The human rights outrage in Iran…and a challenge to Rosie O’Donnell and her ilk Update: The NYTimes backs away
Updated and bumped
Originally posted June 24, 2007 @ 06:30am
Today I am joining blogs Gateway Pundit, Ali Eteraz, and Iran Focus in reprinting the latest batch of Iranian repression photos being distributed by the regime’s state-run FARS News agency and ISNA. The innocent young men in the photos were beaten, humiliated, and arrested for wearing Western clothing and hairstyles. It is in the public interest to spread these photos far and wide. The images should be seared onto the global conscience:
Question: Will these photos be blared across the front pages of the international media with as much disgust and condemnation as the photos of Abu Ghraib or the manufactured Gitmo Koran-flushing riots?
Answer: Fat chance.
Question: What do leftist apologists for the Iranian regime have to say about the brutal, appalling, and escalating crackdown on human rights? Yeah, you, Rosie.
Question: Will the same moral cowards who sat silently while Mohammad Khatami, former President of Iran, advocated executing gays during a Harvard lecture stand up now against this barbarism?
Answer: Of course not.
The latest wave of repression has been going on for months. No one, not even Khatami himself, has been spared scrutiny. Now, the New York Times finally
(a rare note of thanks and praise to them) reports* ( see update below):
Young men wearing T-shirts deemed too tight or haircuts seen as too Western have been paraded bleeding through Tehran’s streets by uniformed police officers who force them to suck on plastic jerrycans, a toilet item Iranians use to wash their bottoms. In case anyone misses the point, it is the official news agency Fars distributing the pictures of what it calls “riffraff.” Far bloodier photographs are circulating on blogs and on the Internet.
The country’s police chief boasted that 150,000 people — a number far larger than usual — were detained in the annual spring sweep against any clothing considered not Islamic. More than 30 women’s rights advocates were arrested in one day in March, according to Human Rights Watch, five of whom have since been sentenced to prison terms of up to four years. They were charged with endangering national security for organizing an Internet campaign to collect more than a million signatures supporting the removal of all laws that discriminate against women.
Eight student leaders at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University, the site of one of the few public protests against Mr. Ahmadinejad, disappeared into Evin Prison starting in early May. Student newspapers had published articles suggesting that no humans were infallible, including the Prophet Muhammad and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The National Security Council sent a stern three-page warning to all the country’s newspaper editors detailing banned topics, including the rise in gasoline prices or other economic woes like possible new international sanctions, negotiations with the United States over the future of Iraq, civil society movements and the Iranian-American arrests.
So what does Amnesty International USA have to say about the Iranian human rights debacle on its homepage today? Nothing. Instead, the site promotes two campaigns for Darfur and a lead story about the campaign to secure habeas corpus rights for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay:
A challenge to Rosie and Amnesty International USA members and America’s progressive left (I know there are a few on the story, but they are far between): How about taking a day off from Bush-bashing and America-blaming to raise your voices against the mullahcracy’s brutal human rights abuses?
How about posting the FARS/ISNA photos on your blogs and calling attention to the innocent Iranian men being bloodied to a pulp for the crime of embracing Western dress?
Or how about spreading the word about the work of Nazanin Afshin Jam on behalf of Iranian minors sentenced by sharia courts to death for defending themselves against rape or for crimes against “chastity?”
Or how about joining the campaign to stop public stonings?
Or how about embedding these videos so that the cries of Iranian women and girls don’t go unheard:
Here. Let me put this in haiku form so even left-wing poet laureate Rosie O’Donnell can understand:
Stifling of dissent
Massive crackdown on freedom
Blame mullahs, not Bush.
And to answer commenter John: No. This is not about calling for war. It’s about confronting reality, exposing the threat of sharia, and calling out libs who pay lip service to human rights only when America is accused of violating them.
The Corner’s Iran news round-up is here.
Update: The NYTimes has curiously removed its lead photo and removed the paragraphs I quoted. In an “editor’s note,” the paper says:
A front-page article yesterday described a crackdown in Iran that has included the jailing of three Iranian-Americans, repression or intimidation of nongovernment organizations pressing for broader legal rights, warnings to newspaper editors against articles on banned topics, arrests of advocates for women’s rights and of student leaders, and the detention of 150,000 people for wearing clothing considered not Islamic.
The headline over the article said that Iran was cracking down on dissent and “parading examples” in the streets, and one paragraph in the article also said that young men detained for wearing tight T-shirts or western-style haircuts had been “paraded bleeding through Tehran’s streets by uniformed police officers.” The Times caption on an official Iranian news agency photograph that ran with the article said that it showed a police officer punishing a young man in public for wearing un-Islamic clothing by forcing him to suck on a plastic container normally used for intimate hygiene, a punishment the article also asserted was for that offense.
But the man in the photograph, according to widespread Iranian news reports, was one of more than 100 people arrested recently on charges of being part of a gang that had committed rapes, robberies, forgeries and other crimes. The caption published on the Web site of the news agency, Fars, had said only that the man was being punished as part of a roundup of “thugs” in a Tehran neighborhood.
The current repression has made reporting in Iran difficult. In this case, The Times relied on an interview with a researcher for a nongovernment agency that no longer operates within Iran who said the photograph was evidence of a more visible police role in public crackdowns on what the authorities consider immoral behavior. The reporter then wrongly interpreted what the researcher said as applying to a crackdown on dress, and incorporated the erroneous interpretation into the body of the article, without giving any indication of the source for it.
These errors could have been avoided with more rigorous editing. The article should not have said that young men had been paraded through the streets for wearing un-Islamic dress, and the headline over it should not have said that dissenters were being paraded as part of the crackdown.
So now they will take the word of the repressive Iranian regime and its state-run “news reports” over dissident groups and citizen reports. Here is what Iran Focus reported last month when it published some of the FARS/ISNA photos:
Iran’s State Security Forces (SSF) are clamping down on youths across the country.
Residents in Tehran say that bogus charges are being used as justification for the arrest of political activists and those perceived to be potential threats to the security of the clerical establishment.
One Tehran resident reached by telephone told Iran Focus that thousands of youths had been arrested on “phoney charges” such as non-conformance to the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code or even drug trafficking. “Maybe less than one percent of those arrested have actually done something illegal. The rest are being picked up at random for socialising in public or looking at the security forces in a certain manner”, the resident said on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
Kamangir reports that the crimes included drugs, alcohol, and selling satellite dishes.
After looking at the photos, watching the videos embedded here of women being dragged off the streets for un-Islamic dress, and re-reading the past coverage of the ongoing crackdown, I’ll let you decide which interpretation is more accurate.
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