ModernityBlog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Ahmadinejad

Meanwhile In Iran.

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Just as a popular revolt in Egypt succeeded in removing Mubarak events are moving on apace in Iran.

Like Mubarak, the dictators in Tehran resorted to brutality and teargas to stay in power, as the BBC reports:

“Thousands of opposition supporters have clashed with security forces in the centre of the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Police used tear gas and detained dozens rallying in solidarity with uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. There was one report of a death in Tehran.

The BBC also received reports of similar protests being held in the cities of Isfahan, Mashhad and Shiraz.

Earlier, the police placed opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi under house arrest, according to his website.

It said the move was intended to prevent the former prime minister attending the march in Tehran, which the authorities had prohibited. The road leading to Mr Mousavi’s house was also blocked by police vans.

Fellow opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, a former speaker of parliament and a senior cleric, is also reportedly under de facto house arrest. “

Meanwhile in Syria, the dictatorship there are clamping down on everybody, including bloggers:

“Lawyers allowed into the closed session of the court in Damascus said Ms Mallohi was motionless after hearing her sentence. Her mother, who was waiting outside the court building, burst out crying after being told.

The judge did not give evidence or details as to why she was convicted, they added. However, when she was charged, one official claimed that “her spying led to an attack against a Syrian army officer”.

“Trumping up charges that imply treason as a lesson for others is quite old fashioned,” one human rights activist told the Reuters news agency. “Sadly, the regime has not learnt any lessons from Tunisia or Egypt.”

There has so far been no comment from the Syrian authorities.

Ms Mallohi, the granddaughter of a former minister, has already served one year of her sentence, as she has been in custody since late December 2009. She was held without charge for the first nine months.

Last month, the state security court sentenced Abbas Abbas, a 69-year-old left-wing activist, to seven years in jail.

The BBC’s Lina Sinjab in Damascus says Ms Mallohi’s conviction comes at a time of political upheaval in the region, with popular protests in Tunisia and Egypt which were largely organised through social networking websites and blogs.”

She was jailed for five years, without any evidence.

Update 1: Over in Bahrain there were protests too:

Update 2: Also Hamas are none too keen on election, as Haaretz relates:

” But Hamas, which holds power in the Gaza Strip, immediately said it would move to prevent such a vote from taking place in the coastal territory.”

Update 3: Not forgetting Algeria:

“Hundreds of youths have clashed with security forces during protests in the northern Algerian town of Akbou.

Police reportedly used tear gas and batons to drive back crowds protesting over unemployment. About 30 people, most of them protesters, were hurt.

In January Algeria was the first in a string of countries to see street protests, as people rallied against high food prices and unemployment.

Several people were killed as unrest spread across the country.

The sporadic protests have been continuing since early January.

On Saturday, thousands of people took part in protests in the capital, Algiers, demanding the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, but were dispersed by riot police.”

Written by modernityblog

14/02/2011 at 22:10

In The Age of The Internet: More Racism At The Guardian.

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The Internet should aid research, it should enable people to be better informed, particularly those in the West, where it is more widespread.

Yet it is still possible to find educated journalists, with access to the Internet, who don’t know the basics.

Instead of Googling Carlos Latuff and realising that he has a propensity for publishing racist cartoons against Jews and Israelis, instead of doing that the Guardian decides to push his work.

Rather than familiarising themselves with Carlos Latuff’s racism, the Guardian becomes complicit.

Readers will remember that Carlos Latuff is notorious for his participation in the Iranian regime’s International Holocaust Cartoon Contest.

Ben White, Bigot Or Colonialist?

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Ben White will be well known to this blog’s readers and whilst normally I try to ignore that individual, I will make an exception in this case.

Ben White has a lot of form.

But what I find worrying, in this instance, is White’s underlying thinking as Seismic Shock ably illustrates:

Last year, White wrote for Comment is Free:

” […] the Palestinian Authority is also staffed with “native” West Bank leaders for whom business interests long since trumped fighting for national liberation. Then there are also the groupings created by individuals who have a loyal power base around them.”

White here criticises huge swathes of Palestinian society in a terribly unfair manner. Also I can’t help thinking that his use of the term “native” sounds horribly colonialist.

Having told us that he understands antisemitism (which might vex Israelis), and then criticised the “natives” in the West Bank (which might vex Palestinians), we have to wonder, is Ben White really the best person to be running political campaigns about the Middle East?

