff and multiple hatred. destroying a long wall over the accused to homosexuality. Here we will consider two questions: The nature of Islamic fundamentalism in Iran The separation of emotional and sexual as a regime's sexual nature and according actions (sodomy) alone would not be ef- to what the regime in Iran is based, sexuficient in solving this problem. Action by ality and other problem is that what poIslamic fundamentalists in Iran is not just litical solution can be offered to deal with the prosecution and punishment of those this regime? who are active. Islamic fundamentalism uses modern tools and knowledge for Religious fundamentalism and Islamic monitoring and controlling the commu- fundamentalism especially the Shi’ite nity rather than its traditional function kind has evangelic trends regenerating which was only focused on sodomy and religious point of views. But unlike other the pursuit this matter in more subtle religious fundamentalists’ emphasis on ways. A police project entitled sacred experience, the emphasis here is "Combating social corruption" calling the literal interpretation of religious text patrols "Guidance police" - the equiva- and religious command according to relilent of the moral police in fascist socie- gious writings. Running such commands ties are examples of the conflict with Is- will resort to power, so this close relalamic fundamentalism and cultural signs, tionship with fundamentalism calls for gay connection with the sexual interac- close relationship with politics. In order tion as homosexual or to quote to achieve this holy idea, Shiite fundathem “deviated” acts. The unfortunate mentalist have no second though on relink between Islamic fundamentalism as sorting to the unholy. Political Islam is a a sequence of industrial society techmodel of relationship between religion
Sepehr masakeni From Khiaban # 52
7 and modernity in which part of modernity obtained and another part is neglected; meaning the focus on power and technique will be obtained and focused on individual freedom is the set aside and neglected. If we accept modernity the two forces and rationality are hand in hand meaning the flexibility that modern moral values such as freedom and rationality, is related to the disciplinary tool and controlling nature, modern contribution to the Shiite religious fundamentalists would be disciplinary rationality meaning full force can be focused on monitoring the implementation of his holy orders. Therefore must not be surprised if the Taliban uses modern technologies and the Islamic Republic following nuclear technology, nanotechnology and other technologies to control public opinion and the media, and filtering technologies and to provide this type of development competition, but has no regards to the civil rights and freedom, and even ridicules democracy. This contradiction is not in conflict behavior of fundamentalists but is in modernity that leads to this dichotomy in developing countries. But the nature of fundamentalism has no dichotomy. It's nature can have a form of fundamentalism automation called holy orders. Meaning an automatic force that without internal deepening goes after enforcement of the sacred texts and tools. Part of the rules that must be ran by fundamentalist in the field of sentences is about gender. Shiite fundamentalists carefully run all that ends up to sexualization. Gender separation plan in public environments, such as public transportation, recreational and creating a separate tracks and sport environments, separation of academic environment such as college campuses, even, and many other resort to legal idea which is based on privacy of the two sexes and the intensity of it help rule out sexual tensions outside of marriage. Therefore, the mentioned sexualized environment bring s about homoerotic tendencies in men and women. In such environment the lack of space may be marked with the traditional sexual behavior in some traditional matters can be seen as homosexual tendencies. It seems possible that the environment over homosexual contact is seen more than modern societies and might surprise passengers from the west. [Continued on pg 17]
Movie: Che: part one Production year: 2008 Country: USA, France, Spain Runtime: 126 min. Directors: Steven Soderbergh Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Demiàn Bichir, Santiago Cabrera, Elvira Mínguez, Jorge Perugorría
Soderbergh makes revolution a cinematic experience
n November 26th, 1956 the argentine doctor Ernesto Che Guevara sails to Cuba accompanied by a young lawyer, Fidel Castro, and 80 other rebels determined to overthrow Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship. Doctor, strategist and tireless fighter, Che leads a handful of men. After a long exhausting period in the Sierra Maestra, he conquers Santa Clara and finds more men to join him on his way to Havana. The film was in the making for 8 years. No one else could have shot it in a similar style. It has Soderbergh's personal touch even though he was still experimenting with his style, although his new experimentation takes over sometimes. Breaking up the conventions of the temporal continuity, with frequent flash-backs (that can be seen in the returning to the terrace scene in his first meeting with Fidel) and in shifts in settings from tropical forests straight to the UN's headquarters. Through the film Soderbergh also tells us about himself and his cinema, which bounces between exploration and diplomacy, between vivid lively images of the revolutionary adventure and the ones that shows him having dinner and smoking a cigarette afterwards. There are two tracks leading the film: on one hand, there's a leader in development making his way between asthma attacks and enemy gunshots, on the other hand a star is born, under the photographers’ flashes, and interviews. The film is truthful and far from being larger than life. Soderbergh takes a clear position saying that he doesn’t focus on a point or a moral message, the film is not about an icon, but about a journey. Che Guevara was redefined by Benicio Del Toro’s more massive body and he is built through actions, tone of voice and through the fury of gaze. We believe Del Toro. We see Guevara. Cinema is powerful. Soderbergh enters the experimental realm of revolution with the rhythms of tired steps in sleepless nights, with the rhythms of the decisions to be made at the time, with doing wrong for the sake of doing right, to tell us about a man who has made a practice of an idea. 8
“From the Hell to the Beauty”…… remembering Neda and Taraneh
"Their beauty is the triumph of those who are fighting for democracy and civil rights in Iran", so Roberto Saviano concludes his first 20 minutes of the italian special "Che tempo che fa" dedicated to Neda Agha Soltan and Taraneh Moussavi, aired on 11th November on national television. His voice is shaky, it betrays the emotion but also the vigor with which he utters these last words devoted to 'Iran and he decides to do it through the terrible stories of two young women, Neda and Taraneh. Roberto Saviano, a just 30 years old italian writer, knows very well what it means believing in a cause, fighting for it and paying a really high price in name of it: he is become really popular in Italy and well known for speaking up against organized crime with no fear and completely out of the box. He is forced to live under police protection since he has been threatened repeatedly to death for revealing inconvenient facts in his first book “Gomorra”, a best seller translated in different languages. As special guest for this Italian program aired on national network on November 11, Roberto Saviano, the man who has discovered the Camorra challenged to face, just for one evening he came down in the bard’ shoes. He tells about stories that come from other worlds, different but able to merge into a single common denominator: the power of the word. The words are capable of changing the flow of events, words are capable of mobilizing hundreds and thousands of people. The word is therefore complaint, strength and truth. The word is strength and beauty together. This is an inseparable duo which is often forced to live imprisoned in the darkness of a world where human beings carry the chains and are deprived of the freedom. This is Hell. Yet, even in hell, emphasizes Saviano, “you can find traces of an eternal beauty, destined to never disappear”. A beauty that takes on the shape and appearance of two young iranian women, victims of the Iranian regime’ fury and violence : Neda and Taraneh, which in Iranian language means "voice" and "song.". "The finger prints of Ahmadinejad is on the corps of Neda and 9
Taraneh ..." Saviano says and did a hitting hard on the crimes committed by Ahmadinejad and the iranian regime in Iran since post election protests and uprising. Roberto tells about Neda: she is among the crowd of young protesters who took to the streets to peacefully demonstrate against the regime. She will be dead shot by a bullet across her chest. Her death and her last life moments life will be in front of the whole world’ eyes. Iran will never be the same. “Neda wanted only to live. He wanted to know the happiness, "said Saviano, but her death has shone in the darkness of hell in Iran. She became the symbol of the struggle for freedom. "Neda did not die alone on the streets of Tehran": it is the time to tell about Taraneh Moussavi’ story, a story of unspeakable violence and ferocity. Taraneh was arrested, repeatedly and group raped, she was hospitalized for bleeding caused by the brutal violence:"the young woman arrived in hospital with broken anus and completely torn womb," says Saviano . At the end she was killed and burnt in the lower half of the body in order to hide the terrible violence. "Why?" asks Roberto. "Why such this fury, why such this ferocity?"Behind Roberto appears a Taraneh’ photo. She is beautiful and young. She wants to live and to change the situation, just like Neda and thousands of other young iranians. "They wanted to rape not only her body, but above all her beauty. They wanted to raging against what made the regime being more afraid. This is why they’re are raged so fiercely against her" replied Roberto. Neda, Taraneh, all guys who are gone and those ones who keep fighting for freedom, are the seeds for the better world in Iran. "Their beauty is the triumph of those who are fighting for Democracy and civil rights in Iran. " The silence fallen over the telviosion studio for a few seconds, is broken by a strong applause, while Roberto barely keeps the emotion in his moist eyes.
rely in the history of rock 'n' roll does a cover version come along that actually dares to exist at the right reactionary time. By cleverly updating Pink Floyd's 1979 iconic protest anthem "Another Brick In The Wall" exactly thirty years to the month that it was originally released, Blurred Vision are wielding their activist music as an irresistible force irrevocably set in motion to shake up the staid conventions of repressive regimes and show solidarity with common street soldiers everywhere. Thanks to Blurred Vision, the revolution will be downloaded." Jeffrey Morgan, authorized biographer of Alice Cooper, and The Stooges http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzHFWYjFZII
"Hey Teacher leave those kids alone!" A statement clearly heard around the world exactly thirty years ago when Pink Floyd released their iconic record "The Wall". Now, the protagonist has changed face, and world rock group Blurred Vision, lead by Iranian born brothers Sepehr and Soheil, send out a shout for change by reawakening the anthem of "Another Brick In The Wall"! When the Islamic Republic of Iran took power in 1979, a few months before Pink Floyd released "The Wall", Iranian youth quickly learned the promises of prosperity and change duplicitously promised by the revolution, would lead to the most brutal depths of oppression and injustice. "Another Brick In The Wall" became an anthem of protest around the world, especially in the homes of Iranians, secretly playing the new release in basements and in secrecy for fear of imprisonment and torture. Listening to music in Iran, amongst many other human rights, had become an illegal activity, punishable by brutal means of torture and imprisonment and even death. 30 years later and not much has changed, well not on the regime's side, but the youth who establish 70% of the entire country's population have something incredibly powerful to say about that-the call for Freedom! Thousands of youth continue to protest daily in peaceful demonstrations and students rallies following the uprising after the elections - in spite of torture and death sentences including another hanging taking place tomorrow punishing those who stand against this regime. With great respect to their musical heroes Pink Floyd, Blurred Vision have re-recorded one of the most unifying anthems in Rock history to send a message to their brothers and sisters in Iran. "We are with you, We stand in Solidarity, In Peace, In Hope, In Unity!
Iran’s Head of Broadcasting Reinstated for Five More Years
Iran set to execute another political prisoner
it would soon be publicized. A four week delay before public notice led some to speculate about the head of IRIB’s restatement.
hirko Moarefi, a Kurdish political “dissident” may be the next political prisoner to be executed, according to several reports. Khalil Bahramian, court attorney has said that Shirko Moarefi is now in solitary confinement. He has been sentenced to death for “activities against national security and armed combat”. Shirko Moarefi’s lawyer has not received a court order regarding his execution; however, the appeals court has approved his death sentence. 30year old Moarefi was arrested last year charged with membership of the Komalah Party, a dissident political party. However, his lawyer claims that Shirko Moarefi is not a member of the said party and is in effect just a supporter. Bahramian explained that witness reports signed by villagers state that when the Revolutionary Guards came to arrest the accused, he surrendered his weapon. Therefore the charge of armed combat does not apply in his case. Bahramian maintains that an “extremist” movement in the Kurdistan region is acting “vengefully” through these executions in effort to destroy the peace in the area. Mr. Bahramian urged the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei to stop these “extremisms”. He also called on Ayatollah Larijani, Head of the Judiciary not to act "shamefully" regarding these sentences and stop these “irregular executions”. On Wednesday Ehsan Fattahian was executed for the charge of “activities against national security and armed combat” through collaboration with the Komalah Party – the same charge that has been made against Shirko Moarefi. 12 other Kurdish political prisoners are currently on death row in Iran.
Following the delay, Jam-e Jam daily, IRIB’s mouthpiece, published a report on 14 October entitled “The head of IRIB’s Meeting with the Supreme Leader,” quoting the website Alef: “Zarghami’s reinstatement is finalized. Folhe Islamic Republic’s Supreme lowing yesterday’s meeting of seyyed EzatolLeader has reinstated Ezzatollah lah Zarghami with the revolutionary leader, Zarghami as head of Iran’s state ra- and the leader’s remarks regarding the dio and television broadcasting strengths and weaknesses of IRIB under ZarIRIB for another five years. In his meeting ghami’s management, his reinstatement for with Zarghami three weeks ago, Ayatollah another five year term was finalized. Khamenei had criticized his performance and Jam-e Jam added, “Zarghami agreed with the last week he again openly criticized the state Supreme Leader’s evaluation of the IRIB’s radio and television broadcasting for their performance as precise and noted the imple“inadequate” propaganda in support of mentation of his proposals to be in the best Ahmadinejad’s administration. interests of the organization.”
The Supreme Leader’s directive reads: “The current strengths of radio-television, along with its weaknesses must continuously be scrutinized by yourself and other managers of the organization, never weakening in your resolve to improve performance and remove obstacles.” The Supreme Leader’s reinstatement order of Zarghami ends with this sentence: “It is expected for signs of change to be visible during your first year in charge.”
Despite all the groundwork, Zarghami’s reinThis order is issued one month after Jam-e statement was still not published until a furJam daily quoted an “informed source” who ther three weeks when Ayatollah Khamenei had claimed in an interview with the conser- officially reinstated him. Although the nature vative Jahan website that Zarghami will be of Supreme Leader’s “criticisms” are not yet reinstated in his post. Noting “some issues revealed, some analysts speculate that the related to recent controversies and their impli- Khamnei expects the IRIB to be more in line cations,” the source claimed that Zarghami’s with the Ahmadinejad administration. reinstatement was certain and announced that
Danish Reporter “Not a Journalist”
Three days later, on 17 October Jam-e Jam published a front-page editorial under the title, “Zarghami’s account of meeting with Supreme Leader” quoting Zarghami as saying: “This meeting was…warm, intimate and full of father-and-son type love and affection, and afforded an opportunity to reveal the hidden nature of some weaknesses to pave the way for the continuation of our path.”
ehran’s prosecutor, Abbas Jafari this week confirmed the arrest of a Danish journalist at the 4 November demonstrations and added, “This person has introduced himself as a journalist while documents in his dossier do not support this. Jafari explained that he did not have the authority required from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and that the investigation continues.
French association AFP in Tehran. After the publication of a report by Tehran’s prosecutor regarding the release of this journalist, by the name of Farhad Pooladi, an Iranian journalist working for AFP, and despite the announcement that three foreign nationals had been released, only one has and others they remain behind bars. Iranian officials have not announced the reason for their arrest.
