Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Akbar Ganji as a Dissident

Akbar Ganji, according to the NY Sun, will do more to move the case for democracy forward than any polititian has in the past 8 years of "Reformers.” In a letter to Mr. Soroush, Mr. Ganji stated:
"It saddens me considerably to see some who are under the impression that it is possible to confront the Sultanist system by cautious words about democracy and free speech, and to make the transition to a democratic system this way,"
There are some who do not see his political martyrdom as a purification of past sins.
...the chairman of the Los Angeles-based Iranians for a Secular Republic accused the writer of placing thumb tacks in the foreheads of unveiled women.

"We cannot remain indifferent in the face of your project of purifying the image of the murderous Ayatollah Khomenei on which you and your colleagues have been working on for several years," Roozbeh Farahanipour wrote.
Of course, this is being denied by the government. However, there are some human rights organizations that are accepting of his change of heart.
"What distinguishes Ganji is his moral and intellectual integrity," a historian and human rights advocate, Ladan Boroumand, said in an interview last week. "We are a generation dominated by the Marxist Leninism and the goal justifies the means mentality. But Ganji has evolved as an intellectual and in doing this he has revived the tradition of Shapur Bakhtiar," she said, referring to the former Iranian president.
Mr. Ganji spoke at the University of Shiraz in 1997. The topic was titled, "The Fascist Interpretation of Religion and Government." He compared the ideology of the Islamic Republican to Benito Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany. His focus was on the deterioration of an individual's rights to the point of non-existence. This led to him getting arrested and serving time in prison. This was his first arrest, but not his last.
Although Mr. Ganji had been imprisoned prior to this, he wrote
"The Red Eminence and Gray Eminences," which accused a former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, of helping to plot the murders of Iranian dissidents in the late 1990s, known in the country as the "chain murders." The publication of these texts and Mr. Ganji's attendance at a reformist conference in 2000 in Berlin led to another arrest that year. In 2001, he was sentenced to six years at Evin Prison.
Before he was imprisoned, however, he urged the people to vote for the reformer, Mr. Khatemi. This was after the very brutal police action against a student uprising in 1999 after the Republican Guard murdered some student activists. He must have thought it best to try the political route to reforming his beloved country.

When the elections came around this time, however, he called for a boycott. He not only called for a boycott, he declared that Ayatollah Khamenei must leave his post as leader, and if Mr. Ganji dies, he declared that his blood will be on his hands.
"I hate to predict something this terrible, but if Ganji dies it will be like the ceremony of Dr. Shariati. Twenty thousand showed up at his funeral even after the Savak (the secret security service for the shah) told them they could not. It was one of the events that led to the Islamic revolution. I don't know if there will be a revolution. But if Ganji dies, there will be massive hatred of the people against the regime."
Mr. Sazegara paused and then added that the object of the people's hatred will be Mr. Khamenei, the man Mr. Ganji has so explicitly compared to the shah.
Many people are praying for Akbar Ganji's release. Even the President of the United States of America has called for his release. With hope, they will change their minds. Without hope, they will not. This mayy lead to the overthrowing of the tyrannical government.

It would be better for the western world if he died, but we are all praying for him to live. That is who we are. Every life is sacred. May God have mercy on his soul, and may He change the hearts and minds of those who seek his death. Long live Akbar Ganji!

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