The more you read White’s new site, well, it just gets more and more confusing.

[My emphasis.]

I couldn’t have put it better.

Written by modernityblog

24/11/2010 at 14:29

Roll Around The Blogs And News.

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It seems like ages since I rounded up some of the blogs that I read and their thoughts, but this time it is with the addition of some news stories that struck me.

First out, Flesh is Grass is espousing Fairness with an eye on the comprehensive spending review.

Martin About the design…and my own two pence.

Jeffrey Goldberg on Pam Geller, and in my view, he’s far too polite:

“In a recent New York Times interview, the blogger Pamela Geller leveled many serious charges against Islam; she stated that Muslims curse Jews and Christians during their five-times-a-day prayer; that the only good Muslim is a secular Muslim; and most perniciously, she said that the Qur’an has never been properly translated, insinuating that it contains dark secrets about Muslims and their religious responsibilities. This last bit struck me as outrageous, because, as a Jew, Geller should know that anti-Semites have spent nearly two thousand years insinuating that the Talmud contains secret instructions guiding the alleged Jewish attempt to dominate the world. To make the same unsupported charge against Islam is egregious.”

Unite union’s plaque for the Spanish Civil War dead.

I hope the miners in China will be rescued.

The FT has more.

Ami Isseroff on Peace is the only option.

Eamonn McDonagh says Ahmadinejad: An Honest Anti-Zionist.

YourFriendInTheNorth looks at North Korea:

“Totalitarian dictatorships are of course unpredictable beasts in that they can often collapse just as easily as they can declare war. At the opening of the 1980s few people predicted the revolutions that would sweep eastern Europe in the final months of that decade. There may be some hoping that the DPRK, now officially in a period of transition to a new leadership, will suddenly implode at some point in the near future in the same way that Romania, Czechoslovakia and their Stalinist neighbours did in that momentous year of 1989. Unfortunately, that is unlikely. Even more disgraceful than those indulging in such wishful thinking is the fact that there are many senior officials in the south who are content for the status quo to continue, so afraid are they of the potential cost of reunification and the possibility of millions of their fellow countrymen flocking to Seoul and other cities in the south in the wake of the 65 year old border evaporating. “

Weggis (with a nice new design) on Pissing into the Wind, he doesn’t seem to think too highly of a particular boat to Gaza.

Everybody Hates a Tourist has an excellent piece on how a leading member of the English Defence League LGBT’s division has resigned over the EDL’s constant racism.

We hear about a Lib Dem Crash from Harry Barnes and his time at Ruskin College.

Jams on Trafalgar – THE TRUTH!.

I had been intending to cover Foxconn and their appalling treatment of workers for sometime, the Daily (Maybe) beats me to it with an informative post on the company and Hundreds of Foxconn workers arrested in India.

The CST on Abe Foxman: speak out against anti-Muslim bigotry, very timely.

Stumbling and Mumbling considers Freedom, rationality & religion, and Expertise in politics. Good conclusion:

“Instead, the job of shadow chancellor is to come up with what Tanweer Ali calls “simple frames” – easily-understood narratives and soundbites. And as Paul says, Johnson might be better at doing this than Balls precisely because he is not trapped by any knowledge.
These points do not apply merely to Johnson. As Jonathan says, Miliband has applied the no-expertise principle quite widely: Yvette Cooper has no background in foreign affairs and Balls little interest so far in home affairs.
There is, however, a cost here. Excluding expertise from politics has a conservative bias, because radical critiques of hierarchical capitalism require in-depth understanding, and cannot be reduced to mere slogans (they often are, but those slogans don’t work).
But then, the function of managerialist politics is precisely to uphold the existing order.

Stroppy on LGBT rights , battle not won.

The Scottish Anti-Fascist Alliance has coverage of the Scottish Defence League and the typical “we are not neo-nazis defence” doesn’t work for the SDL either:

The Srebrenica Genocide Blog has coverage of Radovan Karadzic’s trial.

Snoopy thinks Lieberman is confused.

Searchlight’s A journey to hope Anti-fascism in a new era.

Rosie is less than impressed with the many incarnations of the RCP.

James Bloodworth sees the end of mass higher education.

Carl Paladino is taken apart at Mystical Politics.

Matt on a particularly odd form of one-state solution and Juan Cole.

Hitchens vs. Hitchens, again at Roland’s.

Green’s Engage has a piece on some monumental political stupidity and malice, Green Left’s guest urges support for the English Defence League.