Speaking to the government’s official media, Jafari said that the lawyer for French citizen Clothilde Reiss had requested a postponement of the court session because of a death in her sources to identify him and we have informed family, and the court had granted this request. Regarding the fact that the Danish association the Danish officials at the embassy here that Jafari did not provide any further details on of journalists recognizes this person as jourthey may visit the prisoner. Other foreign na- the case. nalist, Jafari said “They have made this asser- tionals arrested on 4 November include two [More news on next pg] tion but we must follow the state’s official Germans, one Canadian and a reporter for the
Gradual Conversion of Schools to Mosques
Intelligence Agents Attack Student and Civic Activists’ Houses in Sanandaj
he people’s demonstration following Ehsan Fattahian’s execution began at 5pm on Azadi Square at the foot of Ferdowsi Avenue in Sanandaj on Friday, eventually leading to conflict with the police. Many were wounded and several people were arrested and there is no information available on their cirsumstances. Later that evening Intelligence Ministry forces attacked student and civic 000 “political teachers” are soon to be instated activists’ houses arresting Kurdish stuin Iran’s schools to deal with what Islamic Redent Amer Gouli and taking him to an public officials call "foreign cultural invasion". unknown location. Amer Gouli is the Zahra Panahi Rava, Artistic and Cultural Deputy son of Fatemeh Goftari, a member of of the Office of Expansion of the Quran and Prayer De- Mothers for Peace and Azarmehr Women’s Association in Kurdistan, velopment of the Ministry of Education, in discussing who has been arrested several times by this matter explained that the main duty of the teachers Intelligence Ministry agents and is curis to inform students about "the enemy's intrigues for rently serving a prison sentence given destroying the Islamic Revolution”. by the Revolutionary Court. Amer's brother Yaser Gouli, a star student, According to Panahi Rava, 2000 individuals have to was last year sentenced to 15 years of date been assigned. Similar announcements were made prison in exile for propaganda against on the establishment of the 6000 Basij units in primary the regime and acting against national schools and the permanent presence of clergymen in security at the Sanandaj Revolutionary schools. Court. He is currently in prison in Baft, in the province of Kerman.
Protest against execution of Kurdish political activist
ens of people in Sanadaj joined a street demonstration to protest the hanging of Ehsan Fattahian, the young Iranian political activist. According to reports the march was suppressed by security forces and the crowd was dispersed.
own beliefs.” According to this letter (see The Bridge no.5), Ehsan Fattahian was told that if he refused to do the interview, he would be hanged.
Numerous activists as well as the Fattahian family had called on the judiciary to stop his execution, maintaining that a glance at the Ehsan Fatahian was hanged on Wednesday file would have changed the fate of their son morning and according to Kurdistan Human by revealing the unjust circumstances of his Rights Watch, his remains were buried in his conviction, but the judiciary remained silent birthplace of Kermanshah without his famon the issue. Amnesty International conily’s knowledge. He was reportedly buried in demned the execution of Ehsan Fattahian. the “farthest corner” of the cemetery in an The human rights group had urged Iranian unidentified plot. judiciary to stop the execution of Fattahian and two other individuals in the Kurdistan While Ehsan Fattahian was primarily conregion of Iran. victed of “activities against national security” for his collaboration with a Kurdish Party and Since the start of the post-election protests in sentenced to ten years imprisonment in exile, June, 150 people have been executed in Iran. in an appeals court he was also accused of Ehsan Fattahian is the first person to be exe"moharebeh" (armed combat) and thus given cuted in the post-election events for political a sentence of execution. crimes. 12 other Kurdish political prisoners are currently on death row. Amnesty InternaIn a letter written by Fattahian prior to his tional reports that 346 people were executed execution, he writes that before increasing his in Iran last year placing Iran in the second sentence from ten years’ imprisonment, secu- place for the highest number of state execurity officials had put him under pressure to do tions in the world. a video interview to “confess to deeds which he had not committed” and “renounce his 11
Detainee Families form Committee and Make their Demands
imely trials and release, access to legal representation as well as open and official trials" are among demands from the judiciary. In the past five months over 4000 people have been arrested in the course of protests against fraud in the presidential elections. Among them are prominent political, student and human rights activists as well as many journalists and bloggers. The families of the detainees also demand identification of those who have been pressuring families of detainees. Reportedly, families of detainees have been pressured by security forces to refrain from talking to the media or giving interviews regarding their imprisoned kin. Norooz website reports that after a two hour-long peaceful demonstration in front of the judiciary, families of a number of detained reformist leaders, political activists and journalists finally succeeded in speaking with officials face to face. In the course of the talks, the office of Iran's prosecutorgeneral has announced that on Monday 16 November, families will be given a chance to discuss their concerns in a meeting with the ProsecutorGeneral in person. The families had announced earlier that if the judiciary ignores their demands, they would go on hunger strike and take their demands to international legal bodies. The families have formed a committee to follow up on the cases of their loved ones and maintain that their efforts will not cease until all post-election protesters are released. [More news on pg 13]
ournalists are continuing to be arrested five months after the start of the demonstrations against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection. Three more have been arrested in the past couple of weeks while those who defend the 34 detained journalists and blog- was being held. Nazari, who lives on his of the human rights lawyers have at the very gers are being subjected to increased intimi- own in Tehran, had been missing for several least been summoned and interrogated.” dation. days when he phoned. The Iranian police have meanwhile just an“We fear that that, by dint of brutality, inNazari’s case is not isolated. Around 10 nounced that they are stepping up Internet timidation and censorship, the authorities people who took part in the 4 November control by creating a special 12-member unit will end up ridding Iran of all of its indedemonstrations have still not returned home under the prosecutor-general’s supervision pendent journalists and bloggers, who have despite the Tehran prosecutor general’s in- to “act against fraud attempts, commercial to choose between saying nothing, speaking sistence that the authorities have freed all advertising and false information” and to out (and being jailed), or fleeing the counthose who had been detained. Arbitrary ar- hunt down “insults and lies.” try,” Reporters Without Borders said. rest in Iran nowadays resembles forced disappearance more and more. In practice, the unit will be Ako Kordnasab given the task of checking Reporters Without Borders has the content of opposition meanwhile learned that Rahim websites. Reporters Without Gholami, a journalist who writes Borders fears the consefor several local newspapers in quences that this special unit the northwestern city of Ardabil, could have for online free was arrested on 29 October. In expression. March 2006, a revolutionary court in Ardabil sentenced him to A cyber-crime law that was a year in prison on a charge of adopted in August gives the “anti-government publicity.” police a free hand to crack Mazdak Alinazari The latest to be arrested is Ako Kurdnasab down on the Internet, which of Karfto (a weekly closed by the authorities Lawyers who defend detained journalists are has continued to be a major information and last year), who was detained on 12 Novem- being constantly harassed by the intelligence communication tool for government oppober after taking part in a demonstration services. This has been the case with Nasrin nents since the disputed 12 June election, against a young political prisoner’s execuSoutodeh, a member of Nobel peace laure- despite draconian controls, the blocking of tion in Sanandaj, the capital of the Iranian ate Shirin Ebadi’s Tehran-based Human thousands of news websites and many arprovince of Kurdistan. It is not known Rights Defenders Centre. rests. where he is being held and his family has received no word of him since his arrest. Soutodeh, who is representing several imBut the Revolutionary Guards, a militia that prisoned journalists and has criticised many gets its orders directly from the Supreme Kurdnasab was sentenced to six months in procedural irregularities, was recently ques- Leader, is now directly involved in online prison in 2007 on a charge of “trying to tioned by intelligence ministry officials. censorship. On 17 June, it ordered all weboverthrow the government by means of jour- Ebadi herself is currently out of the country site editors to remove “any content which nalistic activities.” See the press releases we for a series of meeting with international or- encourages the population to riot or which issued about him on 14 November 2007 and ganisations, but her family in Iran is being spreads threats or rumours.” 4 January 2008. harassed. Iran was ranked 172nd out of 175 countries Mazadk Ali Nazari, the editor of the Soutodeh told Reporters Without Borders: “I in the 2009 Reporters Without Borders press “Journalism for Peace” website, managed to was summoned by a court, but when I got freedom index. telephone his family from a place of deten- there, the judge told me that I was to be in- Source: Reporter without borders tion on 14 November to tell them he had terrogated by intelligence ministry officials, been arrested. However, he was not able to which is illegal. We are being subjected to give the date of his arrest or say where he an unprecedented degree of harassment. All
Three more journalists arrested, relatives and lawyers subject to intimidation
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Head of Iran National Broadcasting Targets Opposition Leaders
zzatollah Zarghami, Head of Iran's national television and radio broadcasting, Seda va Sima, charged Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the disputing candidates of the June presidential elections of trying to secure a television spot to incite people to join street protests against the outcome of the elections. Zarghami maintained that such a message would have been contrary to Seda va Sima's objective which is to "establish a stable social atmosphere and help society out of its instability." Seda va Sima has been functioning as a powerful tool for the Islamic Republic especially in the past five months, by portraying election protesters as "a bunch of rioters". It has made every effort in its programming to paint Moussavi and Karroubi along with their supporters as a group of foreign-backed conspirators. Zarghami claims that the "riots" which Mir Hossein Moussavi “lost control of”, caused the death of some people and if the television network had announced these deaths at the time, it would have caused "instability". The opposition has accused Seda va Sima of biased coverage of the post-election events and repeated slandering of reformists.
Iran judiciary delays release of Zeidabadi Mehdieh Mohammadi, wife of detained political activist, Ahmad Zeidabadi, reports that despite providing the required bail, her husband's release has once more been delayed.
Iran Protests Oxford’s Neda Agha-Soltan Bursary The Iranian Embassy in Britain criticized Oxford University’s establishment of a scholarship in the name of Neda AghaSoltan, the young woman who was shot to death in the post-election events in Iran.
AFP reports that a letter from the Iranian Embassy states that Oxford University’s actions are “politically motivated”. “They maintain that giving a scholarship in the name of “a murdered Iranian woman” who was killed in “a complicated pre-planned Neda Agha-Soltan who became a symbol scenario” is established to attract Iranian of the Iranian people’s protests against the students. It seems University of Oxford alleged injustice in has involved itself in the elections and a criminal file the their general dedimensions of which mand for reform in remain under investitheir country, was gation by the secushot on the streets rity forces of the Isof Tehran during lamic Republic. The the government’s involvement of Oxcrackdown on ford University in mass demonstraIran’s internal aftions. The last mofairs, especially in ments of the young the post-election philosophy student events that British that were captured media had a major on a cell phone camera and posted on You- role in, has tarnished the academic reputaTube, were viewed by people all across the tion and educational objectives of the Uniworld. versity.” Oxford University's Queen’s College announced that “two generous” gifts have allowed it to establish the Neda AghaSoltan graduate scholarship in the philosophy department. The scholarship is open to all, but Iranians candidates will be given priority.
Iran's Haft Tappeh Union Members Imprisoned
Ms. Mohammadi told :The judiciary officials have refused to accept the set bail. nternational Campaign for Human Ahmad Zeidabadi, Executive director of Rights in Iran reports the imprisonDanesh Amoukhtegan (alumni of university ment of four members of the Syndistudent group Advar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat) cate of Workers of Haft Tappeh was arrested in the post-election turmoil and Sugar Cane Company . has been in prison for more than four months.
Fereydoon Nikofard, Jalil Ahmadi, Gorban Mehdieh Mohammadi reports that in his trial Alipour and Mohammad Heidarimehr have on Sunday, Zeidabadi was accused of been transferred to Dezfool prison to serve “propaganda against the regime and collabo- their sentence, according to International Camration in creating unrest by inviting Abdollah paign for Human Rights reports.
Nouri to become a presidential candidate”. She adds that Zeidabadi denied being guilty of these charges. The court subsequently set a 2-billion Rial bail for his release. Despite the ruling of the prosecutor’s office, the investigator of the file later refused to accept the said bail and hence Ahmad Zeidabadi remains behind bars. Mohammadi declared that the continued imprisonment of her husband is a sign of “blatant lawlessness” in the Islamic Republic.
Spokesman for the Campaign, Hadi Ghaemi declared that the arrest of these union members confirms that Iran as a member of the International Labour Organization is in violation of the Organization's rules and does not provide workers with their labour rights.
bour Organization to pressure the Islamic Republic into living up to its committments as an ILO member by recognizing their right to form an independent union and stopping the persecution of their members and leaders. Hadi Ghaemi maintains that prosecution of union members for the mere charge of establishing a union could result in “an increase in dissatisfaction, social unrest and the isolation of Iran from the international community”. The Islamic Republic has a history of persecuting labour union members. Mansour Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi of Tehran’s Transit Union and Hashem Khawstar, Rasoul Bedaghi and Jafar Ebrahimi from the Teacher’s Union are amongst people who have been arrested and imprisoned by Iranian authorities for labour activism.
The Haft Tappeh Workers Union was established in 2008 with 5000 members and became affiliated with the international worker's union, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran urges Islamic Republic officials to drop IUF. the charges against labour union members and release them. In a letter in October, the members of Haft Tappeh Union called on the International La-
The Iranian establishment has tried to deny responsibility for the death of Neda AghaSoltan that moved people all across the world. Her death has been called “suspicious” by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and hardliner Ahmad Khatami has claimed that protesters were the perpetrators of her death.
[More news on next pg]
Kahrizak Continues to Take Victims As Prison Physician Commits Suicide
r Ramin Pourarzjani, who spent his military service as a physician at Kahrizak prison, committed suicide following events after the Kahrizak scandals were recently revealed. While accusations of brutal beatings of prisoners by the police force remain unquestioned and Judge Mortazavi is delaying reports of the parliament’s investigation committee by pressurizing MPs, Ramin Pourarzjani, a 26 year old physician, was charged with medical negligence regarding those who died at Kahrizak and threatened with annulment of his medical license and a five year jail sentence.
cious point in the case of the accused in the events at Kahrizak, the suicide of a person who has witnessed firsthand the atrocities inflicted on the detainees and is able to identify the culprits to the public at any moment, is all the more suspect.
