February 22, 2005

Free Mojtaba and Arash

Posted by Mary Madigan

From the Committee to Protect Bloggers

Today is Free Mojtaba and Arash Day in honor of the two Iranian bloggers currently incarcerated by the Iranian government.

Read about Arash and Mojtaba.

Here is what you can do. With additional contact information.

Let's make a difference today. Freedom of speech is not a partisan issue, not an issue of culture or ethnicity, it is a bloggers' issue and a human issue.

More about the dangers of blogging in Iran.

[Links thanks to Kesher Talk]

UPDATE - Via Buzzmachine: This issue is getting attention.

An online protest Tuesday of Iran's crackdown against bloggers made an impact--even on Iranian officials.

So says a leader of the Committee to Protect Bloggers, the group that organized the effort to decry the jailings of Iranian bloggers Arash Sigarchi and Mojtaba Saminejad.

Reuters on Tuesday reported that Sigarchi was jailed for 14 years on charges ranging from espionage to insulting the country's leaders, a move probably linked in part to the timing of the protest, said Curt Hopkins, the committee's director. "I think there's got to be some connection," Hopkins said.

A message left with the Iranian mission to the United Nations was not immediately returned...

...According to Reuters, Sigarchi is a newspaper editor and blogger who was arrested last month. A member of the Center for Defense of Human Rights in Tehran told Reuters that the charges against him are political and journalistic.

According to the group Reporters Without Borders, Sigarchi was arrested for keeping a banned blog called Panhjareh Eltehab (The Window of Anxiety), in which he reported the arrests of cyber-journalists and bloggers....

...Blogging has emerged in the past year or so as a powerful tool to make a difference in society. Hopkins said his group's next step may go beyond simply raising awareness about free-speech issues. The organization may seek to set up special server computers that would make it harder for a government to crack down on those speaking through blogs.

Posted by Mary Madigan at February 22, 2005 11:14 AM

Comments

two less CIA shills. you neocons are hilarious. Nothin bout Mumia, but you whine about two CIA shills.

Posted by: axe at February 22, 2005 07:01 PM

This is a parody, right? I mean, no one says Mumia with a straight face anymore, do they?

Posted by: Yehudit at February 22, 2005 08:16 PM

I think it is a parody, google is axe's email.

Posted by: mary at February 22, 2005 08:41 PM

It would only be an amusing parody if we didn't know about all those actual Iranian volunteer CIA volunteers betrayed by the west , rounded up and killed a couple years ago. Even intimating that these two might have connections - which they DO NOT, could have awful repurcussions. Just like the public accusations against the blogging brothers in Iraq, this has the potential to get people killed. It's beneath parody, it's beneath contempt and has no place on any responsible website.

Posted by: Les at February 22, 2005 08:48 PM

What is awfully ***ing scary is the truth that people in our gov't have not yet figured out that the CIA should only go so far as to monitor Iranian society and government for our own protection and assist opposition only so far as that they have a voice. Any more interference in Iranian affairs, god forbid even talk of regime change, would do more to damage the progression of reform, and silence rational voices, than the Mullahs could ever do on their own.

The Iranian people can decide and do for themselves. They showed that when they toppled the incredibly perverse and tyrannical gov't of the Shah in their revolution. And don't get me wrong, the reactionaries in power over there scare the **** out of me and should be watched very closely, but foreign interference in Iran is exactly what brought about the hatred they have for the west. The sooner we take responsibility for our actions over there, and then help to educate the common Iranian on what was true history, the better our chances are of achieving our goals.

Posted by: Mike T. at February 23, 2005 06:04 AM

Yehudit --
At the "Smash Nazimarching" post below, I responded to the "self-hating Jew" ephithet you hurled at me with a comment and also a question about a couple of the 613 Mitzvot. Still hoping you'll enlighten my secular Jewish-american ass.

Posted by: markus rose at February 23, 2005 06:35 AM

Even intimating that these two might have connections - which they DO NOT, could have awful repurcussions. Just like the public accusations against the blogging brothers in Iraq, this has the potential to get people killed. It's beneath parody, it's beneath contempt and has no place on any responsible website.

