ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for June 2009

A Guest Post at Z Word.

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Whilst I was looking around for more news on Iran, Ben allowed me to do a guest post at the Z Word, and as it is one of my favourite blogs, I duly obliged, The State and the Burqa.

More news from Iran shortly.

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23/06/2009 at 21:14

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Why Mass Protest In Iran Is True Politics Worth Supporting

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This is an excellent piece from a pair of translators and philosophers based in Tehran, Morad Farhadpour and Omid Mehrgan:

“In the past two weeks, the majority of people in Tehran and other cities in Iran (including Shiraz, Ahwaz, Tabriz, Isfihan) have been on the streets, protesting against the theft of the presidential election by a handful of state’s agents at the top level. It was not a rigging in the usual western sense, no added votes or replaced ballot boxes, the election went on properly, the votes were taken and probably even counted, the figures transmitted to the ministry of interior, and it was there that they were totally disregarded and replaced by totally fictitious figures. That is why all the opposition forces (Sazman-e-Mojahedin-e-Enghelab, Mosharekat party…) together with people called it a coup d’état.

Global public opinion and, especially, the body of (leftist) intellectuals, Inspired by recent events in the middle Asia and east Europe, mostly regard this Iranian mass protest as another version of the well-known, newly invented, neo-liberal, U.S.-sponsored, colour-coded revolutions, as in Georgia and Ukraine. But is it the case in Iran? This article intends to clarify the issue, to reveal the properly political essence of current mass movement, and to demonstrate that this movement has the potentiality of a self-transcendence, of surpassing its actual demands, of traversing its current phantasy. To do this, we shall first examine the contemporary tradition of radical politics in Iran. Without these references, the current movement, which truly deserves this title, can not be understood correctly.”

Read on.

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23/06/2009 at 12:22

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What Iranians Are Saying.

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Over at the Beeb there is a section for comments from Iranians.

Also see Flickr and YouTube.

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23/06/2009 at 01:10

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26th June 2009.

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Over at Communist Students they are pushing for a demonstration on June 26, read on:

“Defend Trade Unionists in Iran – Down with Sanctions and Imperialist threats
Friday 26 June, 12.30 -1.30pm, Iranian embassy,
16 Prince’s Gate, London SW7 1PT

This demonstration has been called in support of trade unionists, such Mansoor Osanloo, and social activists who are now languishing in Iran’s jails. The demonstration is to show support for our comrades in Iran. The demonstration has been called by some important international trade union organisations (IUF, ITF, EI) and people from across Britain will be attending.”

From LabourStart:

“Friday is the Global Day of Action for Iranian Workers. Trade unionists in Iran like Mansour Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi suffer imprisonment and harassment by the state whenever and wherever they organize. (photo: Free Osanloo) Click here for more labour news from Iran and here to send a message of support and learn about events in your region.Got a photo that should be here? Post it via Flickr. “

LabourStart’s news from Iran.

Written by modernityblog

22/06/2009 at 21:15

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Difficult To Swallow

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Various people and organisations have been analysing the voting patterns, here’s Ali Ansari and Thomas Rintoul’s take on things:

“For the numbers to add up, in 10 out of Iran’s 30 provinces, Ahmadinejad would have had to win the votes of all those who did not vote in 2005, all those who voted for the centrist Hashemi Rafsanjani in 2005, and up to 44% of those who voted for reformist candidates that year. For anyone who has experienced the polarisation of Iranian politics in the last decade, this is hard to believe.

Instead, it seems Ahmadinejad recorded many of his greatest victories in rural, often ethnic minority, provinces that formerly supported the reformist cleric Mehdi Karrubi. Rural and ethnic minority provinces (contrary to much popular opinion in the west) have traditionally voted against conservatives. Most notable of these was Karrubi’s home province, Lorestan, where his 2005 tally of 55.5% was cut to just 4.6%, with an overall increase of 296% in the conservative vote. In a province with a long history of supporting ethnic Lors like Karrubi, this is even more surprising. Ilam, Khuzestan and the crucial province of Fars all saw huge swings from the cleric to Ahmadinejad.