A serious question remains: While people like Behzad Nabavi are charged with acting against national security by disrupting traffic in Tehran in participating in demonstrations and are locked in solitary confinement and multiple indictments are read against them in the court, how is it possible that those directly responsible for the martyrdom of Iranian youth to have so much power that not only do they Following the disclosure of the preclude the reading of the factatrocities that happened at Kahrizak finding committee’s report in the detention center (known as the Ira- parliament, but discharge themnian Guantanamo Bay), a case was selves of any allegations and by inbrought up in the judges’ military fluence hinder the publication of recourt against the former Tehran ports pertinent to this case? prosecutor general and deputy chief of police–who was directly respon- The public will not forget that the sible for the incidents at this deten- political detainees of recent events tion center—and the judiciary offi- were mostly incarcerated one or two cials vowed to process this case as days after the election, and up until soon as possible. But similar to most the election day, all their activities other law suits against the judiciary were legal, even according to the and police officials in recent years, then incumbent administration. the accused were not questioned or Then, within two days, a multipage tried. Instead other charges were indictment is read for these indipresented against newly accused viduals, and state-run radio and telepeople, believed to have been fabri- vision does not hold back from hailcated to mislead the case. New vic- ing any charges at them at all. Yet, tims were found and the doctor on those responsible for killing our duty at Kahrizak was one of them. youth are capable of distract from a case to such an extent that in the Before this, during the events at Te- end, the court claims that there is hran University’s dormitories and not enough evidence for convicting the events that put the country into the accused. crisis for a week, only one police officer was impeached for the theft This is a process that has recurred of a razor blade. All other officials time and again in our country’s judiwhose alleged involvement was ciary system, and it seems that there mentioned in the security council’s is no determination whatsoever to report, were acquitted. change this unjust, illegal and illegitimate activity. The same goes in the cases of those accused of serial killings. But Norouz website reports that Mohammad Khatami’s insistence on Pourarzjani was an outstanding stu“detaching this infected tumor of the dent admitted to university with a [intelligence] ministry” ultimately two digit rank in the national enled to the detention of Saeed trance exam. He is the first victim of Emami; needless to say, that he, too, the closed courts who was interrodue to the so-called suicide with gated and accused of the incidents cleansing drug, was prevented from that took place in the detention centhoroughly revealing his accomter. plices. Source: Persian2English blog Meanwhile, although the suicide of a doctor and serviceman is a suspi14
Municipality Workers of Khoramshahr On Strike
unicipality workers in Khoramshahr went on strike in objection to the city’s state of poor health. Ayandeh news site reported that the strike related to the non-collection of garbage in the city of Khorramshahr. Based on Herana news agency reports quoting from Mardomak , the garbage issue and the disastrous health consequences of this crisis have occured in Khorramshahr though Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared himself the city’s governor. During his tour of the provinces Ahmadinejad at a gathering of protestors in Khoramshahr on 24 May declared: “I am among you and have personally decided to be at your service as a governor and therefore will be able to follow up on this matter as soon as possible." The citizens of Khoramshahr face health problems while propaganda for the prevention of increasing microbes and the development of warnings and health measures for diseases and illnesses in the country have intensified especially with regard to influenza type A(N1H1) Last year on 11 December staff and workers of Khoramshahr went on strike for non payment of salaries overdue by more than four months. This year drivers of the city’s transportation system went on strike on 27 October in protest of four months’ of overdue salaries. Around 350 workers of the ship-building company Bahrakan have also voiced their demands, gathering in front of the governor’s office following the closure of the company’s industrial units, demanding that something be done about their unemployment. In Khoramshahr people live in a city where they must buy drinking water in barrels, tolerate open sewers and the threat of disease carrying dogs. Ahmadinejad’s visit in May was greeted with a cold welcome from people. They carried "Only Lies" placards, while he announced that a project for transferring clean water from the Karkhe basin to Khoramshahr is making good progress.
[More nes on next pg]
More Executions as Government Tool for Silencing Opposition
nder the title "Iran Executes Kurdish Activist Who Was Accused of ‘Armed Struggle’” the New York Times explained how Ehsan Fattahian was executed on Wednesday in Sanandaj prison, quoting his lawyer Nasrollah Nasseri and commenting that the execution appears to be part of government efforts to “extinguish” the opposition’s protest to the results of the presidential election. This article published on 11 November, reported that ethnic groups have also intensified their protests since the beginning of protests and that at least four senior officials – the Friday Imam of the city of Sanandaj, Sanandaj’s representative in the Assembly of Experts, a judge and a member of the city association, had been assassinated. In a letter before his execution, Ehsan Fattahian wrote that opposition in Kurdistan province would not end with his death, and that his death and thousands others like him, does not solve the Kurdish problem, but intensifies the flames of fire. The New York Times wrote that many Iranians and human rights groups are concerned that the government would put into action more executions to silence the opposition that despite the government's harshness remains active.
Student Activist Abdollah Momeni Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison Iranian student activist, Abdollah Momeni has been sentenced to 8 years in prison by Iranian judiciary. Fatemeh Adinehvand, the accused's wife told Zamaneh that Mr. Momeni has been sentenced to six years in prison for "participating in post-election gatherings" on top of a two year sentence which he received for earlier charge of "activities against national security." Ms. Adinehvand told Zamaneh that his husband did not take part in any gatherings. She also maintains that his trial was behind closed doors without any defence attorneys present. Ms. Adinehvand is given an appointment to meet her husband next Wednesday. Adollah Momeni was also presented in the mass trial of election protesters in summer giving self-incriminatory testimony against his past political activities.
Jannati: “The problem has gone beyond the elections and is now the Islamic Regime
ehran’s Friday [prayers] Imam on Friday thanked people for participating in 4 November (Student Day) demonstrations in greater numbers than ever:: "If the regime and revolution are to remain, the fight with the enemy is always there and flag of this fight with the US should always be flown.” Jannati added: “The problem has Ayatollah Jannati said: "We cannot gone beyond the elections and is now simply stop and show America the the regime and it does not have the green light. America is the enemy of power to get along with its own enthe regime and that’s exactly what emy. Americans, enemies of the reshe wants. I am amazed that some gime, the foolish elements and planpeople do not understand the facts or ners of this intrigue, just as you inpretend that they don’t. When US crease the intrigue, the ranks of peoCongress allocates $ 55 million to ple will increase and that’s the reason undermining the Islamic Republic, that people participated in Student what does that mean? The Islamic Day on 4 November in greater numRepublic system symbolizes people bers than ever. According to the and a spiritual system and allocating Quran the existence of the enemy this budget means war with God and brings stability, strength and unity. In people. Some people think they can history all God's messengers had eneseparate people from the foundations mies and their friends were there for of the Islamic Republic’s position. them and faced the enemies. This is a They are mistaken and those who un- spiritual tradition that exists now.” dertake this should be punished to understand what they are doing.”
Funeral Ceremony for Ehsan Fattahian Banned
uman Rights Watch’s reported news from Kurdistan: Ehsan Fattahian’s funeral was cancelled following pressure from security agents of Kermanshah. A day after the execution of political activist Ehsan Fattahian at Sanandaj Central Prison and the secret burial of his body in Kermanshah Cemetery, his family announced that Ehsan's funeral would be on Friday afternoon at Baqiyatallah mosque of the “employee town of Kermanshah” but security forces made his family cancel the ceremony.
Groups of Kermanshahi citizens who arrived at the mosque to participate in the ceremony faced closed doors and police threats and were forced to leave. But some student and civic activists of Kermanshah as well as the families of Kianoush Asa (Kurdish student who lost his life in post election events) and Farzad Kamangar (Kurdish political prisoner who has been sentenced to death) visited the home of one of the Ehsan's relatives and gave his family flowers and a photo of Ehsan with a Kurdish phrase in the middle of it. Photos of Kianoush and Farzad were carried by their mothers in sympathy with Ehsan's family. The News of the cancellation of the cere- presence of plainclothes agents mony came just one hour before it around the house was evident and was due to start, not allowing time for they even asked Ehsan's family to reEhsan’s family to re-locate the cere- move a card in the bunch of flowers mony and inform people. Security that addressed Ehsan as a "martyr". forces even prevented any notice from being posted at the mosque entrance.
Iran’s Economic Climate and the Post-Election Crisis
ven before the current political crisis began in June 2009, Iran’s economy was confronted with many daunting challenges. Investors were already feeling the pressures of inconsistent economic policies and intensifying international sanctions on their shoulders. The street protests and political unrest that have follwd the disputed election have led to further deterioration in the economic climate. Now the economic players must deal with a new level of political uncertainty unprecedented since the early years of the Islamic revolution.
likelihood of such a scenario is small, it is a cause for concern among businessmen and investors and can discourage long-term investments. Post-election protests have also increased the involvement of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRG), in economic activities and economic policy-making. President Ahmadinejad has appointed a large number of former IRG members to key
The election dispute has evolved into a deep division in the highest ranks of the Islamic regime. So far the ruling faction of Ayatollah Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard has been unable to neutralize the protest movement led by former candidates Mir Hossein Moussavi, and Mehdi Karroubi. These two opposition leaders also enjoy the support of former President Khatami and several high ranking Shi'ite clerics such as Ayatollah Montazeri. At the same time it appears that the protest movement is also unable to defeat the ruling faction or force it into a compromise anytime soon. Nearly five months have past since the initial street demonstrations and yet the total number of people who join the periodic street protests in Tehran does not exceed two or three hundred thousand.
positions in government ministries and government-owned enterprises. He has also sold a number of strategic privatized firms to the IRG or its affiliated enterprises. The latest example of such transfer was the sale of a government-owned telecommunications firm to a group of IRG-affiliated firms in September. As a result of these steps the government has reinforced its control over the economy and IRG has emerged as a major economic player in Iranian economy. Firms affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards Corp now enjoy an advantage over private firms in government contract awards and access to government resources.
Hence private investors and business owners are gradually arriving at the conclusion that unlike the 1979 Islamic revolution which reached a climax in a relatively short period of time, (period of intense street protests lasted no more than 9 months), the current power struggle can drag on for a significantly longer interval. There is also much uncertainty about how it might end and which faction will win. The worst possible outcome for Iran's economy is the escalation of current protests into large scale political violence or a civil war similar to the Algerian experience in 1990s. Although the
In addition to expanding the economic reach of the IRG, the ruling faction is also trying to increase its ability to distribute economic resources by enhancing its discretionary control over the proposed income support program. During recent parliamentary debates about replacement of current price subsidies with direct income subsidies, President Ahmadinejad has campaigned hard to make sure that the Presidents office will have discretionary control over the additional incomes of public enterprises after the removal of price subsidies on goods and services that they sell to the public.
Critics are concerned that the President will use this privilege to distribute the cash and income subsidies in a fashion to enhance his political base and deny benefits to households that might be sympathetic to the post-election protest movement. The post-election protests have also had an impact on Western nations' approach to the nuclear dispute and might have an indirect effect on the course of economic sanctions against Iran. Initially the prospects for political reform and victory of the Green Movement led to a more flexible attitude toward nuclear negotiations in first few weeks of the protests. However, as it became clear that the protest movement did not have enough strength to bring about substantial political change in the short-run, the United States and European powers tried to speed up the negotiations and intensified the threat of sanctions. Continuation of the protests
in the coming months and the Islamic regime's violent reactions can lead to further isolation of Iran and give Western nations an excuse to further intensify the economic sanctions. Yet at the same time, the domestic rift might weaken the bargaining power of Iranian government and force it to accept a compromise over its nuclear program in order to avoid further hostility from the international community. Hence the net impact of the protest movement on intensity of economic sanctions in the future is not clear. It could either force the Iranian government to compromise, which will help ease the sanctions, or can be used as an excuse by the Western nations to intensify the sanctions if the Iranian government does not compromise. For now the added uncertainty about economic sanctions will be viewed as an additional risk factor for Iranian economy. This risk factor will be of more concern to international investors than domestic ones.
From pg 7(Homophobia and Islamic Fundamentalism in Iran )…
But such tendencies can be seen more often in more growing traditional atmosphere of before the revolution. Such ignorance of environmental aspects, will loos it's color after the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in order to monitor social conduct. Homophobia is the traditional Islamic fundamentalism and is also the ultimate goal of growth automation fundamentalists. To obtain a tool for monitoring social rationality is now time for round two which is homophobia awareness. That is seen in it's first goal of the following divine orders. Homosexual desire for sexual theology is one of the highest ranked crimes after manslaughter, and the only crime that is worthy of burning in fire is sodomy. On the other hand this fundamentalism with it's modern equipments goes after minimal signs of homosexuality. Part of a project called "social security" which police official formally followe any signs homosexuality. A transsexual friend was forced to change his appearance after several arrests and harassments to rescue himself from moral police's tracking and prosecution. My homosexual friend was arrested for having long hair. He was undressed at the time of interrogation, to identify the signs of homosexuality on his body. His shaved body was identified as a problem and brought up more investigation upon him that a so-called male-oriented being can not have such physical appearances. Another homosexual was tortured in the most deceitful way, he has and hair was urinated o before he was freed from prison. Sexual characteristics is of the fundamentalist Muslim regime of sexual role differentiation and is identified based on physical appearances. Often thought to leading technology in the field of sex-exchange iran would be pro as for their rights. Closer analysis of the sexual behavior of the Islamic Republic regime is clear is that the issue is not their rights, but the damage that transsexualism brings upon a person's ideology. In the film, “be like the rest” the director describes this situation so that this sex-change is a way of maintaining the boundary of sexual identity, reestablished the male and female androgyny. Otherwise, all the foundations of Islamic jurisprudence that defines rights and gender assignments will fall apart and from this respect homosexuality tear apart their standards and beliefs. 17
A gay woman or man is pleased with hers/his sexuality and des not see the solution in sex-change, nor do they see any scientific or medical problems with their behavior, they only desire their same sexes body and company which itself disrupts the Islamic jurisprudence. For example, about a woman or a man is clear is that much blood money, inheritance is how much, What are the prayer, job rights and other issues. In fact, most sentences read jurisprudence must first ask if the subject is a woman or man. This is the default question. If it is a medical based gender deficiency and to find based on Islamic jurisprudence and what is the topic of constraint and is not subject to involuntary circumstances what is their right? In homosexual's case it seems like the jurisprudence seems to undergo crisis if the gender cannot be identified. But medical came to rescue Shiite jurisprudence and introduces technology to the Shiite fundamentalists which defines the gender can be changed with an operation. So this could be a misunderstanding the rational regime of Iran to the Shiite fundamentalists has been transformed to a paradise for homosexuals. But this has caused by conflict with the jurisprudence has faces and political Islam has tried to solve with the use of modern technology. In this example the need for supervision and discipline can also be seen in the sexual regime of fundamentalists against their traditional self is not only sodomy, though is any indication that the Islamic regime can suffer damages. Be it the brand of clothing, the makeup and eyebrows or the shaved skin of some boys. homophobia in today's Iran has created the most difficult form of repression to provide sexual tendencies.
Movement for a Solution
In Iran speaking of the rights of sexual minorities is harder than being gay. Indeed, if homosexuality itself has consequences, defending sexual actions particularly is considered corruption on earth and its sentence categorically execution. With regards to pornography websites such as Avizoon the police are responsible for the prosecution and detention of web authors - writing about sex in addition to torture and filmed confessions, being accused of
corruption on earth, guarantees severe punishment for them. "Homosexuality" is also cited in their charges. In this climate homosexual rights activists’ task is clear. To those who have been active in this field in Iran it is also clear that the smallest mistake could be your last mistake and with no time for resistance. So activity for the overthrowal of such a regime in Iran may seem impossible. All activities in the field of homosexual rights and minorities campaigns are to be underground. So the main activities in this are in virtual spaces where they can be written about. The Internet is where new forms of gay identity have grown and alongside them activist gay writers provide other norms to the reader which affects the harvest of traditional homophobia. Although this effect is limited today, homophobia awareness begins with the Internet. The Iranian regime's fear of sexual libido and resorting to the most modern tools of repression has meant that even this last trench of resistance is not to be expected. The Whirlpool Corps project which was created to suppress and stop such sexual websites is an example of gender planning of modern Islamic fundamentalism which does anything to not only undermine indications of sexual interactions, can also be seen in the indictment of other porn sites and blogs recently presented to the court. At the moment the only safe form of resistance that has remained with the link to external forces knowledgeable about the regime of sexual activity as well as linking to other streams of radical acts. Today such activity continues in spite of all the difficulties and bureaucracy, and however gradual, this path is being pursued by Iranian sexual minorities’ rights activists.