Les - Let me get this straight – this is a campaign for the protecting the free speech of Iranian bloggers. And you’re saying that I have to censor a transparent and acknowledged parody because it violates Iran’s shariah laws?

The public accusations against Iraq the Model were made by reporters working for large media outlets like the New York Times. The last time I checked, Omar and Mohammed were still blogging, still speaking their minds. It’s not clear that this is a comparable situation.

Despite their weak military power, terrorists like the Iranian Mullahs and the Iraqi insurgents gain power through the effectiveness of their threats. The insurgents were threatening to kill anyone who voted in the recent Iraqi election. When we encouraged people to vote, were we risking awful repercussions?

Should we have encouraged all Iraqis to respect the threats of the insurgents and stay home where it was safe, therefore allowing the terrorists to control the nation?

Would they have one shred of respect for us if we did that? No.

Apparently, you want to amplify the effectiveness of the Mullahs’ threats by giving them imagined superhuman powers of perception and retaliation. Sure, I could delete axe’s comment. But you said the evil CIA word too, so I’d have to delete yours. And Mike’s, and Yehudit's, since she referred to it.

Wait a minute, I said the evil CIA word too. I have to delete myself!

And this stupid post about free speech in Iran started the whole thing. I have to delete that too, so I don’t provoke any fatwas. Once I do that, the Mullahs will be happy and we’ll all be safe.

Is that what I should do?

Posted by: mary at February 23, 2005 07:53 AM

Mary,

I think, and I could be wrong, that Les was just scolding Axe for making such an irresponsible statement in light of what we know to have happened to those Iranians actually connected to our CIA. I don't think that he was implying that this post shouldn't exist because it might get other Iranian bloggers in trouble.

From what I understand of them (which isn't much by the way), the Iranian people are extremely tough, resilient, and strong willed. I believe if we simply support the voices of dissent just enough to be heard, the Iranian people will change on their own. While it was no Saddam's Mukhabarat, or Stalin's KGB, the Shah's SAVAK was very oppressive and pervasive in the 1970's, and yet the people were able to rise up and overcome it. It took a lot, but given enough time and pressure, the people stood up for themselves. I doubt that revolutionary spirit has died therefore while extremely unfortunate, I believe that every time the regime takes these such actions, they chip away at their own powerbase. Only time will tell.

Also, can you please recommend to me one or more of the better Iranian blogs that you like? I've been doing a lot of reading and research on the American-Iranian conflict lately and I would like to hear more from the mouths of actual Iranians.

Posted by: Mike T. at February 23, 2005 08:28 AM

Thanks Mike, you did get my point, and Mary cool down. I wasn't responding to your posting, but to your first commenter. Having spent just a little time in Islamic countries with very brave but frightened people trying to bring about change perhaps I am more sensitive to their danger than some here in the West where we think parody and joking are everyone's right and that everyone should just chill and get with it. Perhaps you are not yet aware that the mullahs of Iran are notorious for their lack of a sense of humor, do monitor blogs both within and outside Iran (that's partly how they know who to arrest) , and take charges of CIA involvement very seriously, whether the people making the charges mean them seriously or not. Any excuse to get rid of a dissident will sometimes do. One man's parody is another man's chargable offense. Perhaps Jeff Jarvis' response to those who did some of the same, whether serious or in jest to the brothers might carry more weight with you than anything I might write.
One difference with the brothers in Iraq is that there are no US Marines in Iran to protect these folks, so their situation is even more precarious, and should make us that much more careful.

And yes, I think reasonable political websites with a large readership (and Totten's blog is one of those) have a responsibility to monitor their comments - if free speech does not mean I can yell "Fire" in a crowded theater, then it sure doesn't mean I can call two brave Iranian dissidents CIA plants and then later say, "O just joking - what they hung them?! I didn't mean for that to happen."