Finally, Max on Liu Xiaobo, superb:

“I hope to be the last victim of China’s endless literary inquisition, and that after this no one else will ever be jailed for their speech.”

Update 1: Ops, I missed this one, John Gray on a completely flawed report by Lord Young.

Young, you will remember came into politics under Margaret Thatcher and was key in arguing for privatisation all over the place.

Update 2: Bob has a long thought entry, An enormous EDL post.

19 And A Half Years.

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Blogging has been criminalised by the Iranian State.

Hossein Derakhshan has been jailed on spurious charges, which is intended to send a message to Iranian bloggers, “follow the State’s line or you’ll be locked up”.

Reporters without Borders has more:

“Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the extremely long jail sentence that has just been passed on Iranian blogger and journalist Hossein Derakhshan. He has been sentenced to 19 and a half years in prison followed by a five-year ban on political and journalistic activities. He has also been fined the equivalent of more than 30,000 euros.

“Such a long jail term has never before been imposed on a blogger in Iran and is indicative of a desire to make an example out of Derakhshan,” Reporters Without Borders said. “He is the victim of political rivalry within the government and the case against him was fabricated. We urge President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to intercede personally in order to obtain his release without delay.”

The press freedom organisation added: “Derakhshan defended the Islamic Revolution’s principles, supported Ahmadinejad’s policies and returned to Iran from Canada after being assured by people close to the president that he would not be arrested. Canada and the rest of the international community must press for this harsh sentence to be quashed and for Derakhshan to be freed at once.”

Derakhshan’s partner, Sandrine Murcia, said the judge in charge of the case telephoned the family today to confirm the verdict and sentence, details of which had been published on the pro-government website Asriran.

Derakhshan was convicted of collaborating with enemy states, propaganda against the Islamic Republic, propaganda in support of counter-revolutionary groups, “insulting what is holy” and creating immoral websites. He can appeal against the verdict.

Arrested by Revolutionary Guards on 1 November 2008, Derakhshan was given a trial without due process and had remained in detention even since awaiting the court’s verdict. He is a collateral victim of in-fighting between the Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian intelligence services.”

The Globe and Mail has background:

“Mr. Derakhshan, 35, is widely known by his online name “Hoder.” He was born in Iran, but moved to Canada and became a Canadian citizen in early adulthood. He is a staunch advocate of free expression in Iran, and became known as the “blogfather” of Iran’s on-line community for training pro-democracy advocates to blog and podcast in the late nineties. Later, he apologized for his dissenting views, and emerged as an unlikely supporter of the regime, at one point comparing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a modern-day Che Guevara.

So when the Iranian government invited him to travel to Iran in 2008, he accepted, thinking he would help his country reach out to the world, according to friends and family. Upon his arrival, however, another branch of the government arrested him.

On Tuesday, he was convicted of insulting Islamic thought and religious figures, managing obscene websites and co-operating with “enemy states” because he visited Israel five years ago. He was also ordered to pay the equivalent of approximately $45,000 in fines.

“It’s not as bad as a death sentence, but it’s an awful and really bad sentence for someone that’s only writing,” Mr. Derakhshan’s former wife, Marjan Alemi told CBC’s The Current.

“He went back thinking he could go back to Iran and help,” she added.

Ms. Alemi said Mr. Derakhshan has spent most of the two years preceding his trial in solitary confinement.

He can’t exercise. He can’t have books. He can see his family for only five or 10 minutes a week,” Ms. Alemi said. Neither the family’s lawyer, nor any representative from the Canadian government were present at his trial.”

Update 1: Iranian.com has a piece on him.

These are clips from Hossein Derakhshan before his return to Iran and arrest. He answered questions from his blog visitors.

Update 2: Free the blog father has a petition.

Update 3: I missed Terry Glavin’s earlier piece on this issue.

Plus the Free Hoder blog.

And the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran too.

Written by modernityblog

29/09/2010 at 21:44

The Draw Of Power.

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According to Henry Kissinger, power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

I am not sure if that is true but I am trying to work out why anyone would want to meet President Ahmadinejad?

Unless it is to be close to his power, to be able to say they have actually met a President, even if his election win was fiddled and anti-Ahmadinejad protesters killed as a result.

Why would supposed radicals in North America wish to meet Ahmadinejad after he’s just given a conspiratorial speech on 9/11?