Organisation, strike and assembly are our certain rights
Iranian-American Author Discusses Islamic Dress
I The banner reads: we don't want atomic energy or 18,3000 Toman ($180) wages / we work to live,we don't live to work
rganisation, strike and assembly are our certain rights :The Free Union of Iranian Workers calls for support for jailed sugar cane workers of Haft Tappeh
their independent organisation so as to unite their forces against the endless abuses of the employer.
ranian-American Azadeh Moaveni is the author of the best-selling memoirs "Honeymoon in Tehran" and "Lipstick Jihad." She spoke to RFE/ RL correspondent Kristin Deasy about Iran's strict Islamic dress code on one hand, and the banning of Islamic headscarves in Uzbekistan on the other. RFE/RL: Do you think that a lot of the politics related to Islamic dress are related to a "state project" in Iran, and possibly elsewhere?
Azadeh Moaveni: In Iran it's a very unique situation where you have the state trying to Honourable workers and people of Iran Chaining up the sugar cane workers for setimpose this revolutionary Islamic ideology Four workers of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane ting up their organisation and for protesting from above, over a population that is much Company, Fereydoon Nikoofard, Jalil at the non-payment of wages means silencing more secular and sophisticated to simply Ahmadi, Ghorban Alipoor and Mohammad every cry for freedom of all workers in the accept this or to identify with it. Iran is Heydari have been detained and sent to country. We must stand up to this in a united very unique in the Islamic world in this prison, following the confirmation of their rank and call for the immediate and uncondiway. six-month sentences by the appeal court. An- tional release of these workers. Freedom-loving workers and people of Iran
other worker, Ali Nejati, is also about to be apprehended.*
The Free Union of Iranian Workers condemns the detention and jailing of Haft TapMeanwhile, Farzad Kamangar, Mansoor peh workers and the continued imprisonment Osaalou and Ebrahim Madadi are still serv- of Farzad Kamangar, Ebrahim Madadi, Maning long prison terms. Mehdi Farahi Shandiz soor Ossalou and other justice-seeking peois still in jail, without charge, six months af- ple who are in the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prisons. We call ter being arrested on May Day in Tehran, on the workers and all the people of Iran to while other May Day detainees, having alsupport the demand for the immediate and ready spent some two months in jail, are also unconditional release of these prisoners and being summoned. to offer their support to their families. These workers have not committed any crime. Their only crime is to have protested against injustice and delays in payment of wages; for having celebrated May Day and for having built organisations to defend their most basic human rights.
Our Union sets aside a monthly sum of 3 million Rials (in addition to donations raised from amongst our members and other workers) and calls on all workers and people in Iran to raise and send donations for the families of the jailed Haft Tappeh workers. Our union will stand by Haft Tappeh workers in The imprisoned sugar cane workers repeat- their struggle for their human rights, and, edly came out into the streets at the forefront while continuing its fight for their release, of their colleagues to protest at the nonwill not forget about their families. payment of wages and the starvation to which their families have been subjected. Organisation, strike and assembly are our The response by the existing system to the certain rights most basic demands of the workers has been Long live Haft Tappeh workers nothing but batons, tear gas and fabricated Long live workersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; solidarity court cases. The Free Union of Iranian Workers Having worked at Haft Tappeh company for 14 November 2009 years under the harshest conditions, and having created hundreds of billions of Tomans www.ettehadeh.com of wealth, these workers had every right to email@example.com come out into the streets to protest at unpaid Fax: 02144514795 wages and the appalling conditions that the inhuman capitalist system has imposed on them and their families. They were right to * Ali Nejati, the president of the union, berise up in protest against the violation of their gan a six-month sentence on Monday 16 Nomost basic human rights and in defence of vember â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Note by translator the right to life. They were right to build 18
I think in much of the rest of the Islamic world you have a lot of secular regimes who are in many cases indifferent to how women dress and you have women, socially, becoming more conservative and taking the lead in wearing more conservative forms of hijab, whereas in Iran it's very much the opposite-it's the state imposing it from above, because this is certainly the project of the revolution, to create sort of model Islamic citizens. RFE/RL: Does this put moderate religious women who defend modest wear but want to distance themselves from a state policy in a bit of an awkward position? Moaveni: I think even many religious women are democratically-minded and open-minded enough not to want the state to impose religious dress for women who don't wish to wear it. So I think it's one of the issues that where women, secular [and] religious, spanning a lot of different backgrounds of belief and culture in Iran, agree that this is something that should be up to the individual woman. And I think there's a lot of comfort in the Iranian women's movement with looking at it that way.
[Continued on pg 19]
109 Human Rights Groups Ask United Nations To Condemn Human Rights Violations In Iran Global outpouring of solidarity with Iran's human rights defenders
women's rights advocates, discrimination against minorities, and denial of basic civil and political rights.
Over one hundred independent human rights and civil society organizations from around the world have urged delegations to the United Nations to support a resolution in the General Assembly condemning human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), and urging the IRI to abide by its international human rights obligations.
"We join Iranian human rights defenders in insisting that the Iranian government respect the fundamental rights of its people," said Aylona Ob'ezdchikova of the Youth Human Rights Movement in Russia. "As citizens of the Russian Federation, we feel a special responsibility to demonstrate solidarity, and we ask our government to urge to Iran halt these violations."
"Human rights conditions in Iran have deteriorated dramatically since the General Assembly's 2008 Resolution....It is incumbent upon the international community and a matter of the utmost moral urgency to emphasize to the government of Iran that common human rights standards must be upheld,"
The draft resolution calls on Iran to "redress its inadequate record of cooperation with international human rights mechanisms," "regrets that the Islamic Republic it has not fulfilled any requests from [United Nations] special mechanisms to visit the country in 4 years and has not answered numerous communications from these special mechanisms," and "[i] nvites the thematic special procedures mandate holders to pay particular attention to the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran" with regard to abuses that have occurred since disputed presidential election in June 2009.
The signatories include local groups from Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Russia, Malaysia, India, South Africa and other non-western societies, as well as global organizations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and International Commission of Jurists. The groups expressed their concern about the killing of peaceful demonstrators, arbitrary arrests, rape, torture and ill treatment in detention, and "show trials" of those charged with serious crimes, for which they may be executed, simply for expressing their political opinions.
"It must be made clear that it is not just the nuclear issue that that the world is concerned about when it comes to Iran," said Moataz El Fegiery, executive director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies in Egypt. "We are deeply concerned about the Iranian government's illtreatment of its people and "It is a crucial moment for the we are asking governments human rights situation in Iran," said Yap and the United Nations to strengthen their Swee Seng, executive director of the Asian attention to this issue." Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA). "We urge the Iranian The diversity of voices calling on the intergovernment to demonstrate its genuine will national community to act this year reflects to improve the situation by honoring its the growing concern about the human rights standing invitation for special procedures situation inside the country. The organizaand facilitating the visits of independent tions joining the call represent civil sociemonitors for credible investigations of all ties from over 40 countries, the majority allegations of human rights violations." from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The 109 groups conclude their appeal by urging More organizations are expected to join the delegations to support a resolution "that appeal ahead of the vote on a resolution ta- will help show Iran a path toward respectbled by Canada, which enumerates the wide ing the human rights values and standards range of human rights that have been vioupon which the United Nations was lated by the Islamic Republic including tor- founded." ture, excessive use of capital punishment and the execution of juvenile offenders, executions by stoning, the repression of ZEDBAZI 19
From previous pg (Iranian-American Author Dis-
cusses Islamic Dress)...
RFE/RL: In Uzbekistan, they've gone the opposite route and are banning headscarves from schools. Is there so much frustration with the imposition of the headscarf in Iran that women there would see the new rule in Uzbekistan as a good thing? Moaveni: Well, Iran has gone through many stages of all of this. Reza Shah, in the early part of the twentieth century, banned the wearing of the hijab in Iran as part of a state westernization and modernization project. And that created a lot of backlash. It's become very clear through...historical experience that neither really works because it's artificial, and imposes a sort of state agenda on what women are wearing. I think that Iran has come a long way. I think that people realize that it needs to be an individual choice and that's really the only healthy, practical and long-term option. I mean, I'm sure there's a fringe of very secular women are so angry at having the hijab imposed on them for 30 years that they would say, yes, you know, that's fantastic that in Turkey and Uzbekistan, you know, they're banning it because there are people who feel that the state has to [...] keep Islam out of public life. But again, I think that would be a fringe. I think that most people are now aware, from real-life sort of experiences in the last century, that it's not a lasting solution, it's just going to create a backlash, it's going to be unstable. It's going to be unstable, culturally, to impose something one way or the other. The society, and the culture, needs to work it out. RFE/RL: And in your view, what is the reason that, of all things, Islamic dress, women's dress, has become such a politicized issue in the last decade?
[Continued on pg 22]
From pg 1(KURDISTAN WILL the crime of membership of a NOT BE EXECUTED )… Marxist-Leninist group, they imprisoned and in the end ...The executions and death killed. A few days later at Tesentences issued against the hran University, a gathering of detainees have prompted the people in their hundreds took question: Is another wave of place in commemoration of executions imminent? How far him. People attacked the govcan the government continue ernment and all its factions in this path and what is the with all their might and fitting purpose of these executions to the political balance in sociand what does the Islamic Re- ety and in recent months they public hope to gain from this? have shown that this moveEhsan Fattahian, a poltical ac- ment will not die even if peotivist in Kurdistan was exeple like Moussavi and Karcuted on Wednesday last roubi stay silent in the face of week. Shirko Moarefi and such proceedings. Recent exeHabib-Allah Latifi, two other cutions have posed a very clear political activists are in danger question to reformist leaders in of execution now. One woman Iran and that was their stance and 11 more men, also in Kur- on the death sentences. In andistan languish in prison with other respect the recent executhe burden of a death sentions showed that people like tence. These executions are Moussavi, Karroubi, Khatami designed to create an atmosand…not only have no clear phere of terror in society and answer regarding the execution hold back the people from the of political prisoners and the streets in an effort to stabilize death penalty overall, but in the system after the electoral defending the integrity of the coup d’etat. The Islamic ReIslamic Republic, have been public that today faces a big and are accomplices in these challenge by the name of the killings. That these men don’t people’s revolution against have actual power is a much their rulers, has no choice but debated subject of recent such encounters. This way of months, but silence when the suppressing for us who repeople on the streets and even member as a lesson for the bazaars in groups and various current revolution, the first organizations have expressed years of the 1357 (1979) revo- their condemnation of this lution, is very familiar. In murder conviction, showed those years too, the Islamic their apparent complicity in Republic went to war with the face of such a crime. people with the same vast This movement is a vibrant wave of imprisonment and and human flow against the execution of political prisoners mass execution of people, for in order to take control of so- the freedom of women, and the cial and political conditions in welfare of workers. A flow Iran. that has seen two revolutions Each day and each month a list and a few blatant hidden coups of political executions in the against it. Our people have prisons of Iran was announced been the victims of the polition the radio and in newspacal and military games of popers. Their crime was warring litical powers in the region and with God. But today after 30 the world, from the Constituyears of the Islamic Republic tional Revolution to the 28 many men and women Mordad coup (1953) and fithroughout Iran are strung by nally the ’57 revolution (1979) the same title and sent to the and the 30 year protests gallows. But these days the against the Islamic Republic. executed and those who have But the recent protests have in effect fought God and his been unique in several aspects. representatives on earth are the This movement is very aware people’s heroes and symbols and gripping in the sense that of political and religious tyryou can simultaneously be a anny in Iran. Just as we saw female university student who with Ehsan Fattahian , who for for her own livelihood needs a
worker for long hours, and takes a stand against the integrity of discriminatory norm and have tasted prison for her crime, and the latent representative of the women’s movement, the student, the worker, the political prisoners or one of thousands of the Islamic Republic’s unique phenomena. It’s enough to be on the streets of Iran to hear the most profound political and social language of the masses. You should be among the people to hear the depth of hostility in the movement for a secular and equal society. It’s enough to take a few steps in the surge of the crowd to see the depth of solidarity and unity for change in the political governance of Iran. Even if the executions continue, they will not only fail to succeed in keeping the people back, but rather will drive stronger nails into the Islamic Republic’s coffin. The people of Kurdistan have in recent months been less present in the scene of protests. The reasons for this must be explored in another discussion. But that which is clear to all is that Kurdistan is the hub of the radical revolutionary movement and has long been at the centre of political upheaval in Iran. As long as this trend against the honourable people of this immense part of Iran continues, a great force will hit the streets and this ultimately is not to the benefit of the Islamic Republic. Saeed Valadbaygi
SIGN THE PETITION: http://www.gopetition.com/ online/32085.html
Bahman Moaarefi known as Shirko, Kurd activist was recognized as Mohareb (god’s enemy) by the Iranian judicial system! Shirko Moaarefi 30 year old from Banneh (in Kurdistan province) has been charged with propaganda against the regime and fight against the god and is sentenced to death . He was arrested on November 1st, 2007 and has been in detention at Saghez’s intelligence office. Currently he is prohibited from having visitors in detention. In preparation for his execution, Shirko Moaarefi was transferred to solitary confinement at Saghez central prison. He is one of the Kurd civil activist who was arrested in Saghez last year and after being interrogated and severely tortured was sentenced to death. Khalil Bahramian, Shirko Moaarefi’s lawyer in an interview with campaign of civil and political prisoners rights by confirming the news of Shirko’s transfer to solitary confinement to execute his death sentence announced: “this verdict is contrary to all legal standard laws and he will not stop until the day he save’s Shirko”. Bahramian has also asked all the media and human rights activists to not remain indifference during these critical days and by informing and illuminating public take action against this injustice verdict. This attorney has published his personal phone number to work and keep the media informed. Dr. Khalil Bahramian, Justice Lawyer 00989121463518
he Student’s movement has become even more extensive than previous years and shows no sign of ebbing. Instead, it quickly spreads to universities that haven’tt been as active or involved in student protests in recent years. This wide spread is due to changes in the student movement’s dynamism compared to previous years. Currently the dynamism and slogans come directly from the anti dictator movement on the streets that has been going on prior to universities reopening. In fact, those students involved in mass street protests towards the end of the previous academic year or prior to universities re-opening; are now continuing with their protests as university students and within the walls of campus. The roots of this dynamism and slogans of student and anti dictatorship movements are in a new era. The current student protests are pursuant of people’s freedomseeking movement against dictatorship and tyranny. They were able to introduce themselves to the world by marching to the streets in millions. This annulled the analysis of those who would not recognize the basis of this movement in protest against the bloody and malevolent regime during the past 30 years.