Parody people here in the US, or Canada or the UK all you want, you'll get little feedback from me, but not in closed Islamic countries - it's not really funny.

Posted by: Les at February 23, 2005 10:08 AM

Mike T. – I thought that the It's beneath parody, it's beneath contempt and has no place on any responsible website was a demand that axe’s (admittedly stupid) comment should be removed from this responsible website.

In any case, we shouldn’t be censoring ourselves for fear of offending the Mullahs. Les was overestimating their threat and suggesting that we censor ourselves, which would please the Mullahs, but which doesn’t help the fight for free speech.

The Ayatollah Khomieni’s revolution wasn’t a "people’s revolution" – it was the replacement of an authoritarian state with a totalitarian one. The Iranian left thought they were fighting for freedom, but when they Ayatollah took power, he oppressed the left along with everyone else, proving that when someone says that they intend to establish a theocratic fascist state, they really mean it.

Unfortunately, the anti-war left still hasn't learned that lesson. And, unfortunately, while overthrowing an authoritarian state is difficult, overthrowing a totalitarian state is nearly impossible. In contrast to the Soviet totalitarian state, the Iranian government is not poor and overextended. That doesn’t mean I support a unilateral invasion of Iran – I don't. But overthrowing this totalitarian government without the help of outside influence is probably beyond the abilities of unarmed, untrained students.

I’d recommend Hoder’s blog and the Students for Democracy in Iran.

Jeff Jarvis, who has covered the issue of Iranian bloggers, recommends Iranian Girl and others.

Roger Simon, who has also covered the issue extensively, links to Blog Iran

Posted by: mary at February 23, 2005 10:29 AM

Les - yes, you were demanding that I remove a comment for fear of offending the Mullahs. Again, despite their weak military power, terrorists like the Iranian Mullahs and the Iraqi insurgents gain power through the effectiveness of their threats. Not their actions, their threats. They make a lot of them.

The insurgents were threatening to kill anyone who voted in the recent Iraqi election. When we encouraged people to vote, were we risking awful repercussions?

You seem to be doing the Mullahs' job here - making threats in an effort to censor. Should we constantly censor ourselves for fear of the super-powerful Mullahs? How far should that self-censorship go?

Posted by: mary at February 23, 2005 10:43 AM

Les: It's beneath parody, it's beneath contempt and has no place on any responsible website.

Mary: Les - yes, you were demanding that I remove a comment for fear of offending the Mullahs

Mary,

It really doesn't sound like Les was demanding anything, he was saying the troll shouldn't have posted such a thing because in contrast to very real events and very real human suffering it just wasn't very funny or appropriate. I really think you're overreacting here.

That aside it is stupid and wasteful to use this forum on this important topic to discuss the semantics of a post and how it relates to blogosphere etiquette. Having said that does anyone have anything useful or interesting to add about the present state of affairs within Iran, especially as it pertains to censorship and New Media control? If so I'd really like to read about it.

Posted by: Mike T. at February 23, 2005 10:57 AM

Les - or, to put it in less combative terms, is your threat real? Have the Iranian mullahs hung or jailed Iranian bloggers because of parodies done by American trolls on American websites?

Posted by: mary at February 23, 2005 11:05 AM
Juan Cole has a comment and a suggestion:
If Blogdex is any indication the campaign to free Mojtaba and Arash is going well.

The Iranian government is not immune to public opinion, and I hope people will keep trying to get them out.

In fact, assuming someone could plan it out and get a permit, wouldn't a flashmob protest in front of Iran's permanent mission to the UN be an appropriate blogger tool for this campaign?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at February 23, 2005 11:22 AM

Mary: The Ayatollah Khomieni’s revolution wasn’t a "people’s revolution"

You see I tend to disagree with that statement (And let me preface my argument by saying that just because I've read a few books on the subject, I do NOT by any means consider myself an expert; and defer to you as being more knowledgeable than I). I think this simply because it wasn't a military coup, it was a popular uprising. Since 1977 Iranian society was by and large reversing many of the modern secular reforms put in place by Mohammed Reza Shah. They did this really for just that reason, he put them im place. While Khomeini did attach himself to a liberal student movement which began in the runup to our 1976 election, as a result of the Shah trying to appease Ford Admin. officials and to undercut pressure from Jimmy Carter should he win the election. The people were desperate for a change from a system which was described by some American officials as being so screwed up they would never have believed it if they didn't see it with their own eyes.

