Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Lies, Deception, and the Washington Post
When the so-called reformers swept to power in Iran in 1997, many were hopeful that they would use their position to embolden and empower the Iranian people in their struggle against the tyranny, while taming the oppressors and convincing them to yield to the will of the people. The irony was that the so-called reformers did exactly the opposite: they tried to put restraint on people's growing unease and dissatisfaction by scaring them of the let loose hardliner boogeyman. In some cases they even blamed the victims for going too far beyond the "capacity" and "red lines" of the reform movement. People not intimately familiar with Iranian affairs may think that the "extremism" they were warning people against was something like armed struggle against the regime. Not exactly. Akbar Ganji was labeled extreme by his own friends for his investigative journalism regarding the killings of several dissident intellectuals. He was specifically blamed for his criticism of Rafsanjani by Masoud Behnoud who claims to be a reformist journalist. Batebi was called extremist for posing with the bloody Tshirt of a friend who was beaten up by regime thugs.

The same cast of characters are now extending a similarly twisted logic to blame Bush, or stupid George as shamelessly phrased by former reformist journalist Emadedin Baghi, for his so far moral support of the Iranian people. But this time around they are getting prime time coverage from Karl Vick and David Finkel of the Washington Post to perpetuate their lies and deception.

Messrs. Vick and Finkel join Baghi to blame Bush for the arrest/interrogation of Baghi's wife, his daughter, and an amiable mullah by the name Ali Afsahi. Their crime? Attending a workshop on human rights and non-violent movements 16 months ago, which by the way they characterized as a rip-off at the time. Bush administration's crime? Asking Congress to approve $85M to support the cause of democracy in Iran 16 months later! If there is any moral to this story, it tells us that the Bush administration should find ways of pushing much more forcefully for democracy in Iran if they are serious about it. Of course Karl Vick and David Finkel's conclusion is quite different. For them the sweetest part of the story is probably when Baghi calls Bush stupid George. More interestingly they mention closure of 100 publications in 2000 by the hardliners. About the same time, Ganji and many other activists go to jail (even initially sentenced to death) for attending a conference in Berlin. At that time there was no stupid George in the White House to offer $85M for the cause of democracy. The only thing the White House had to offer then was Madam Albright's appeasement of the mullahs.

We all understand that Baghi loves his wife and daughter. But so does the jailed dissident Mehrdad Heydarpour who can only dream about his 4-year old daughter Mahtab behind bars. For Karl Vick, David Finkel, and Emadedin Baghi's information, Mr. Heydarpour received no training in non-violent movements or any money from the White House.

We should focus on real agents of change. The true freedom fighters can be found among the brave young people who signed the manifest "A letter from Iranian students to the freedom-loving people of the world." Unlike Baghi, they need and appreciate help and support from all freedom loving people of the world, even from Mr. Vick and Mr. Finkel.


Blogger Iranian Woman said...

This is a great post. Thank You!

6:46 AM  

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