The Student Movement in this New Era!
The huge student mass must be organized at various levels; colleges, universities and throughout cities. They must connect with one another to discuss and decide their demands and ways to continue with the movement. The Iranian Revolutionary guard believes that by creating more and more restrictions against the current student movement, or by arresting, torturing and deporting student activists, they can stop the student movement. This movement and its its activists used to play an effective and central role in organizing student protests in previous years; however, they no longer have the active role of leadership in current protests and despite all the repressions the student movement is moving along with Student protests from the aspect more energy and intensity. of universities involved and the sheer number of participants is By creating organizations that so vast it cannot fit within the can coordinate the mass stucapacity of any student organi- dent’s movement; students will zation to be directed or inflube able to plan and organize enced positively. Entire student their social and political deorganizations (be they leftist, mands and ways to continue in liberal or Islamic) compared to their fight. Only in such circumthe number of students involved stances can students influence in the movement are few and the current situation and by best suited to a time time when standing next to other social student movements did not con- movements and especially the sist of a large mass of students. worker and women movements, Today, the situation has changed influence the current anti dictaand student movement is in need torship movement. Previously, of organizations that can reelite-oriented organizations spond to the issues of mass pro- were able to organize smaller test against dictatorship. groups of student movements; however, these organizations are With the mass presence of uni- no longer able to answer the imversity students at the frontline mediate demands of the current of the protests the student move- movement. ment is in need of organization. 21
to create a stream of mixed of characters from both reformists and conservatives to compromise. Until the day when they achieve their goal, for self preservation and the security of their families, Moussavi and other reformists are in need of the anti dictatorship movement.
The current mass movement demands an organization to organize the movement. This is the only route to enabling students to take control of their situation while actively participating in the anti-dictatorship movement and will not only follow the flow but will have the power to plan and determine their effective roles. The government’s reformists, particularly Moussavi want the students and generally all participants in public freedom seekers, unaligned. Moussavi and reformists goals are the people’s unorganized participation in the movement within friends and family relations only. This shapeless movement obviously doesn’t have the power to determine the future of the student movement. And structure-wise it follows their goal of an “Islamic Republic” nothing more! Reformists don’t even deny that whenever they reach a point of agreement point with the Supreme Leader and Revolutionary Guard, they have achieved their goal. Their declared purpose is to use the Islamic regime’s constitutions that according to reformists, in substance relate to people’s rights are currently not being followed and the modifying cycle of power among the regime’s factions are not being considered by the executive and legislative branches of the government. Reformists and Moussavi are expecting the current antidictatorship movement to pressure the coup d’état into increasing the right wing’s criticism of Ahmadinejad and his supporters
Therefore, Moussavi and other reformist officials in fearing for their future are not directly criticizing other groups and parties who are following different goals and are clearly asking for the removal of the dictator regime in their slogans. Instead, they are insisting on their demand for an “Islamic Republic” nothing more. With the serious rise of compromising reformist politics and their direct criticism of the so called “extreme indulgence” of the anti dictatorship movement, it is becoming more obvious that they are preparing for reconciliation with the Supreme Leader and Revolutionary Guard. The compromise between the reformists and Moussavi with the dictators depends on lots of factors including the power of the anti dictatorship movement. Reformists and Moussavi don’t want consistent social and student movements and instead ask for a movement confined to family and friends such that no groups would be out there to resist in case of compromise with Khamenei and Revolutionary Guard. The unorganized mass of people who are fighting to overthrow the dictators, Islamic regime and the Supreme Leader hold no value for them and will be disillusioned if the reformists, Khamenei and others reach a agreement; simply because these unorganized groups don’t have the tools to continue with the anti dictatorship movement. An organized social and especially student movement in such critical times and when the compromise between the two parties is not yet strong, can play an important role. [Continued on next pg]
From previous pg( The Student Movement in lyze various political platforms related to this New Era!)... each movement. What can the source and focus of a student movement be if it is to And if the two parties reach an agreement, prove the disability of Moussavi and reformthese movements will be organized enough ists in fulfilling the goal of overthrowing the to lead the anti dictatorship movement to the dictatorship. By explaining political reasons final step to overthrow the Islamic regime. it can be proven that Moussavi and reformTo achieve its objectives, every movement ists are able to overthrow dictators - one of requires suitable organization. The type of one the main goals of the student movement organization that Moussavi calls social net- - and be the path to adopting socialism in the works and includes family and friend relastudent movement. tions only fulfills his goal to compromise and reconcile with Khamenei and the RevoluA delay in the reconciliation of reformists tionary Guard. The type of and Moussavi with dictamovement reformists and tors will result in awareMoussavi are aiming for ness and radicalism of the has to be strong enough to student movement. To bring about Khamenei and achieve its goal of overthe Revolutionary Guard’s throwing the dictator, the retreat, but not organized student movement must to stand against this reconbe organized in millions ciliation and continue the to first fight with more anti dictatorship movepower; second, not be ment. However, considerharmed if such reconciliaing the liberal interest of tion with the dictatorship people, organized movetakes place and third, to ments are the only way to be able to continue with guarantee victory. its movement along with other social movements. The Leftist student movement is capable of Lefties and the Student Movement playing the most important role in creating true mass student organization and overcome With the rise of the anti dictatorship move- the inability of reformists and Moussavi to ment and student activities, leftist students stand with the student movement until the are put in a different situation. In less than dictator is overthrown. This can be the stratetwo months since the start of the academic gic plan of the leftist student movement in year, students protests are more extensive participating in the anti dictatorship move(the number of students and university par- ment. ticipation) than the past few years. The movement’s quality has also advanced; Finally, ending the dictatorship and fulfilling Death to the Dictator slogans have targeted the slogan of Death to Khamenei, is one of Khamenei who is the main pillar of the Isthe student movement’s goals that has been lamic regime and is almost the same as the expressed openly. Death to Khamenei has death to Shah during the 1979 revolution in the same political function of Death to the Iran. Unlike the previous era, it is essential Shah in the 1979 revolution that ended the for the leftie student movement to adjust its monarchy regime. The student movement objectives and methods according to the de- must be aware that Moussavi and the reformmands of the anti dictatorship movement. ists will not remain by their side in achieving Growth and rapid expansion of leftie stutheir goals. The minute Moussavi and the redents is a response to the issues of the curformists achieve their own goals of comprorent movement. The entire student movement mise and reconciliation with the dictator, must be aware that the leftie student move- they will attempt to tame and impoverish the ment also wants to fulfill the goal of Death to movement in favour of the dictator regime. the Dictator that they have chanted as one of its slogans and goals. The student movement must prepare for the day when reformists and Moussavi leave the The student movement is now part of the anti dictatorship movement, so they’re unafbroader people’s movement against the dic- fected negatively by it. They must therefore tatorship that has been clearly addressed be alert to the reformists and Moussavi’s inthrough their slogans and campaigns. This ability to stand with the movement to overstudent movement must become aware of the throw dictator. They must be organized via leftist student movement’s slogans and meth- organizations to become powerful enough to ods to achieve the common goals of all stu- stand against any reconciliation lead other dents and be able to compare their objectives social movements until the Islamic regime is and methods with other student movements overthrown. The Leftist student movement for the same reason. The leftist student can play an important role in achieving this movement too must compare its methods goal by placing this goal as its top objective with the methods of other movements to end now. dictatorship and be able to explain and ana22
From pg 19 (Iranian-American Author Discusses
Moaveni: I think that Islam has a unique and very specific set -- a controversial set -of prescriptions on how women should dress and behave. And I think that political Islam has made a point of working out a lot of its political and ideological issues through the issue of hijab. So a lot of times it's about other things, but it's an ideological project for the expansion of Shi'ism, or it's a very ambitious and a very pious fundamentalist agenda and part of that has to be, in a way, imposing a very conservative form of dress and women have to be part and parcel of that. Because in the strictest sense of Islamic ideology, you can't demolish the sort of buddhas of Afghanistan and wage jihad and let your women, you know, uncover their hair. So I think it's very often a male, extremist political agenda that just has to have this sort of element along with it, unfortunately. I think a lot of the Arab Middle East women are taking up more Islamic dress independently as a way of sort of signaling their anger toward the West, you know sort of retreating into sort of a very pious version of Islam to sort of express their defiance and anger toward Western policies in the region, in their country and in Israel and Palestine, et cetera. RFE/RL: Are twentysomethings in Iran seeing imposed Islamic fashion differently? Are they dressing differently? Moaveni: I think that young Iranian women are more willing to experiment with Islamic dress because it's the only thing that's available to them, they're young, they want to look beautiful, they want to express themselves, their individuality, and so they do this through, you know, colorful hijab, and different kinds of tunics, and these sorts of things. I think my mother's generation tends to be much more conservative there were a lot of women before the revolution who did not wear hijab and never felt as though they could sort of claim this as their own and experiment with it. I think that idea is very alien to them. They just wear a very staid or simple sort of headcovering -- what they need to go outside -- because to them, wearing sort of 'fashionable' Islamic dress is possibly abhorrent, because they reject the idea so entirely that they're not willing to even individualize it and create their own sort of style within it. I think that has fallen to the younger generation, who doesn't know anything else.
Banknote Slogans Reach the Masses
nti-government activists whose street protests have been suppressed have launched another equally effective mass-media campaign - expressing their slogans on banknotes for all to see. The Central Bank of Iran has tried to remove these from circulation but the sheer volume has made this an impossible task. For the people it's a way of saying "We are here and the green movement lives on."
Based on a kid’s poem – How is Iran doing? It’s full of sorrow, its oil is gone, took its gas to India, got China’s garbage, everything is imported, exports are forgotten, close down all local productions
V for Victtory Cheater Khamanei and criminal Ahmadinejad
A re-write of a saying on the left side (Iranian people will find “knowledge’ no matter where ) – Iranian people will find “justice” no matter where.
Neda’s photo followed by death to dictator slogan. Bottom: Logo of state media Voice and Vision of Islamic Republic with added swastika followed by “humiliated by our Voice and Vision” They stole oil money and give it to Chavez
Khamenei non-believer is servant of putin
Long Live freedom
Death to Khamenei is crossed out/colored Bottom: Shame can not be erased by crossing out/coloring
The fall of the Berlin Wall: 20 years later Alan Woods
wenty years ago as the Berlin Wall came tumbling down the bourgeoisie in the west was euphoric, rejoicing at the “fall of communism”. Twenty years later things look very different as capitalism has entered its most severe crisis since 1929. Now a majority in former East Germany votes for the left and harks back to what was positive about the planned economy. After rejecting Stalinism, they have now had a taste of capitalism, and the conclusion drawn is that socialism is better than capitalism. The year 2009 is a year of many anniversaries, including the murder of Luxemburg and Liebknecht, the founding of the Communist International and the Asturian Commune. None of these anniversaries find any echo in the capitalist press. But there is one anniversary they will not forget: On the 9th of November, 1989, the Border separating Western from Eastern Germany was effectively opened. The fall of the Berlin Wall has passed into history as a synonym for the collapse of “Communism”. In the last 20 years since those momentous events, we have witnessed an unprecedented ideological offensive against the ideas of Marxism on a world scale. This is held up as decisive proof of the death of Communism, Socialism and Marxism. Not long ago, it was even presented as the end of history. But since then the wheel of history has turned several times. The argument that henceforth the capitalist system was the only alternative for humanity has been exposed as hollow. The truth is very different. On the twentieth anniversary of the collapse of Stalinism, capitalism finds itself in its deepest crisis since the Great Depression. Millions are faced with a future of unemployment, poverty, cuts and austerity. This vicious anti-Communist campaign is being intensified during this period. The reason for this is not difficult to understand. The worldwide crisis of capitalism is giving rise to a general questioning of the “market economy”. There is a revival of interest in Marxist ideas, which is alarming the bourgeoisie. The new campaign of slanders is a reflection of fear. Caricature of socialism
accompanied by colossal corruption, nepotism, waste, mismanagement and chaos. The nationalised planned economies in the USSR and Eastern Europe achieved astonishing results in the fields of industry, science, health and education. But, as Trotsky predicted as early as 1936, the bureaucratic regime ultimately undermined the nationalised planned economy and prepared the way for its collapse and the return of capitalism. In the 1980s, the USSR had more scientists than the USA, Japan, Britain and Germany combined, and yet was unable to achieve the same results as the West. In the vital fields of productivity and living standards the Soviet Union lagged behind the West. The main reason was the colossal burden imposed on the Soviet economy by the bureaucracy – the millions of greedy and corrupt officials that were running the Soviet Union without any control on the part of the working class. The suffocating rule of the bureaucracy eventually led to a sharp fall in the rate of growth in the USSR. As a result, the Soviet Union was falling behind the West. The costs of maintaining high levels of military expenditure and the costs of maintaining its grip on Eastern Europe imposed further strains on the Soviet economy. The emergence of a new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 signalled a major turn in the situation. Gorbachev represented that wing of the Soviet bureaucracy that stood for reform from the top in order to preserve the regime as a whole. However, the situation deteriorated further under Gorbachev. This inevitably led to a crisis, which had an immediate effect in Eastern Europe, where the crisis of Stalinism was exacerbated by the national question. Ferment in Eastern Europe
In 1989, from one capital to another, a tidal wave of revolt spread, overthrowing one by one the Stalinist regimes. In Romania, Ceausescu was overthrown by a revolution and sent to a firing squad. A key factor in the success of the popular uprisings was the crisis in Russia. In the past Moscow had sent the Red Army to crush uprising in East Germany (1953), in Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968). But Gorbachev understood that this option was no longer possible. What failed in Russia and Eastern Europe The mass strikes in Poland in the first part of was not communism or socialism, in any the 1980s were an early expression of the sense that this was understood by Marx or impasse of the regime. If this magnificent Lenin, but a bureaucratic and totalitarian movement had been led by genuine Marxcaricature. Lenin explained that the moveists, it could have prepared the ground for a ment towards socialism requires the democ- political revolution, not only in Poland but ratic control of industry, society and the throughout Eastern Europe. But in the abstate by the proletariat. Genuine socialism is sence of such a leadership, the movement incompatible with the rule of a privileged was derailed by counterrevolutionary elebureaucratic elite, which will inevitably be ments like Lech Walesa. 24
At first, the Polish Stalinists tried to hold the movement down through repression, but in the end Solidarity had to be legalized and allowed to participate in parliamentary elections on June 4, 1989. What followed was a political earthquake. Solidarity candidates captured all the seats they were allowed to contest. This had a profound effect in the neighbouring countries. In Hungary Janos Kadar – in anticipation of what was to come - had already been removed as General Secretary of the Communist Party the previous year in 1988 and the regime had adopted a “democracy package”, including elections. Czechoslovakia was very soon also affected and by November 20, 1989 the number of protesters assembled in Prague went from 200,000 the previous day to half-million. A two-hour general strike was held on November 27. These dramatic events marked a major turning-point in history. For almost half a century after World War II the Stalinists had ruled Eastern Europe with an iron hand. These were monstrous one-Party states, backed by a powerful apparatus of repression, with army, police and secret police, and informers in every block of flats, school, college or factory workshop. It seemed almost impossible that popular uprisings could ever succeed against the power of a totalitarian state and its secret police. But in the moment of truth these apparently invincible regimes were shown to be giants with feet of clay. East Germany Of all the regimes of Eastern Europe, the German Democratic Republic was one of the most industrially and technologically advanced. The standard of life, although not as high as in West Germany, was good. There was full employment, and everyone had access to cheap housing, free medicine and education of a high standard. However, the rule of a totalitarian one-Party state, with its ever-present secret police (the notorious Stasi) with its army of informers, the corruption of the officials, and the privileges of the elite, were a source of discontent. Before the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961, about 2.5 million East Germans had emigrated to West Germany, many over the border between East and West Berlin. In order to halt this haemorrhage, the regime had the Berlin Wall built. The Wall and other fortifications along the 860-mile (1,380-kilometre) border shared by East and West Germany succeeded in stemming the exodus. This action probably helped to boost economic growth in the GDR. But it caused suffering and hardship for the families that were divided and it was a propaganda gift to the West, which presented it as yet another example of “Communist tyranny”. [Continued on next pg]