This generation in power still hold fast to their strong Muslim faith, instilled within them during their time growing up under the Shah. They believe in their Islamic system, and that along with ditrimentally fierce nationalistic pride, and a xenophobic worldview is why it is very difficult to see things changing anytime within this generation. I do believe that the more dark and repressive they are, the more the next generation will be moved to reform things.

All we can do is carry our "big stick" and be ready and willing to whack them with it should they take a swing at us. I think it is vitally important to the prevention of a future state-to-state conflict that we demonstrate to countries like Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and N. Korea that should we be struck at by terrorists we will retaliate not only against the terrorists themselves, but we will also bloody the terrorists' sponsors as well.

Posted by: Mike T. at February 23, 2005 11:33 AM

Hmmm, upon review I tried to make two points at the same time and didn't do either very well. What I was saying in my first paragraph was that While there was a significant segment of the revolution that was "liberal" in their ideologies, their was a large contingent of the population that subscribed to what Khomeini was selling. I perceive this was largely in part because of their increasingly reactionary response to any initiative of Mohammed Reza Shah, but also because under the Shah the mosque was the only safe place to express their grievances with the government. This sanctuary was, for obvious reasons, a dangerous one because it allowed for powerful and influential men like The Imam to use Islam to have their voice heard by a massive contingent of the population. These are only a few of the timbers which cause the fire of The Revolution to burn so intensely, of course there are many more; several of which the blame for lies firmly on our shoulders.

Anyway, not enough time has passed for the Theocracy to destroy itself, and therefore while prevention of a nuclear Iran is imperative, regime change at American hands is out of the quesiton. In this case change has to come from within.

Posted by: Mike T. at February 23, 2005 12:27 PM

Mike T. - I have problems with the idea of self-censorship in response to implied threats from totalitarian regimes. I'm still bothered by the West's weak response to the fatwa against Rushdie for the Satanic verses. When we censor ourselves, we give the Mullahs a legitimacy they don't deserve.

In any case, there are Iranians, like the Students for Democracy, who might disagree with your assesment of their history. Some might agree. I think the best thing we can do at this point is to listen to what pro-democracy Iranians have to say - read their blogs, publicize them. They're going through a lot of trouble to express their opinions, the least we can do is listen.

Posted by: mary at February 23, 2005 02:22 PM

Mary: I have problems with the idea of self-censorship in response to implied threats from totalitarian regimes

Me too Mary, me too. It's why I look at the E.U. and moreso the U.N. as a model of hypocrisy and irrelevance.

Mary: In any case, there are Iranians, like the Students for Democracy, who might disagree with your assesment of their history.

Oh, most assuredly there are. But to me, doing my best to use a 'logical progression of thought' and a little objective reasoning, it makes more sense then the histories put forth by many Iranian institutions, as well as most American institutions. The bigger problem is that neither side seems to trust or truly understand what the other is saying and that is the fundamental problem that has made both of us eachother's "Great Satan".

Posted by: Mike T. at February 23, 2005 02:50 PM

It's why I look at the E.U. and moreso the U.N. as a model of hypocrisy and irrelevance.

Meh, the UN eradicated smallpox and almost has polio down. The institution is good at doing what it is good at doing; the problem comes when people expect it to somehow be good at doing what it is designed to be terrible at doing.

