Archive for March, 2010

The real face of Iran must be known

March 26, 2010

I’m going to be on my way to Tijuana, Mexico in a matter of hours, but I have some strong emotions about Iran I would like to transfer to the blogosphere first.

Mousavi supporters rally in Tehran

As I write this, I wonder to myself if society has become so deformed and deranged that human beings have lost touch with one another…we have forgotten that we are all one people who share the same world. I’m thinking this because I am repulsed by the news that has been coming out of Iran lately. It looks like the world is intent on watching the aging Islamic theocracy in that country dismantle its younger generation piece by piece, whether its hauling a student off to a Sharia Court and labeling him an enemy of God, raping a young woman, or busing rural, uneducated fundamentalists into Tehran to make it seem as if the establishment maintains any degree of credibility, as was done with February’s pro-revolution rally. Even many months after the June elections, Iranians have managed to come out into the streets, risking everything, to show the world that they are not one with Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. Today, there is a very clear line between Iran and the government holding it hostage. The two are NOT one in the same.

Meanwhile, what is happening in response? Clueless American leftists remain lost in the Vineyard, the right is throwing a tantrum over healthcare, the Arabs in the Middle East remain silent, Europe does business as usual, and the President of the United States would rather make childish, fiercely partisan jokes about his opposition at home. Its shameful and embarrassing, all of it.

I suppose there is only so much I can ask from my country and the rest of the world to help the people of Iran. If nothing else, I just wish that the UN, Obama, and the international community would realize that the young people of Iran — who make up 70 percent of its population — are the face of that country, not the “Marg bar Amreeka!” rallies featuring the bearded mullahs and their dwindling sympathizers. Ahmadinejad is not the elected leader of Iran…the government is illegitimate and not worthy of any international recognition…working with him as a head of state is an insult to those who have died trying to stand up against him.

Since the elections…or moreover, since I began meeting Iranians, I have refused to use the name of the country, “Iran”, in reference to actions taken by Khamenei or any of his thugs. If only the UN could do the same, it would call the regime out and there would be no sanctions or violence required.

Neda’s fiance visits Israel

March 23, 2010

There is more news on the Iranian election front. Although, what has been happening in Iran these last few months has gone far beyond a fraudulent election.

Those of you who, like me, have supported the rights of the Iranian people will remember the horror of watching this video, when Neda Agha Soltan was shot dead by a Basiji militiaman in Tehran.

Well, this happened last week:

The fiancé of Neda Agha-Soltan, who was killed during protests in Teheran following the Iranian elections last year, visited Israel as guest of Channel 2, the station reported Friday evening.

Soltan’s death was caught on a video widely disseminated through the Internet and on news outlets, and she has become a symbol of the Iranian opposition.

Caspian Makan was tortured by the Iranian government and escaped to Canada following Neda’s death.

He had said his dream was to come to Israel.

Now, that Makan landed here, he will have the honor of meeting President Shimon Peres.

“I have come here out of the brotherhood of nations,” Makan told Channel 2.

“Neda was just a voice that yearned for freedom. In the name of this cause she joined the protesters and this is why she was murdered by agents of the regime,” Makan said.

“I was arrested six days after Neda’s murder, because I exposed crimes committed by the regime,” a weary-looking Makan said.

In trembling voice, Makan said there was hope for change in Iran. “The Iranian people is aware of the rights its being denied. Today the Iranian people is steadfast to achieve victory and to overthrow the current regime.”

Makan said he hoped for an Iran “where no man comes against his fellow man, with no more executions, no more war, no more murder.”

Asked what he would tell Neda if he knew she could hear him, Makan said “I will continue along her path. Her path was the path of freedom, not just for Iranians but for the whole world.

“Love for mankind was part of [Neda’s] being,” Makan said.

On a Facebook thread I noticed sympathizers of Iran’s bloody theocracy and fraudulent government labeling Makan a “traitor”. How someone could even come to such a reprehensible conclusion, I do not know. Makan’s fiance, Neda, was killed by the Iranian government…subsequently, the government also tortured and threatened him. I do not understand any conceivable way a visit to Israel would make him a “traitor”, since Israel has never attacked Iran or threatened the security of the Iranian people. The only reason Israel has been drawn into the mess is because Ahmadinejad and his puppet masters would rather threaten the Jewish State than satisfy the needs of their people, including their right to choose their leader, who should be Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Khamenei and Ahmadinejad use Israel as an excuse to hold onto their power…and routinely demonize the Jewish State as a boogeyman to justify their sadistic actions. Israel has other things to answer for in the Middle East (far away from Iran), but anyone who thinks that an Iranian is a traitor for siding with Israel over their murderous government is delusional or brainwashed by the hate spewed out from Qom and more importantly, does not have the interests of the people of either country at heart.

Makan and Neda are heroes…may their courage inspire the freedom that Iran deserves.

Africa builds a new foundation

March 5, 2010

There is good news in the world, according to an editorial that appeared in Pakistan’s DAWN Newspaper. It’s nice to report this, especially in light of the Chilean earthquake and its zone of destruction. However, this good news is on the other side of the Atlantic.

An evening in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city

Africa’s Poverty level is falling, ushering in what could become a new chapter for the continent. While ongoing rebel attacks in Somalia and resurgent violence in Darfur continue to lead the headlines, its possible that the major players in a developing Africa, like Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa,  will follow in the footsteps of India and Brazil, which are becoming more and more prominent on the international stage.

This was published in the DAWN Newspaper on Friday. I wanted to post it because the world needs to hear good news right now.

Africa’s Poverty Rate is Falling:

By Larry Elliott

FOR decades, it has been seen as the world’s lost continent. Now, a new study says that the view of Africa as a basket case is wrong.

As the continent prepares to welcome thousands of international football fans for the World Cup in June, it seems the image of an economically vibrant region the hosts are keen to project is closer to the truth than tired stereotypes suggest.

Xavier Sala-i-Martin and Maxim Pinkovskiy, two US-based academics, find that in the 10 years before the credit crunch began, poverty rates fell rapidly and inequality declined right across the continent.

They say that it is time to stop feeling so gloomy about the prospects for Africa, which they claim may meet the Millennium Development Goal target, of halving the number of people living on $1 a day, ahead of the 2015 deadline.

“Our results show that the conventional wisdom that Africa is not reducing poverty is wrong. In fact, since 1995, African poverty has been falling steadily,” the authors say. “Moreover, contrary to the commonly held idea that African growth is largely based on natural resources and helps only the rich and well-connected, we show that a great deal of this growth has accrued to the poor.”

The findings in the report, published by America’s National Bureau of Economic Research, contradict the views of the World Bank and the United Nations, which established the millennium goals in 1990.

Hopefully the work cited by these two authors is true. Its time for Africa to join ranks with the industrialized world, since its people are so hardworking and in many cases, are essential in today’s global economy. Earlier, I picked up a copy of Homeland by George Obama…where the President’s brother shares his stories of life in Nairobi’s slums. Maybe the children who are living there now will have a future where their country transforms itself.