Saturday, January 23, 2010
So much has happened since I last posted and there is so much to talk about. However, the most important thing about today is that it would've been Neda Agha-Soltan's 27th birthday.
Her story is one of the most poignant regarding the Iranian election and resulting protests. The thing that gets me is that she had not yet participated in the protests the day she was murdered. She was on her way to protest, asking for rights that so many people around the world are born with and take for granted. In both November and December, the Iranian government and its supporters desecrated her grave - twice.
Oxford has since set up a scholarship for philosophy, her field of study, in Neda's name - something the Iranian government protested.
Her fiance is speaking out now about her death and how he thinks Iranians should handle it.
According to some twitter friends in Iran, people seem to be gathering at Neda's grave, only to be stopped and surrounded by the Basij.
This young woman only wanted peace and human rights - something that myself and others continue to speak out on. Today I urge you all to honor Neda through action and thought - think about the rights you have as you go through your day, take time out to remember her and what she believed in and ultimately died for.
Friday, January 8, 2010
After this story, we better not.
So some Hamas people fired mortar rounds along the border of Gaza and Israel. I'm obviously not going to condone their use of violence, but I think given the circumstances it is understandable. You kick me out of my house and stick me in a ghetto (gasp!) and I'm probably not going to be happy. Add to that that you want to make it so my six hour school day takes a seventeen hour round trip because of all the checkpoints... or tell me I can't take my dying loved one to the hospital today... I think people don't understand the severity of the situation in Gaza and the West Bank.
Also, from the story above,
And that's over a thousand Palestinians for every Israeli killed. Can that be justified?
Thursday, January 7, 2010
I have no blue how it took this long, but some guest at CNN finally got their head of their butt and figured out what was going on with these Iranian pro-government rallies. The most recent rallies that occurred have, according to several of my twitter sources, been staged. Those who work for the government were forced to participate in these shams of rallies as a part of their jobs or face unemployment and worse.
If you want to see some heated debates, scroll down to the comments section of that CNN story.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
USA Today has a story up today on the prevalence of children as sex offenders (h/t to Marcella Chester). According to the story, 36% of sexual offenders are children, with a whopping 93% of them being boys. Girls are often involved in these activities at younger ages.
I was five when the six year old girl we took care of began to abuse me. For the longest time, I didn't know how to handle what had happened. It occurred to me, though, that she was probably abused by someone else - most likely an adult because of things that were going on in her life. As a child, you don't know how to handle that sort of thing and lash out against other people... or you are lead to believe that this is what constitutes love, which can mess up the rest of your life.
It is hard for me to reconcile my feelings on the sex offender list with the experiences I have had. Because she was probably abused, it isn't right to put her on the sex offender list. However, this doesn't downplay the problems that the abuse has caused me in my life.
How can I feel like I have justice?
Well, I really can't. The only thing I can do is go forward and try to move on. What happened to me and other children in similar situations was not our fault and it wasn't "innocent exploration." As hard as it is, you have to try and make peace with what happened to you, learn what you can from it, and be a better person because of your experiences.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
In keeping with the topic of Iran, please visit the Struggle for a Free Iran site. They have a list of people killed and detained since the beginning of the protests also.
Also, visit the Iran Daily Newspaper site. It will have a pro-government spin, no doubt, but is an interesting source of information.
If you're planning on visiting Iran (which is being discouraged for obvious reasons), check this site out. The tagline is my favorite: "Welcome to Iran, the Land of Civilized and Friendly People." This is true for the majority of the population - those not in control.
This site has anything you'd ever want to know about the Iranian flag.
Oh, and don't forget to take a look at the Iranian Constitution. Not only is it interesting to read what they have to say about other religions in their country, but it's odd to see the changes in how this constitution has been used (or not) since June. Torture is forbidden as is arresting people without a proper lawful cause. I wonder if anyone has legitimately claimed asylum in Iran.
Monday, January 4, 2010
It is always interesting to look back on the previous year and the changes that we have experienced. None of these changes are more important - or dangerous - than those faced by Iranian civilians. Here is just a short look at what has happened there since June.
- June 13 - Re-election of M. Ahmadinejad causes riots and protests in Iran by supporters of Mousavi; people protest throughout the world in the next few days on behalf of Iranians
- June 14 - Pro-Ahmadinejad supporters line the streets; some video of this and future pro-government rallies shown however are actually videos of green protests; Mousavi files a formal appeal to the government asking for a recount of the votes
- June 15 - Mousavi joins the public in protest, despite warnings that this would be illegal and he could face serious consequences
- June 17 - Iranian soccer players wear green wristbands and are later suspended for doing so; Ebrahim Yazdi, former foreign minister and Sec-Gen of the Freedom Movement of Iran, arrested at hospital while undergoing tests
- During the above time period, the University at Tehran was attacked by government forces, causing the detainment of over 200 students and the beating of hundreds more; foreign news crews were ordered to leave the country and news began to filter out through social networking sites like YouTube, Facebook, and the newly popular Twitter; several international news agencies had their offices attacked and raided; government forces tried to shut down SMS and the internet, yet the people were still able to get word out to the world; the US State Department begins to assist the Iranian people in gaining access to shut down websites; hundreds of reformists and protesters are arrested along with several foreign news personnel; protesters taken to hospitals also have possibility of being arrested, so wounded hold up in makeshift hospitals
- June 19 - The Ayatollah says that Ahmadinejad's victory is a divine sign and told protesters they would no longer be tolerated; in the face of the Ayatollah's words, protests (albeit on a smaller scale) occurred
- June 20 - Neda Agha-Soltan's murder is captured on video, fueling the fire lit by green revolutionaries
- June 22 - Tear gas and more force is used by the Basij to clear up protests; Ebrahim Yazdi sent back to hospital for medical procedure and later released
- June 29 - a "recount" of the votes is held, with the council in charge saying the Ahmadinejad still wins
- July 15 - Caspian Airlines Flight 7908 crashes in Iran, killing all on board. Some think this is a ploy by the government to distract and quiet protesters
- August 5 - Ahmadinejad sworn in again, though he can hear protesters shouting "death to the dictator" outside of the Parliament
- August 11 - Iranian government confirms the detainment of over 4,000 persons in connection with protests
- September 18 - Quds Day; large protest held
- November 4 - 13th of Aban; large protest held
- December 7 - Iranian Students Day; large protest held
- December 26 & 27 -Ashura-related protests held; Ashura commemorates martyrdom and gratitude to God; you can find more here and here
- December 27 - Seyyed Ali Mousavi, Mousavi's nephew, is killed; his body is kept from the family for quite some time before finally being released; Mousavi anticipates his death in the next coming days
- December 28 - Ebrahim Yazdi re-arrested
So far five people have been killed via trials on charges of orchestrating the revolution and exposing human rights violations.
Women have experienced a huge revolution themselves within the Green Revolution. Feminism is alive in Iran.
Let's hope that the new year brings with it a sense of peace for the citizens in Iran.