From previous pg( The fall of the Berlin Wall: 20 years later )... By the end of the 1980s the situation in the GDR was explosive. The old Stalinist Erich Honecker was implacably opposed to reform. His regime even prohibited the circulation of “subversive” publications from the Soviet Union. On 6 October and 7 October, Gorbachev visited East Germany to mark the 40th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic, and he put pressure on the East German leadership to accept reform. He is quoted as saying: “Wer zu spät kommt, den bestraft das Leben” (He who is too late is punished by life). By now the East German people had become openly rebellious. Opposition movements began to sprout up like mushrooms. These included the Neues Forum (New Forum), Demokratischer Aufbruch (Democratic Awakening), and Demokratie Jetzt (Democracy Now). The largest opposition movement was created through a Protestant church service at Leipzig’s Nikolaikirche, German for Church of Saint Nicholas, where each Monday after service citizens gather outside demanding change in East Germany. However, these movements were confused and politically naïve. A wave of mass demonstrations now swept through East German cities, acquiring particular strength in Leipzig. Hundreds of thousands of people joined these demonstrations. The regime entered into crisis that led to the removal of the hard-line Stalinist leader, Erich Honecker, and the resignation of the entire cabinet. Under the pressure of the mass movement, the new Party leader, Egon Krenz, called for democratic elections. But the reforms proposed by the regime were too little and too late. The “Communist” leaders considered using force but changed their mind (with a little prodding from Gorbachev). Events were now spinning out of control. In the following days, one could almost speak of anarchy: Shops stayed open all hours, a GDR passport served as a free ticket for public transport. In the words of one observer: “in general there were more exceptions than rules in those days”. Power was lying in the street, but there was nobody to pick it up. Faced with a mass revolt, the seemingly allpowerful East German state collapsed like a house of cards. On November 9, 1989, after several weeks of mass unrest, the East German government announced that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. This was the signal for a new eruption of the masses. Spontaneously, crowds of East Germans climbed onto and crossed
the Wall, joined by West Germans on the other side. Counterrevolution
rights. Like nature, politics abhors a vacuum. The presence of a powerful and prosperous capitalist state next door therefore played a determining role in filling the vacuum. West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was an aggressive representative of imperialism. He used the most shameless bribery to persuade the East German people to agree to immediate unification, offering to exchange their Ostmarks for Deutschmarks on a oneto-one basis. But what Kohl did not tell the people of East Germany was that unification would not mean that they would have West German living standards. In July 1990, the final obstacle to German unification was removed when Gorbachev agreed to drop Soviet objections to a reunited Germany within NATO in return for substantial German economic aid to the Soviet Union. Unification was formally concluded on October 3, 1990. The masses deceived
The Berlin Wall was a symbol and a focal point for all that was hated about the East German regime. The demolition of the Wall began quite spontaneously. Over the next few weeks, parts of the Wall were chipped away. Later on industrial equipment was later used to remove almost all of the rest. There was a celebratory atmosphere, a mood of euphoria, more like a carnival than a revolution. But that is true of the early stages of every great revolution, beginning with 1789. In November of 1989, the population of the GDR was overwhelmed by emotional moods - a sense of liberation, accomplished by a general feeling of elation. It was as if a whole nation was experiencing a general inebriation, and therefore was open to suggestions and sudden impulses. Overthrowing the old regime proved far easier than anyone had dared imagine. But, once having over- The people of the GDR had been deceived. They were not told that the introduction of a market economy would mean mass unemployment, factory closures and the virtual destruction of large parts of the industrial base of the GDR, or a general rise in prices, and the demoralization of a section of the youth, or that they would be looked down upon as second-class citizens in their own country. They were not told these things but they have found them out through bitter experience.
thrown it, what was to be put in its place? The masses that had brought about the overthrow of the old regime, knew very well what they did not want, but did not have quite clear what they wanted, and nobody was offering a way out. All the objective conditions for a political revolution were now given. The great majority of the population did not want the restoration of capitalism. They wanted socialism, but with democratic rights, without the Stasi, without corrupt bureaucrats and without a dictatorial one-party state. If a genuine Marxist leadership had existed, this could have led to a political revolution and the establishment of a workers’ democracy. However, the fall of the Berlin Wall did not result in a political revolution but counterrevolution in the form of unification with West Germany. This demand did not feature prominently at the beginning of the demonstrations. But given the absence of a clear programme on the part of the leadership, it was introduced and gradually came to occupy a central role. Most of the leaders of the opposition had no clear programme, policy or perspective, beyond a vague desire for democracy and civil
Reunification precipitated a disastrous collapse in real Eastern German GDP, with falls of 15.6 per cent in 1990 and 22.7 per cent in 1991 cumulating to a one third decline. Millions of jobs were lost. Many eastern factories were bought by western competitors and shut down. From 1992, East Germany experienced four years of recovery, but this was followed by stagnation. Before the Second World War, eastern German GDP per capita was slightly above the German average, and both at that time and in the GDR, eastern Germany was richer than other eastern European countries. But 20 years after unification, living standards in East Germany still lag behind the West. Unemployment is double western levels, and wages are significantly lower. In the GDR unemployment was practically unknown. But employment declined by 3.3 million people from 1989-1992. East German real GDP has barely risen above its 1989 level, and employment languishes at 60 per cent of its 1989 level. Currently, unemployment in Germany as a whole is about 8%, but the figure for East Germany is 12.3%. However, some unofficial estimates put it as high as 20%, and amongst the youth even 50%. [Continued on next pg]
From previous pg( The fall of the Berlin of the Berlin Wall and to see capitalism replace communism. But the euphoria Wall: 20 years later )... did not last long. “It took just a few weeks to realize what the free market Women, who achieved a high degree of economy was all about,” said Wulff. “It's equality in the GDR, as in other countries rampant materialism and exploitation. of East Europe, have suffered most. The Human beings get lost. We didn't have German Socio-Economic Panel data for the material comforts but communism the mid-1990s indicate that 15 per cent of still had a lot going for it.” (Reuters rethe eastern female population and ten per port) cent of the male population were unem- Hans-Juergen Schneider, a 49-year-old ployed. trained engineer has been unemployed In July 1990 the “chancellor of unity”, since January 2004. He has sent out 286 Helmut Kohl, promised: “In a joint effort job applications since then, without sucwe will soon turn [the East German recess. “The market economy can't solve gions] Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and our problems,” he says, “big business is Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg, Saxony just grabbing the profits without acceptand Thuringia into flourishing landing any responsibility.” He is not alone. A scapes.” Fifteen years later, a BBC report poll by Der Spiegel stated that 73% of admitted that “the statistics are bleak.” East Germans believe that Karl Marx's Despite the capital injection of an esticritique of capitalism is still valid. mated 1.25 trillion Euro (£843bn, Another poll published in October 2008 $1,550bn), the East's unemployment rate in the magazine Super Illus stated that was still 18.6% in 2005 (before the pre- 52% of people in Eastern Germany think sent recession) and in many regions it is that the market economy is “inept” and more than 25%. “rundown”. 43% would prefer a socialist Halle in Saxony-Anhalt, once an impor- economic system, because “it protects tant centre for the chemical industry with the small people from financial crises more than 315,000 people, has lost and other injustices”. 55% rejected banknearly a fifth of its citizens. Before the ing bailouts by the state. Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the Of young people (18 to 29 years), who “chemical triangle” Leuna-Hallenever lived in the GDR, or did so only Bitterfeld gave employment to 100,000 briefly, 51% want socialism. The figure people - now 10,000 jobs remain. Gera for people 30 to 49 years old is 35%. But once had large textiles and defence infor those over 50 years it is 46%. These dustries, and some uranium mining. They findings are confirmed in interviews with have gone, and much the same happened dozens of ordinary easterners. “We read in most other state-owned industries about the 'horrors of capitalism' in since 1989. school. They really got that right. Karl Eastern GDP per capita improved from Marx was spot on,” said Thomas Pivitt, a 49 per cent of the western level in 1991 46-year-old IT worker from East Berlin. to 66 per cent in 1995, since which time Das Kapital was a best-seller for pubconvergence has ceased to advance. The lisher Karl-Dietz-Verlag, selling over economy was growing by about 5.5% a 1,500 copies in 2008, triple the number year, but was not creating many new sold in all of 2007 and a 100-fold injobs. As a result the East is emptying. crease since 1990. Since unification some 1.4 million peo- “Everyone thought there would never ple have moved to the West, most of ever again be any demand for 'Das Kapithem young and well-educated. Emigra- tal',” managing director Joern Schution and a steep fall in fertility have etrumpf told Reuters. “Even bankers and caused the eastern population to decline managers are now reading Das Kapital to each year since unification. try to understand what they've been doIt is a supreme irony of history that 20 ing to us. Marx is definitely 'in' right years after reunification, people are leav- now,” he said. ing East Germany, not to flee from the The crisis of capitalism has convinced Stasi, but to escape unemployment. Of many Germans, both East and West, that course, some have done well. The BBC the system has failed. “I thought commureport says: “Grand bourgeois houses, nism was shit but capitalism is even many riddled with World War II bullet worse,” said Hermann Haibel, a 76-year holes until 1989, have been restored to old retired blacksmith. “The free market their old glory.” is brutal. The capitalist wants to squeeze Marxism revives out more, more, more,” he said. “I had a pretty good life before the Wall fell,” he Like many other East Germans, Ralf added. “No one worried about money beWulff said he was delighted about the fall cause money didn't really matter. You 26
had a job even if you didn't want one. The communist idea wasn't all that bad.” “I don't think capitalism is the right system for us,” said Monika Weber, a 46year-old city clerk. “The distribution of wealth is unfair. We're seeing that now. The little people like me are going to have to pay for this financial mess with higher taxes because of greedy bankers.” Even more significant than opinion polls were the results of the recent German elections. The Left Party registered a significant advance, getting almost 30% of the vote in the East. In the East there is now no majority for the bourgeois parties. What this shows clearly is that the people of East Germany do not want capitalism but socialism – not the bureaucratic totalitarian caricature of socialism that they had before, but genuine democratic socialism – the socialism of Marx, Engels, Liebknecht and Luxemburg. London, October 19, 2009
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State, Civil Society, and Social Emancipation nayevskaya, to name o few. It could also be seen in conferences celebrating the 200th anniversary of Hegel’s Phenomenology, and I - The Present Historic Moment the unprecedented popular reception of lec“our epoch is a birth-time, and a period of tures by such scholars as Antonio Negri and Jurgen Habermas, among others. transition…the spirit of the time, growing slowly and quietly for the new form One observer in the West calls this “an epoch-making renaissance in political and culit is to assume, disintegrates one fragment after another of the structure tural discourse.” 2 This multi-faceted and rich discourse caused such discomfort in ofof its previous world…” ficial circles that the director of Iranian In1-Hegel, The Phestitute of Philosophy had to exclaim, “Of the nomenology of Mind, Preface, p.75 15 doctoral candidates at the institute, 11 are working on western philosophy. Only 4 of Long before the mass discontent took the phenomenal form of a popular political up- them are writing PhD’s on Islamic philosophy.” rising in recent months, the Iranian ruling powers had sensed the awakening of the repressed yet unconforming population as the foreboding of an approaching storm. In this, they were ahead of, and more perceptive than, the leaders of opposition who had turned inward after the failed attempts of 1990’s which had primarily focused on the state as the locus of social change. The ‘silent revolution’ simmering in the depths of the collective consciousness of the critical mass, was fast reaching the surface and turning outward. As Hegel put it succinctly, “The beginning of the new spirit is the outcome of a widespread revoluAs a 23-member peace making delegation, tion in the manifold forms of spiritual culcoordinated by the Fellowship of Reconture.” (Ph of M, p.76) ciliation observed after visiting Iran in 2007, When the newly installed regime of Ahmadinajad characterized each and every “Iran’s love of philosophy can be found outmanifestation of dissent as a plot, or an at- side the corridors of academia as well.” The tempt at ‘velvet revolution,’ it clearly under- delegation had visited a long-term care facility for veterans where they met a wheelstood its mandate as the force that would chaired patient who had taught himself phicounter the coming of revolution. But despite all repressive measures during his first losophy. Everywhere they went, they saw “a 4-year term, it had become clear that his task deep passion for ideas, a palpable craving had remained largely unfinished. Hence the for intellectual dialogue…” 3 need to ‘will,’ from up top, his ‘re-election’ At the same time this thirst for ideas is now in 2009. Nevertheless, to many even within combined with a new political maturity. the traditional conservative camp, it had be- While it is true that under the impact of the come increasingly obvious that Ahmadine- ongoing struggles, reform leaders have jad was constantly fomenting social unrest. turned to the ideals of 1979 Revolution by This has lead to the apparent fragmentation highlighting its unfulfilled promises, it is not of the conservative ranks to the point where true that the Green Movement is either they now resemble a ‘political animal king- monolithic or is the full expression of the entirety of the still developing social condom.’ sciousness of the masses. As one student acThe re-emergence of the popular uprising that coalesced into a formidable and multi- tivist keenly observed, the reform leaders dimensional social force before and after the “do not create breakthroughs. After all, they elections of June 12, is proof that what ap- too are part of the thirty-year power strucpeared to be a ‘quiescent’ decade was in re- ture in Iran… What is important is the impact that his presence at that position will ality a process of political maturation, rehave on the public sphere, and the activism thinking and re-collection that blossomed into a sudden explosion of ideas. This intel- that it will promote and advance… So the public sphere principle does not mean we lectual fermentation was manifest in part also in translations of works of Hegel, Marx, should not take advantage of historic moments.” He concludes by saying that his Lukacs, Luxemburg, Marcuse and Du-
support for a reform leader in an election “does not blur my identity with those reformers in the power structure.” 4 However, what is new in the present historic moment is the emergence of new and diverse forms of mass solidarity that gives new meaning to the concept of ‘pubic sphere.’ It is no longer confined to a debate among the intellectuals but has transitioned to life. Many street publications have been created. Innumerable organizations have been formed. Thousands of weblogs and on line journals have appeared. Everywhere you turn, there is public debate and dialogue, whether in the Metro, in a Taxi, at the workplace or in informal gatherings at home. It seems like there is no end to the energy and creativity of the people. As one worker stated, the workplace is where “everybody does nothing except find ways to get around blocked web sites and read the day’s news.” 5 These new mediating social forms, born of self-activity, have generated a leap in self-consciousness. A whole new sense of what is possible has now evolved. Had anyone, reformist or revolutionary, anticipated this new objective reality? Is there something inherently deficient in emancipatory theory which perpetually condemns it to arrive on the scene only after the fact? If so, then how can theory and practice ever be united? Are these new social formations not reminiscent of 1979 Revolution? Has not the past history ‘suddenly’ come to life in the present as integral to history in the making? Instead, once its own idealism turned sour in face of counterrevolution, the radical intellectuals turned against the idealism of the movement from practice. Didn’t they once again return, in retreat, to a concept of theory as external to the consciousness of the masses, as if it can be derived, without mediation of historic subjects, solely from contemplation of ‘reality’ as but a substantial entity? Surely today’s movement has not quite reached the scope of 1979 at its high point. But that’s hardly an excuse to avoid selfcritique in the historic mirror. It is high time to re-conceptualize theory as wholly immanent within the movement from practice. Thus making the movement relate itself to itself, and become fully aware of its own potential, goals and aspirations. Once the masses gain self-knowledge and the corresponding judgment, the entire old system is doomed; it will no longer be tenable. It can only be prolonged by brute force. To quote Hegel again: “This gradual crumbling to pieces, which did not alter the general look and aspect of the whole, is interrupted by the sunrise, which in a flash and at a single stroke, brings to view the form and the structure of the new world.” (Ph of M, p.75) [Continued on next pg]
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II – Islamic Republic’s Conflicted SelfUnderstanding
“With the slaves awareness that he cannot be the property of another, with his consciousness of himself as a person, the existence of slavery becomes artificial, vegetative existence, and ceases to be able to prevail.” Marx, Gurndrisee, p.463
For 30 years the theocratic state in Iran has laid claim to legitimacy in the name of universal interests of society as a whole. This right by which this limited, particular regime has sought to justify its existence, has now been taken away from it by an unprecedented popular uprising –by those social forces that demand the regeneration of society on a new basis. The 1979 Revolution for long served as the presupposition of the Islamic State. At the height of its self-confidence in the 1980’s, it devoured its own children, by turning against the very forces within civil society that had helped bring it to power. It unleashed a ruthless counterrevolutionary terror to suppress its own presupposition, and drove even its first ever-elected President, Bani Sadre, into exile. It was during the 8-year war with Iraq, that the terror was perfected, while feeding society a heavy dose of religious nationalism. By thus consolidating their grip, the despotic State was elevated to be the equivalent of the system as a whole, and as such, an end in itself; therefore subordinating civil life to a degraded sphere presumably without the will of its own. The ‘citizen’, if at all conceived, was made to be the servant of the state, an abstract state-citizen, that is, a fictitious, allegorical being. Hence completing the slavery of civil society. An absolutist regime of unrest was shaped that for 3 decades constantly politicized the citizenry by perpetually fomenting discord and reinventing enemies. This has been a restless and revengeful political regime wholly self-absorbed in eternal warfare against ‘infidels.’ It tolerates no dissent. Every expression of opposition, or each appearance of disagreement, however mild, has always been immediately escalated and branded as Moharebe Khoda, ‘the Enemy of God,’ to justify its eradication.