Posted by: Kimmitt at February 26, 2005 10:17 AM

You know, in the traditional Jewish sense of the word... we may be, in some cases, Iran's Great Satan, and they, in some cases, may be ours. After all, we are adversaries, standing in opposition to one another.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at February 28, 2005 12:01 PM

Thank you for the information

Posted by: Krankenversicherungen at March 15, 2005 12:21 PM

Hello nice page and it downloads very fast, enjoyed it very much, take care. The internet is a great place to showcase art and increase awareness in the variety of excellent work available.
U-booty Katalog stron Website Directory Przepisy Kulinarne Camcoo Telewizory Aparaty Aparaty cyfrowe dvd Kamery minidv Aparaty cyfrowe Dvd Kamery cyfrowe Camcoo.de Maximedia Maximedia de

Posted by: Camcoo at April 22, 2005 01:34 PM

Hello nice page and it downloads very fast, enjoyed it very much, take care. The internet is a great place to showcase art and increase awareness in the variety of excellent work available.
U-booty okręty podwodne ubooty Katalog stron camcoo katalog on-line Website Directory katalogi stron internetowo www Przepisy Kulinarne mniam smaczego Camcoo on linie 24 hTelewizory plazmoe lcd Aparaty ofertaopinie serwis Aparaty cyfrowe canon minolta nikon sklep dvd odtwarzacze mp3 Kamery minidv cena Aparaty cyfrowe cennik i ceny Dvd sklep Kamery cyfrowe promocje Camcoo.de promocja Maximedia polecane E-shop

Posted by: Kamery cyfrowe at April 23, 2005 09:23 AM

Thanks, for the useful site. Thanks again and again.

Posted by: Sar-Webdesign at April 25, 2005 01:04 AM

Very nice site. Aganejszyn
Website Directory

Posted by: WebDirectory at April 27, 2005 06:57 AM

Thanks For The Blog ! Have A Great Weekend

Posted by: viagra at July 1, 2005 08:26 AM

hi - good day !

Posted by: shon at July 2, 2005 05:06 AM

hello , nice day for blogging !

Posted by: links at July 3, 2005 07:28 AM

Greetings From NY !

Posted by: casinos at July 5, 2005 12:53 PM

Greetings From Encino , Ca !

Posted by: casino at July 17, 2005 08:38 AM

good day

Posted by: casino at July 18, 2005 07:29 AM

intercasino 1 Million Winner !

Posted by: intercasino at August 5, 2005 06:06 AM

I agree with you the way you view the issue. I remember Jack London once said everything positive has a negative side; everything negative has positive side. It is also interesting to see different viewpoints & learn useful things in the discussion.

Posted by: penis pills at October 4, 2005 04:24 PM

I agree with you the way you view the issue. I remember Jack London once said everything positive has a negative side; everything negative has positive side. It is also interesting to see different viewpoints & learn useful things in the discussion.

Posted by: penis pills at October 4, 2005 04:24 PM

Hi I have been given the task of getting links for our websites thathave good page rank on the links directories.In addition we have many categories so your site will be place on an appropriate page. If you would like to trade links please send me your website details.Best Regards,seopro@walla.com
http://www2w.bravehost.com vs the best casino http://casino.vmedical.us new online casino
casinos
casino
online poker
online gambling
online casinos
online casinos
online casinos
online poker
online casinos
online casino
casino
poker
casino
casino
casinos
online casino
online gambling
casino
poker
neteller casinos
online casino
online slots
online casino
online poker
online casino
internet poker
free online poker
texas holdem poker
poker
online slots
online roulette
online blackjack
poker
online casinos

Posted by: online casinos at October 5, 2005 01:25 AM

http://www.trinitytc.com/ShowSimilar/189176702X/newdirectory/index.asp
http://newcasino.dolev-yomel.com/newdirectory/index.asp

Posted by: casino at November 1, 2005 10:30 AM

asc
kraob
eves
akupunktura
freesz
puz
domy opieki
mopinsite
oppin

Posted by: epart at December 23, 2005 07:44 AM
Post a comment













Remember personal info?






Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member



Testimonials

"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

"Terrific"
Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere


Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com


News Feeds




toysforiraq.gif



Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button

totten_button.jpg


Tip Jar





Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn