Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Perils of Blogging in Iran

It's one thing to see Rick Steve's travel specials of Iran and another to hear stories of the horrors of the Islamic Republic's authoritarian regime. The Wall Street Journal has a story about Iranian bloggers and what they face, for simply giving their opinion.
"When you express your dissatisfaction in a civil way and you're faced with physical violence and cruelty, you realize the baseness of the equation," Mr. Sanjari tells me, explaining the impulses that animated his dissent. "The moment you go to prison is when you realize you are in the right. And when you see what nefarious people the regime has to break you is when you feel the need to fight back."

Between prison terms Mr. Sanjari headed the Association of Political Prisoners, which follows more than 500 known cases in Iran. About Mirsayafi, he says that when his fellow blogger "found out that he had been summoned to court and that he may end up with a prison sentence, he wrote an email to friends. He said he felt powerless to withstand what torture he would have to face in prison. He also told a mutual friend that he did not think he would survive the imprisonment. He was well aware of the fact that they wanted to do away with him."


"Mr. President, you marked your first day in the White House by ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison. But in our country, many Guantanamos exist, only our Guantanamos are home to students, women's rights activists, labor organizers, political activists, and journalists. We, as former student activists who spent time in Iranian prisons under inhumane conditions, call on you and all those who defend human rights, freedom and equality to express solidarity to the people of Iran as they wage their struggle for freedom."

It's too bad that Obama didn't go directly to the Iranian people in his speech and mention these persecuted people. Underline the importance of free speech, and the need to demand that from their govenment. Instead he gave the Iranian government too much respect.

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