Religion is clearly appropriated as means to a thoroughly secular aim. Here religion is nothing but the religion of expediency, an empirical religion, which fused with politics and nuclear science, has served as the ideological baptism of the State. But this theocratic edification of political power has brought the state–religion into a direct and permanent clash with the private consciousness of the people who have identified religion abstractly as the ‘the sigh of the oppressed and the soul of a soulless world.’ 6 Having resorted to violence, torture and even rape in face of an unarmed but deep and widespread grassroots movement, it is now at a crossroads. It has lost the battle for the minds of people. It is trapped in a deep hole and is unraveling as if in a selfdestructive mode. With its ‘spiritualism’ fully exposed for what it is, a crass materialism, neither ‘Allah,’ nor the ‘Hidden Mahdi’ can come to its rescue now. Bereft of any ‘sacred’ or profane legitimacy, it is left with no other exit strategy but the savage unleashing of brute force as the guarantor of its secular survival. With its eyes turned away from heaven, it now resembles the worms that dwell in the dirt and the muck of the earthly. But when the so-called heavenly realm comes crashing down, and discloses
itself as but the sheer instrument of secular domination, it looses its grip on the masses. Under such conditions, the people can no longer take refuge in a ‘beyond’ projected as a celestial domain allowing escape from the here and now. Thus the political and the religious alienations intermerge as manifestation of one and the same entity. This is the moment when the critique of ‘heaven’ is transformed into a social critique of the contradictory reality on earth. What’s now widely understood as political fissures in the ranks of the established ruling circles are also reflected in widespread theological divides. This internal contradiction within religious thought has assumed the shape of the ‘theology of doubt’ among a formidable section of the clerics.
Political religion, a religion that thinks politically, has come to a certain selfunderstanding that it is the religion of domination. Some within the religious camp who are in the opposition and no longer want to continue with selfdeception, have now taken refuge in what they call ‘the pure Mohammdan Islam.” (Islam-eh nab-eh Mohammadi) Also prominent theologians, among them the renowned Abdulkarim Soroush 7, now want to free civil society from statereligion by advocating the freedom of religion. In a sense, they resemble the modern day Islamic Lutherans who recognize that theology itself has come to grief and, therefore, want to overcome the “faith in the authority by restoring the authority of faith.” Clearly then the religious consciousness has reached the moment of an internal combustion. All the more reason for the dominant clerical establishment, headed by the Supreme Leader, to relieve itself of this internal torment by safeguarding their power at all cost. Gone are the days of political play with the idea of ‘religious democracy.’ After the fiasco of the latest elections, their discourse on ‘legitimacy’ has now become just the claim of a direct link with ‘God’ as the sole source of political legitimacy! What is a whole lot more tangible on the streets, however, is that the ‘idealism’ of this hypocritical state is manifest in most materialistic of ways – the material display of the force of arms. Those who have pretended to be at war with the materialism of the modern world can only sustain their power with the most sophisticated modern technologies. But what’s become wholly transparent in the public consciousness is this: The ‘Islamic Republic’ has been stripped bare of its ideological religious shell and its worldly, practical kernel revealed as it has evolved into a security-militarypolice state. Therefore it is necessary to ask, as a theoretic question of the day, where does the new social critique start? Should the spectrum of forces that broadly identify themselves with ‘secularism’ start by a critique of religious consciousness in general or religion as such? Can we dissolve the secular problems into religious issues? How would those who don’t ascribe to religion any ‘heavenly’ origin, confront the earthly conflicts, and the discord pertaining to the content of Man’s life? Is the achievement of a secular society an end in itself?
[Continued on next pg]
Yet in the wake of this great ongoing upheaval, it is imperative not to limit our vision of the future and direct it into any narrow pathway; not only because desIII - Reaching for the Future: A Perspecpotism can also take a secular form now tive that it has been discredited in its religious “At the level of material production, we garb, but also because we have witnessed find the same how an epochal revolution 30 years ago situation that we find in religion at the got aborted when all the concrete and ideological level, namely the inversion of subject into object manifold demands for a new way of life after the overthrow of the Shah was comand vice versa.” pletely submerged under what was at the Marx, Capital; I: 990 time also a legitimate demand: ‘antiimperialism.’ Instead of rushing to seize Galileo, when summoned before the trion to an overriding general concept to bunal of the Inquisition, and told to rebox in the present moment, let’s try to fill tract his views under the threat of the that abstract generality with human conpunishment of a heretic, was forced to ab- tent; let us ask if we can meet the chaljure thus: “I, Galileo, who in my sixtieth lenge of our time with a fuller response year find myself in person before the court, that does not depart from the concrete. It kneeling and looking upon the holy Gosis precisely when we reach the threshold pels, which I touch with my hands, forof a new transition period that we are swear, abjure, and execrate with honest most in need of a new way of thinking. As heart and true faith, the preposterous, Hegel would say: “All revolutions in scifalse, and heretical doctrine of the motion of the earth.” 8 The despotic regime in Iran that denies its citizens freedom of conscience, freedom to think and even to worship, is not just the 21st century version of the inquisitors of the Middle Ages. It is far worse. It is more technologically advanced in its arsenal of torture, and in its use of modern media to deliver its message when it puts hundreds of political prisoners in front of the screens to abjure and recant. They ought to be reminded of the fate meted ences no less than the general history, out to the Shah when, just a short while originate only in this, that the spirit of before his downfall, he too had dared to man, for the understanding and compreput poets, writers and journalists on pub- hension of himself, for possessing of himlic trial! self, has now altered his categories, uniting This Behemoth that masqueraded under himself in a truer, more intrinsic relation the guise of ‘justice, freedom and virtue,’ with himself.” 9 to gain significance during the long hard Let’s take ‘Secularism’ as both a historical fought struggles against the Monarchy, movement and a theoretic category as the once in power, not only proved to be point of departure. At its birth it was cerevery bit as despotic as the Shah, but tainly the outcome of a widespread revocombined politics with a total ideology lution in manifold forms of science and that administers every aspect of people’s culture, which then gathered all those lives, public or private, while replacing shapes and forms into an ideal whole and the Monarch with the office of an unculminated in the Great French Revoluelected Absolute Leader whose command tion. It was this revolution that ushered in is Law. Under such tyranny, the desire for the modern age and drove religion out of political emancipation from state-religion political power and into the private has gained a near universal appeal. While realm. When the victorious secular the leaders of the reform movement are enlightenment dethroned religion, and yet to acknowledge the concrete nature of brought “the goods and furnishings of the this demand, there is no doubt about the Here and Now,” (Hegel, Ph of M, p. 512) it groundswell of popular opposition to was indeed a great leap forward. And yet politicalized Islam. Hence, of necessity the over 200 years later, we are now witnessdesire to be free from political religion ing not just the rise of political Islam in has assumed a secular form. Undoubtedly, the ‘East’ but also the invasion of the the call for de-Islamization of political and ‘public sphere’ by Christian fundamentalsocial relationships is being congealed ism in the ‘West.’ At the very least, it into a demand for a secular society. Being should point to an unresolved contradica legitimate aspiration, it is certainly a tion within the secular lineage that seems great step forward. It may perhaps indi- to have brought the world to a crosscate the next phase of the immediate fu- roads. ture. The contradictory heritage of secularism is also apparent from the fact that its off29
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spring, the modern world, has duplicated the religious alienation in an abstract community, which has turned Man into the servant and the plaything of external, material powers. Having once dissolved the religious world into its worldly foundation, it did not then explain or critique the cleavage within modernity by unmasking the human self-alienation in its material form. Moreover, the antithesis of faith and knowledge leaves the human content of knowledge unexplained. In appealing to the ‘right of reason’ and rational thought 10 against dogmatic faith, one cannot merely substitute the enlightened ‘I’ for the historic reason as it reaches to manifest itself at momentous historic turning points. This would at best reach the moment of the Cartesian ‘I think,’ that is, the stand point of the Individual set free from the bondage of pre-capitalist social relations where Man was shackled by rigid structures and his relationship to the world appeared as given and preordained. Thought here discovers the world as its creation and property. However, in opposing the empty absolute of established religion, this critical ‘I’ finds an unmediated relation to ‘truth’ as the antithesis. Only that which I discover in my own head has substantial validity. This is the abstract self-certainty of a subject that regards itself as independent. This ‘I’, as ‘infinite self-relation’, thus erects an insurmountable duality between the subject and the object, between the ‘I’ and the world; it has subordinated all determinations to itself. When developed into a ‘Will,’ even if the ‘I’ intends to will ‘the good,’ it produces the abstract negativity of a destructive attitude towards ‘faith,’ and demands the ‘abolition’ of religion! However, as Marx observed, religion was thereby banished from the spirit of the state and released as the spirit of civil society. “When man proclaims himself an atheist through the medium of the state, he is still captive to religion… Religion is merely the indirect recognition of man through a mediator. The state is the mediator between man and the freedom of man.” 11 In other words, it is possible for the political state to be free from religion without Man having become a free Man. What the French Revolution achieved was a political emancipation that “dissolved civil life into its constituent elements without revolutionizing those elements.” (Ibid) Henceforth, religion could no longer be considered to be the ground but only the manifestation of secular narrowness. That’s why Marx called atheism “the last stage of theism, the negative recognition of God.” 12 [Continued on next pg]
down world that the true human wealth becomes transformed into a pure abstraction, and fixated as such, it then appears in a entirely material form – i.e. money. What is of the greatest relevance for today is to grasp that Enlightenment, with Money thus becomes the equivalent of a its purely negative relation towards faith, universal divine power that transcends all religious divides. “The human, social act has a peculiar attitude to objectivity. It by which man’s products mutually comarrives at it through the medium of the object, but takes this object as an external plement one another is estranged from other, not as the objectification of human man and becomes the attribute of money, subjectivity. For enlightenment, actuality a material thing outside man…this alien mediator now becomes a real God.” 15 is a ‘thing’ abandoned by ‘spirit,’ as if it was not a moment in Man’s self-creation. Thus in upholding the indeterminate ob- Shouldn’t this analogy between religion and the alien character of the world of objectivity of the inanimate ‘empire of jects, make us rethink the concept of the things,’ it confirms what it merely condemns in faith; i.e. the presence of an un- ‘Secular’? This is especially critical in our mediated being as the un-knowable ‘thing age, when the vast empire of the Machines appear as ‘automatons’ with in itself.’ This then is the irrational moment in enlightenment when it becomes ‘occult’ ability to self-generate in perpetuity, presumably without the intervention the philosophic expression of the comof Man. Is not the modern man under the modity relations under modern capitaltheological spell of certain social relations ism, where the dead materiality dominates the living. Thus reaching its apex in that present itself as ‘eternal’ and im‘Utilitarianism’, as Hegel aptly observed. posed by the law of nature? What else is We are therefore compelled to ask: were this other than the religion of modernity? “It is faith” wrote Marx, “that brings salvathe imaginary flowers plucked from the chain so that Man shall bear the chain without the hope, consolation or the promise of ‘salvation’? Why then the secular enlightenment’s rejection of religious faith has not resulted in casting off Man’s chains and gathering the living flowers? Abstract secularism has proved to be incapable of serving as the call to abandon the wretched earthly conditions that generate “the vale of tears of which religion is the halo.” Instead, having profaned ‘all that is holy,’ and transformed both the priest and the scientist into the tion. Faith in money value as the immanent paid wage earners of the modern capital- spirit of commodities, faith in the mode of ist world, secularism appears to have only production and its predestined disposition, accentuated the inverted world from faith in the individual agents of production which emanates deification as well as rei- as mere personifications of self-valorizing fication. This is the condition which Marx capital.” 16 described as “Subjectification of objects, the reification of subjects, as reversal of That’s is why critique of religion as such, cause and effect, the religious quid pro or just the call for the separation of religquo.” 13 ion and state, important as that may be, leaves the social content of political religThe question becomes why “people place ion in its secular form, undefined. This in a thing the faith which they don’t place will, yet again, leave the movement unin each other,” to which Marx responds: prepared for what happens after the ex“obviously because that thing is an objecti- isting theocratic regime is overthrown. fied relation between persons, because in- Lets ask: are we now condemned to undividuals have alienated their own social dergo the vicissitudes of a secular capitalrelationship from themselves so that it istic development? How can we make takes the form of a thing.” 14 Where the sure that the struggles for freedom do not social relations between people is constop at political form of state but selfcealed beneath a material shell and takes develops into social emancipation? on the fantastic relation between things, there, these things having been awakened IV-Marx Enters Iran’s ‘Civil Society from the dead through human labor, far Revolution’ from being under their control, in fact hold them captive. It is also in this upside
From previous pg (State, Civil Society, and Social Emancipation )...