Why would anyone, with any sense, want to meet this certifiable racist?

Apparently, over a hundred people, including some radical political leaders met him recently, Fightback News covers it:

“New York, NY – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met here, September 21, with 100 leaders and representatives of anti-war, labor, alternative media and Iranian and Palestinian solidarity organizations. Among the participants were Sarah Martin, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Margaret Sarfehjooy, board member of the Minneapolis-based Women Against Military Madness, former attorney general Ramsey Clark, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Sara Flounders from the International Action Center, Brian Becker of the ANSWER coalition, Ramona Africa of the Free Mumia Coalition and Amiri Baraka, poet and activist.

The meeting was called by the president of Iran with the hope that a frank and honest exchange of views will help activists further the cause of peace between the people of Iran and the U.S.

Specific demands raised include to oppose war, occupation and hostility worldwide; oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries; support the right to nuclear energy for all, but nuclear weapons for none; and to support dialogue, justice and equality among all countries in the UN.

After listening intently to the statements of 22 of the participants, President Ahmadinejad said, “We have a treasure chest full of views. I agree with everything you have said and therefore you have spoken from my heart also. Now I will speak in my own way.”

He said that the source of war, capitalism, must be identified and pointed out. “Violent capitalism is based on superiority, hegemony and violation of rights.” He went on to say that one reason capitalists start wars is to fill up their pockets. They must empty their arsenals so they can build more weapons. As he said at a U.N. meeting earlier in the day, “Capitalism has come to an end. It has reached a deadlock. Its historical moment has ended and efforts to restore it won’t go very far.”

Ahmadinejad spoke of the U.S. wars in Iraq and deaths of over 1 million people for oil . He pointed out that in an Afghan village over 100 innocent people were killed just to get a few terrorists. He expressed anger that even with the floods in Pakistan, the U.S continues to bomb Pakistani villages. He said it is hard to sleep at night after hearing the heart-wrenching stories of the Palestinians living under siege in Gaza with no medicines, no clean water and not enough food. He expressed solidarity with the activists’ goals of struggling for peace and justice at home and abroad and he pledged that Iran will stand strong to the end.

“Speaking with Mrs. Ahmadinejad and hearing the president reinforced the importance of struggling against the U.S. campaign to isolate and demonize Iran,” said Sarah Martin. Margaret Sarfehjooy reported, “I think the meeting was important because we had the opportunity to meet with so many dedicated grassroots activists from all over the country and share our hopes for peace and justice with the Iranian people through their president and his wife.” “

Unbelievable.

I wonder if President Ahmadinejad’s old friend, David Duke, will be joining them at the next meeting?

(H/T: Contested Terrain)

Viva Fidel Castro.

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Fidel Castro has shown that he isn’t just a declining ex-dictator with an eye to history.

No, Castro may have largely controlled and manipulated events in Cuba for nearly 50 years, but he’s no old codger.

Castro may have inflicted one-party rule on Cubans and limited their lives irreparably, but he’s no fool.

Fidel Castro has done what countless Western “anti-imperialists” avoided doing.

Castro has robustly and openly condemned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s racism.

Castro does more in one interview with Jeff Goldberg than most Western “anti-imperialists” have managed to do in years, Castro sees through Ahmadinejad’s antisemitism and he is clearly against it.

Goldberg summarises:

“Castro’s message to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, was not so abstract, however. Over the course of this first, five-hour discussion, Castro repeatedly returned to his excoriation of anti-Semitism. He criticized Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust and explained why the Iranian government would better serve the cause of peace by acknowledging the “unique” history of anti-Semitism and trying to understand why Israelis fear for their existence.

He said the Iranian government should understand the consequences of theological anti-Semitism. “This went on for maybe two thousand years,” he said. “I don’t think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews. I would say much more than the Muslims. They have been slandered much more than the Muslims because they are blamed and slandered for everything. No one blames the Muslims for anything.” The Iranian government should understand that the Jews “were expelled from their land, persecuted and mistreated all over the world, as the ones who killed God. “

Fidel Castro has stated concisely in a few paragraphs more than the concerted Western media would really like to acknowledge, the length and persistency of antisemitism, and how that plays a part in Israeli’s thinking.

Castro has stated openly that antisemitism lingers on today, that is something that Western “anti-imperialists” would do well to ponder.

Viva Fidel Castro!!!

(H/T: Engage)

Written by modernityblog

08/09/2010 at 00:21