“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Martin Luther King, Jr

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Human Rights In Iran. Are There Any?

What are human rights? What do they mean to you? Do you have the right to practice a religion no matter what others think about that religion? Do you have the right to vote in matters that affect your country. Do you have the right to demand that election be fair and just? Do your rights include your children be provided with an education? Do you have the right to voice your opinion no matter your sex, creed, ethnicity, political ideals? I do have rights where I live as I am sure many others do. What of those who are not given the smallest bit of human dignity, those who are owned by their government, thrown in prison for voicing their displeasure, killed for believing in something different. Women being raped because some men believe it is a male bonding ritual. Where are their rights, that they can openly accuse their tormentors and knowing they will be heard and the unjust punished? 

What has happened in Iran smacks of no rights of human beings. It tells the world that Khamenei cares not one bit what the people of Iran want, just a power hungry little man, who puts his robes on the same as every one else. Look what happened to Neda. Where were her rights? Where are the rights of those who were killed during a protest?  Khamenei throws his words at the United States and what happened at Camp Davidian, it was wrong, yes it was tragic, but Khamenei look at your country. How many have died, how much blood is on YOUR hands? I am posting a letter that appeared in the latimesblogs that shows human rights at their worst. I can do this because of the rights I have in my country. I want the world to know what is happening behind the curtain of oppression.

I first met
Shahriar when I was writing for my school paper and covering student
government. He was in charge of the clubs on campus and could always be
relied on for information. His upbeat attitude was contagious, and we
quickly became friends.

Shahriar moved to the U.S. from Iran to pursue his bachelor’s
degree. His determination has been nothing short of inspirational. When
I learned a few days ago that he went back to visit Tehran, I was
shocked. Immediately, I emailed to ask how he was doing and what it was
like over there.

Here is his unedited account, which he agreed to share with our
readers.  To protect his safety, the Times is not publishing his full

I am scared and worried about this turmoil in Iran.

No body knows what is going to happen, I even believe the top
politicians from both sides have the same situation. They may predict
based on their analysis but Iranian people are very unpredictable in
political views and actions.
          midnight chantings are very energetic and a great sign of unity
among people and they chant (Allah Akbar) which means The god is great
and its the same chant during the past revolution and its not something
against the Islamic values of this government.

during the day when I go out it seems that everything is calm but everyone is waiting to see what is gonna happen at night.

The government has a lot of anti riot forces that havent used all of
them so far, so if that happens it could create more violence.

I personally did voted for Mousavi not because he was my ideal
reformist candidate but I didnt want Ahmadinejad anymore as my
country's president.

I am all for reform in Iran and not revolution and violence.

People want a reelection and believe Mousavi should have won. But
losing life and any other sacrifice for this goal is not worthy (from
my point of view.)

Special forces who are armed civilians (supported by the government)
called Bassij is very involved in this situation and they do most of
the attacks to demonstrators. They are bunch of of young people brain
washed by radical clerics and only listen to the supreme leader. They
have bases in every mosque and basically in every neighbourhood, very
unified and willing to sacrifice they lives whenever the supreme leader
orders?? at least this is what they claim.

getting news about this situation is very hard at this time. so rumors are going around and around.
websites are blocked (but we use anti filter programs and easily pass
that) but getting news for example websites that are belong to
Mousavi's supporters are not trustworthy as before because of several
attacks and hack attempts to these websites. so we should be very
careful about the source of our news.

Satellite channels are attacked by the government with sending
noises so BBC Persian TV which was a main news source for people is now
almost unreachable. SMS service is blocked so people cant inform each
other about demonstrations. cell phones also get blocked in certain
areas of Tehran during night and evening. local newspapers get censored
even for details of their front pages and articles.

calling to the US and UK is almost impossible because they dont want
people to contact news agencies and satellite TVs to report about
demonstrations. But still this young generation recording and sending
out news from Iran. They also united to attack governmental websites
and kinda like a cyber war.

Demonstrations are not happening all over Iran and not even all over Tehran (capital city)
almost from city center to north (where middle and upper class people
live) but that is even a huge number of people (Tehran has around 10
mil citizens.)

I expect a very strong attack and more violence from security forces
in short term and for the long term I predict a very police/security
controlled atmosphere for Iran. A complete dictatorship maybe like
Syria, Egypt and Cuba, specially when I see all these arrests of
opposition leaders in Tehran.
I did go to the first huge demonstration called by Mousavi and shocked by the number of people who showed up. HUGE turnout.

On the other side I know that Ahmadinejad and supreme leader also can call for the same size demonstration.

I really dont know if I ever answered ur questions but just tried to
express my feeling and concerns. Please let me know if u have any more
or specific questions.

Good luck and cheers,


— Amber Smith in Los Angels

Complete coverage of the Iranian elections and aftermath.

Photo: In this photograph posted on the Internet, an
Iranian protester flashes the victory sign from behind a public trash
bin set on fire at an anti-government protest in Tehran, Iran, Saturday
June 20, 2009. Credit / AP Photo
Human beings have rights, where are theirs?

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