30 “All emancipation is the restoration of human world and the relationships of men themselves.” Marx 17 In the midst of Iran’s ‘storm and stress’, even as we are trying to avoid imposing any self-limiting view, such as a ‘Secular Republic’ or any other ‘Statist’ plan, on today’s mass movement, we see the emergence of a whole host of new theoretic tendencies born, in part, out of this new objective-subjective situation. At the same time, this new situation has made it possible for a plethora of old tendencies that for long had quietly withdrawn into themselves, to once again find room for self-expression. In particular, what has found traction among certain critical theologians as well as the secular Left is the notion of a ‘Post-Secular’ society purporting to close the divide between faith and reason. Thus, when Jurgen Habermas visited Iran to present a series of lectures on ‘PostSecular’ society, not only the turnout was massive, but among the participants were also a group of clergy who had traveled from Qom. As Habermas himself recalls, 18 they engaged in a lively debate that lasted long after the lectures were over. No doubt this ‘post-modern’ turn is a form of opposition to the travails of a technological world that appears to have assumed a life of its own, trampling under feet its own creators. It is a response to what’s perceived as modernity’s ‘spiritlessness.’ We are asked to believe that a supposedly pre -secular society such as Iran is poised for a leap into a ‘Post-Modern’ era. But what exactly does this post-modern idea denote? If civil society does not contain within itself any ‘spiritual’ element, how are we supposed to bridge the gap between ‘what is’ and ‘what ought to be’? Given the ‘soulless’ nature of actuality, wouldn’t thought, on this account, come to the negation of the actual only from without? If ‘spirit’ or human ‘subject’ is not immanent within the present, if it is not something that the world possesses implicitly, wouldn’t thought, their thought, become wholly external to reality, and its attempt to overcome the actual take the form of a jolt from the outside? Wouldn’t objectivity, once more, assume a purely negative character? In a world emptied of Subjects as self-conscious thinkers, do we not once again require ‘Emancipators’ whose task it is to lift up the sunken humanity? [Continued on next pg]
From previous pg (State, Civil Society, and Social Emancipation )... Post-Modernism does contain critical elements but as an alienated, unhappy form of consciousness, it appears to be a flight from the world. It is a ‘pure insight’ that does not appear to see the movement from practice as disclosing a form of reason, and thereby creating its own, a new, actuality. The post-modern thought may also carry within itself the germ of a ‘PostHumanist’ view that holds ‘Man’ responsible for disenchantment of ‘Nature.’ As such, it has the potential to turn into a new form of ‘transcendentalism’ that reunites with religion, an intuition that escapes from ‘here’ to the ‘yonder.’ What is urgent is to appreciate the maturity and the wealth of the concrete in today’s social movement that is still at the beginning stages of its selfdevelopment. This movement will stagnate if we dwell in the ‘beyond’ or if its primary demands at present are petrified in programmatic utterances that wants to establish a ‘lowest common denominator’ as a unifying principle. 19 Such calls are rooted in formal identity that does not see the ‘End’ in the ‘Beginning,’ that is, it fails to grasp that in itself, this movement, even in ‘embryo,’ contains the whole implicitly. Instead, under the compulsion of present reality, let us continue our struggles through open dialogue and public discourse, let us reach for an idea that could provide theoretic expression to the manifold shapes and the diversity of the spontaneous forms of the movement from practice. Theory is a material force if it becomes concrete and total, if it is wholly internal, and develops to the point where it becomes the self-expression of the movement by making it objective to itself. Then theory itself becomes a mediating form that allows the movement to acquire explicit self-identity and become selfdirected, even as it goes through all the challenging but necessary phases of its self-development. Theory is a hard taskmaster, it cannot be ‘intuited’ or be directly known. It too requires continuous self-development. It cannot lay hold of any fixed conceptions and acquire meaning through readymade postulates. Hence, it is in need of Method. Just as there is a dialectics of liberation in a self-reflective, self-producing historic movement, so too in a theory of liberation. Otherwise the tree of life will always be green while theory remains grey. So, with our mind gazed on the ground from which the present historic moment has emerged, let’s turn to Marx as he originally articulated his philosophy as a ‘New Humanism,’ to see if it can help illuminate 31
the present reality. Marx conceived ‘Civil Society’ as ‘active force’ that does possess ‘its own mind,’ but is self-divided. Its ‘self-determination’ is a process, the movement of all the essential elements within its contradictory reality. His departure point is what he calls ‘the actual mind’ with ‘the universal end as its content,’ and various powers as its mode of self-actualization. With ‘real subjects’ as the foundation, or civil society’s ground, he then examines their objectification. Here, rationality “consists in the reason of the actual person achieving actuality,” (Critique, p.27) and objectification is “the actualization, the activity of subjective freedom.” (Ibid, p. 63) Marx, of course, completely agrees with Hegel’s articulation of civil society as de-
veloped in the Phenomenology of Mind as well as the Philosophy of Right. Indeed, he argued, that such elaborations by Hegel contain “all elements of criticism” and are “already prepared and worked out in a manner far surpassing the Hegelian standpoint.” 20 In Hegel, wrote Marx, the process of self-creation is “the absolute and hence the final expression of human life which has itself as its goal.” (Ibid) Specifically, Hegel understood civil society as the sphere of the ‘war of all against all.’ In it the general interest is the generality of self-seeking interests. Here, “the moment of liberation intrinsic to work” remains abstract – ‘formal freedom’ – because “the particularity of the ends remains their basic content.” (Ph. of R, p.128) In civil society, what Hegel calls the ‘system of ethical order’ is split into extremes and lost, it is outside of itself, it is ‘the material’ or ‘the external state.’ Thus the ‘commonwealth’ or the ‘social moment’ consists of a mass of antithetical particularities. It is still in the stage of division, and is based on necessity, or what Hegel calls ‘the system of needs.’ Both Hegel and Marx understood that with the advent of the Modern World, there emerged for the first time a differentiation between the ‘political state’ and
civil society. In fact, civil society as such did not exist in the Middle Ages. Then, the private sphere was directly political. The French Revolution was the final act in transformation of the political classes into social classes. It made the class distinctions into a non-political division pertaining only to private life. With that, says Marx, “the separation of political life and civil society was completed.” (Critique, p.80) Here, “the individual members of a people are equal in the heaven of their political world yet unequal in the earthly existence of society.” Political life, therefore, is “life in the air, the ethereal region of civil society.” (Ibid) As a result, the citizen of the state and the member of civil society are also separated. There is an essential schism within the individual between a political citizen and a private man. The perfected political state is man’s abstract existence as opposed to his material existence. In civil society, therefore, “individual existence is the final end, while activity, labor, content, etc., are merely means.” (Ibid, p.81) Individualism is its reigning principle. Where the political state has achieved its full development, “man leads a double life… In the political community he regards himself as a communal being; but in civil society he is active as a private individual.” 21 In this state of need, “the sole bond holding them together is natural necessity, need and private interest, the preservation of their property and their egotistic selves.” (Ibid, CW: 3:164) Modern world separates man’s objective essence from him, taking it to be external and material. Man’s content is not taken to be his true actuality. It does not “regard the individual as a communal individual, as a communal being.” (Critique, p.81) Both Hegel and Marx perceive the two principles of the Particular and the Universal as ‘self-subsistent;’ they have “fallen apart, yet both are still reciprocally bound together and conditioned.” (Ph. of R, p.267) The end is the reconciliation of the particular and the universal. But in civil society, where individuals are ‘burghers or bourgeois,’ their end is “mediated through the universal which thus appears as means.” (Ibid, p.124) But when needs and means become abstract quality, abstraction is also the character of the reciprocal relation of individuals to one another. Here, the ‘social reason’ asserts itself in the form of an abstract universality behind the backs of the individual members of society. [Continued on next pg]
From previous pg (State, Civil Society, and struggles and deepen the dialogue on the idea of freedom, we also must recollect the liberatSocial Emancipation )... What Marx calls a ‘rational state’ (Critique, p.117) or a ‘true state’ (Ibid, p.50) is ‘the whole of a peoples existence” (Ibid p.79) as opposed to their political existence. To be fair, Hegel’s ‘Ethical State’ too is irreducible to a merely political state. But with Marx, this ‘state’ is not an external unifier, for the duality between man as ‘citoyen’ and as ‘bourgeois’ cannot be mediated, because, as he put it “ the one does not carry in its womb the yearning, the need, the anticipation of the other.” To him, “man is more than the citizen and the human life more than political life.” 22 What the French Revolution accomplished was to break up civil society into its constituent parts without revolutionizing these components. That is, while it released the ‘political spirit’ it failed to set free the material and the spiritual elements constituting the civil society. Therefore, the political state is founded on “the organized antithesis between the universal idea and the individual existence.” (Ibid, p.357) Where this political organization assumes its highest strength, there, ‘the slavery of civil society’ becomes complete. Thus while the ‘political emancipation’ is a big step forward, it cannot be regarded as the final form of human emancipation. In ‘political democracy’, man is the sovereign, but only as a man “who has lost himself, been alienated, and been handed over to the rule of inhuman conditions and elements – in short, man who is not yet a real species-being.” (CW: 3:159) What Marx refers to as ‘a true democracy,’ (Critique, p.31, my emphasis) is “the first true unity of the particular and the universal,” (Ibid, p.30) where the formal and the material principles coincide. The fundamental characteristic of ‘Democracy’ is one in which man has ‘a human existence, while in the other forms, he has only a legal existence. “ (Ibid) In democracy, the abstract state has ceased to be the governing moment; it is both content and form. Hence, concludes Marx, “In a true democracy, the political state disappears.” (Ibid) What is so new and unique with Marx is that by staying close to the concrete (“people alone is the concrete” Ibid. p.28), he can discover Man’s ‘communal spirit’ within civil society not as an abstraction over against the individual but with freedom of the individual as its precondition. “The individual is the social being,” 23 exclaimed Marx. It is such a spirit that’s been released into new spontaneous forms of social solidarity in today’s libratory struggles in Iran. It never fails that during such times, civil society reaches a whole new moment of selfrecognition, when suddenly it appears that the division within man between the public and the private individual has broken down in a new sense of community. At its high point, the emancipatory movement becomes a great force that has not yet alienated from itself its social content in the form of an abstract whole, either as a monolithic political Party or a State power. As we continue our
ing experience of the 1979 Revolution together with its monstrous aftermath. How can we help avoid yet another unfinished revolution? Will all the creative energies of people released today get hardened into a purely political force that would just aim at the overthrow of a particular form of state power or will it continue until we can finally achieve full freedom? “Only when the actual, individual man has taken back into himself the abstract citizen… when he has recognized and organized his own powers as social powers so that social force is no longer separated from him as political power, only then is human emancipation complete.” 24 October 4, 2009 Footnotes: 1 – The Phenomenology of Mind, Baillie translation, hereafter: Ph of M 2 - Danny Postel, ‘Iran and the Future of Liberalism,’ http://www.theliberal.co.uk/ issue_12/politics/iran_postel.1_12.html 3 - http://www.forusa.org/programs/iran/ march07report2part2.html 4 - http://www.roozonline.com/english/ interview/article/2009/january/27 5 - http://globalpost.com/print/3636975 6 - Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Introduction, p.131, Joseph O’malley translation, hareafter: Critique 7 - http://www.drsoroush.com/English.htm 8 – Quoted in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, p.172, Knox translation, hereafter: Ph of R 9 – Hegel, Philosophy of Nature, Introduction, p.11 10 - Soroush, http://www.eurozine.com/ articles/2007-03-30-soroush-en.html# 11 - ‘On the Jewish Question, Karl Marx Collected Works, Vol. 3, p.152. Hereafter: CW 12 - The Holy Family, CW: 4:110 13 – Theories of Surplus Value, 3:494 14 - Grundrisse, p. 160 15 - Marx, The 1844 Economic-Philosophic Manuscripts, CW; 3:212 16 – Capital, 3:727, my emphasis 17 - ‘On the Jewish Question,’ CW; 3: 168 18 - http://www.pubtheo.com/page.asp? pid=1073 19 - Mousavi’s Statement # 11, http:// english.mowjcamp.com/article/id/26763 20 - ‘Critique of the Hegelian dialectics,’ CW; 3: 342. See also Writings of the young Marx on Philosophy and Society, Translated by Easton, p.332 21 - ‘On the Jewish Question’; CW: 3: 154 22 – ‘The King of Prussia and Social Reform,’ Writings of young Marx… Easton, p.356 23 – The 1844 Economic-Philosophic Manuscripts, CW; 3: 299 24 - Marx, ‘On the Jewish Question,’ CW: 3:168)
THE LEGEND: NEDA Neda was swinging Swinging in the garden of heaven Neda was swinging While mom baking a cake But the sky, but the sky Suddenly blue turned into grey Bird's flying as military planes The gunner's hand Do you know the gunners hand? Neda was blooming Hello my blooming rose Hello my little victim Hello my eternal red rose Wild gun…in hand Wild trigger…goes bang Your bullet drowns in my veins These veins moan memorial pains I'm a pain of war I'm a pain of revolution The only theme I'm hearing Is an empty swing The empty swing… The empty swing… Poet: Bahare Sh