The breakdown of the votes is not a smoking gun, it does after all come from the same ministry of interior run by Ahmadinejad’s former campaign manager, which conducted the count. However, it shows that even the official ­version of events makes some claims that are difficult to swallow.”

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22/06/2009 at 13:51

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An Underground Newspaper in Iran, The Street.

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Apparently there is a new underground newspaper doing the rounds in PDF format. It is called “Khiaban” or “The Street” it covers street protests in Iran and provide vital news of events, to counter the State’s propaganda.

Iran in the Gulf has two posts on it:

Translating “The Street” Newspaper Circulating Among Iran Protesters

Translating “The Street” Underground Newspaper, Continued

Also see Boozhooz news which comments:

The Iranian government has maintained it’s ban on foreign media reporting from ‘illegal’ rallies, meaning that social media sites such as twitter have continued as the way for protesters to get information out of the country. Not only have regular updates of events in Iran been posted, but videos have been posted to sites such as youtube and CNN’s Ireport along with hundreds of thousands of pictures to flickr, twitpic and other similar sites. Yesterday, saw the upload of the extremely distressing footage of a young women, who twitter users have named Neda (voice or call in Persian), dying after being severely wounded in protests.”

Written by modernityblog

22/06/2009 at 02:23

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Clerical Split?

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A report on Reuters is suggesting that some Clerics in Iran are split over the elections and the protests:

“But in an indication of their determination to crack down hard on demonstrations which culminated in the death of at least 10 people on Saturday, authorities dismissed the protesters as “terrorists” and rioters.

They also detained the daughter of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani during an opposition rally in Tehran on Saturday, according to state media.

A disputed June 12 election which returned to power hardline anti-Western President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sparked the most violent unrest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution which ousted the U.S.-backed shah.

As authorities fulminated against protesters backing defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi, moderate former president Mohammad Khatami signaled increased opposition among pro-reform clerics to Iran’s conservative leadership.

“Preventing people from expressing their demands through civil ways will have dangerous consequences,” Khatami, a Mousavi ally, said in a statement, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.”

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21/06/2009 at 19:02

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The Beeb Has More.

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The BBC News is reporting 10 killed in clashes. It has plenty of videos here and here.

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21/06/2009 at 16:15

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Well Done HOPOI

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HOPOI have done a fine job of getting out videos from their meeting yesterday.

They are posted on the HOPOI’s news site and at YouTube, which I found easier, as some browsers grind to a halt when faced with numerous videos on a web page.

HOPOI are on http://www.youtube.com/user/Hopi2008

If you watch them before I do, please let me have your comments. I am very interested in how people see things developing in Iran.

(Thanks to Stroppy)

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21/06/2009 at 14:56

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Women’s Role In The Protests.

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The women of Iran have suffered under the rule of Ayatollahs so it was good to see this:

” I don’t know where this uprising is leading. I do know some police units are wavering. That commander talking about his family was not alone. There were other policemen complaining about the unruly Basij. Some security forces just stood and watched. “All together, all together, don’t be scared,” the crowd shouted.

I also know that Iran’s women stand in the vanguard. For days now, I’ve seen them urging less courageous men on. I’ve seen them get beaten and return to the fray. “Why are you sitting there?” one shouted at a couple of men perched on the sidewalk on Saturday. “Get up! Get up!”

Another green-eyed woman, Mahin, aged 52, staggered into an alley clutching her face and in tears. Then, against the urging of those around her, she limped back into the crowd moving west toward Freedom Square. Cries of “Death to the dictator!” and “We want liberty!” accompanied her.

There were people of all ages. I saw an old man on crutches, middle-aged office workers and bands of teenagers. Unlike the student revolts of 2003 and 1999, this movement is broad. [...]

