Tuesday 23 October 2007

Supporting the Iranian resistance: beyond placards and megaphones

Further to this post, there's news here that leading Iranian human rights and prisoners' rights advocate Emadeddin Baghi has been detained in Tehran's notorious Evin prison on the ludicrous charge of 'acting against national security', which appears to relate to his writings about the suspicious murders of a number of Iranian intellectuals (via Butterflies and Wheels).

And there's an excellent article here by Terry Glavin, describing the Iranian dissident movement and questioning the western left's failure to offer it adequate support. Glavin quotes Iranian-Canadian left-wing writer, feminist and human rights activist Samira Mohyeddin as saying that she has often been accused of being an orientalist and a neo-con, simply because of her opposition to Ahmadinejad's repressive religious regime.

Mohyeddin offers this explanation:

There's a 1960s-era protest culture of "placards and megaphones" that lingers on the left, and it expects nothing more of its cadres than opposition to America. The prevailing leftist mindset continues to "exoticize" Iranian culture and clings to a naive and mistaken assumption that the Islamic Republic is somehow "culturally authentic." Many liberals and leftists tend to be infatuated with a shallow anti-imperialism that wrongly equates human rights and freedom with "western" values.

Glavin's piece includes a useful description of the Iranian pro-democracy movement and its politics, drawing on Danny Postel's groundbreaking work on the influence of liberal thinkers on the new generation of Iranian reformists. The article also tackles the difficult question of whether official US support for the Iranian resistance might actually be counterproductive.

(via Drinked Soaked Trots)

And via the University and College Union website (good to see them backing a genuine solidarity campaign):

A new film has been posted on Youtube, telling the story of Mansour Osanloo, the president of the Iranian bus workers union, who was abducted by Iranian intelligence services and is now being held in Iran's notorious Evin prison for constituting a 'threat to national security'. Mansour has been detained in Evin previously, where he was tortured and beaten. The International Transport Workers' Federation has now posted the new film Freedom Will Come - The Story of Mansour Osanloo on Youtube and you can watch it here:


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