Later, we moved north, tentatively, watching police lash out from time to time, reaching Victory Square where a pitched battle was in progress. Young men were breaking bricks and stones to the right size for hurling. Crowds gathered on overpasses, filming and cheering the protesters. A car burst into flames. Back and forth the crowd surged, confronted by less-than-convincing police units.”

The Lede blog on the New York Times has more coverage.

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21/06/2009 at 01:09

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Live Feed From Iranians.

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Not sure where exactly this feed coming from, it just needs Flash (a Linux one will work) to view:

http://www.livestream.com/persianq?origin=embedplayer

You will see plenty of ordinary Iranians in the streets and hear their slogans.

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20/06/2009 at 18:03

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United Nations War Crimes Tribunal And Florence Hartmann.

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Elites and the powerful like to control information and suppress dissent as we’ve seen recently in Iran, China, etc and it is happening closer to home, at the Hague. The BBC reports:

“The United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague has put on trial its former spokeswoman Florence Hartmann, who is charged with contempt of court.

The tribunal accuses the Frenchwoman of revealing confidential information following the trial of the late Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic.

The charges relate to a book written by Ms Hartmann and published in 2007.

They carry a maximum sentence of seven years in jail and a 100,000-euro (£85,000) fine. She denies the charges.

The sensitive information included confidential orders by the court in the Milosevic trial, not to publicise documents that allegedly implicate the Serbian state in the Srebrenica massacre of 1995, in which some 8,000 people were killed.

The documents were provided by the Serbian government to The Hague on the condition that they were only to be used confidentially in the Milosevic trial. “

Greater Surbiton covered this last year and it is still rather relevant.

She did the right thing and needs our support.

Written by modernityblog

20/06/2009 at 17:48

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Linux in Farsi.

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I forget if I have covered this before, but there are many great Linux distros in non-English languages and a topical one is Parsix GNU/Linux. What it says about itself:

“Parsix GNU/Linux is a live and installation CD derived from KANOTIX and based on Debian. It is a complete GNOME centric desktop oriented distribution. Parsix GNU/Linux supports dozens of languages including English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Persian and many many more. You can install and use Parsix GNU/Linux as your default operating system. We have also included xFarDic multilingual dictionary and several free font packages.”

Parsix GNU/Linux has various benefits 1) it isn’t made by Microsoft 2) is immune to Windows based viruses 3) will probably make older hardware work better than XP or Vista does, etc

So put a spring in the step of your hardware, check out Parsix GNU/Linux.

My advice is, with all Linux installations, initially do it on a spare machine, which is of no consequence, write notes and see if it performs against expectations.

If in doubt read up before installing and take your time. Try it several times, until you are happy with the installation method.

Written by modernityblog

20/06/2009 at 16:07

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Ahmadinejad’s Nervous Reaction

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A very strong summary:

“Finally, Ahmadinejad’s nervous reaction after his so-called victory is the best proof for rigging: closing down SMS network and the whole of country’s mobile phone network, arresting more than 100 leading political activists, blocking access to Musavi’s and many other reformists’ websites and unleashing violence in the streets…But if all this is not enough, the bodies of more than 17 people who were shot dead and immediately buried in unknown graves should persuade all those “objective-minded” observers.”

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20/06/2009 at 14:31

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Embassy Protest And More.

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From the IWSN:

Taking place on 26th June 2009 in London.

“In London, the TUC, Amnesty International and ITF will be holding a gathering at the Iranian Embassy between 12.30 and 13.30 to demand the release of imprisoned unionists and ratification of ILO core conventions. Trade unions and Amnesty will deliver 16,000 individually signed action cards for Mansour Osanloo and workers’ rights in Iran.

In Newcastle

Friday 26th June at the Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne at 12:30pm in support of trade union rights for Iranian Workers. Download flyer [TUC site] for further details.

The Guardian has a good page, which is updated every minute or so.

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20/06/2009 at 00:43

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