Large movements of money, cont’d

The Italian paper La Stampa has reported that in the last 48 hours several Iranian banks have taken money out of Iran and deposited it in banks in Pakistan, UAE, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia etc. The money exits Iran in drafts under $10m and is said to be from non-governmental foundations under the control of the Mullahs.

Disgrace to Islam?

The Times reports the opinion of a shopkeeper here:

Mohamad, who owns a Tehran hardware store, told The Times: “I voted for Ahmadinejad because I believed he was closer to my morality and piety. But this is not what we voted for. Life is the most divine thing in Islam. You don’t take it away like that.”

Are peaceful demonstrations legal in Iran?Goons bashing in car windows 2

“According to the constitution of the Islamic Republic, peaceful rallying and demonstrations are allowed and do not need permission from any authorities,” according to the renowned human rights campaigner and Nobel peace prizewinner Shirin Ebadi, here. Ms Ebadi has offered her legal support to the family of Neda, who was shot in the neck while not even demonstrating. Why should they need it?

Obtaining Neda’s body from the authorities was difficult ─ they had to agree to yield up a thigh-bone from the dead 27-year old girl (a mutilated corpse is a disgrace in Islam because of the belief in a physical resurrection) ─ and a planned memorial service had to be cancelled because the authorities feared it would have led to more protests. They have since also forbidden the black-draping of houses traditional in Islamic countries and, because of frequent visitors, removed the family to another address.

Goons bashing in car windows 1

The authorities claim that the demonstrators are violent ’terrorists.’ Of course, non-violence and dignity are central to the rationale of the protests, since it is arbitrary violence and dictatorial fiats they are trying to counter (Russia, China and Venezuela currently support the mullahs’ regime). Here are two photographs that show the Basiji smashing up cars, the broken glass still spraying in the air, thanks to fast shutter speed.

High profile hostage

Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American journalist, was recently freed after what looked, from the outside, like a soft-shoe diplomatic shuffle. She talks to Jeremy Paxman here. If you accept that she was not a spy, then her detention looks like a variation on the standard hostage-taking scenario that is second nature to this bandit-ridden regime.

What is the difference between these people and the Taliban? The capacity for major political miscalculations is exactly the same. Following the public flogging of a 13 year old girl and the throat-slitting of a revered Sufi holy man and assorted village elders, the entire population of Pakistan has now swivelled round to full support of military action against the Taliban. So much for the crescent-shaped caliphate stretching across Pakistan, Waziristan, Kashmir.

A new United Nations

The great divide nowadays is between regimes that have democratic legitimacy and those that don’t. Given the thin but remarkable line-up of the usual suspects behind President-for-life Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (known as The Rat), I am minded once again to call for the dissolution of the present United Nations organisation, in which President-for-life Gadaffi can chair the human rights committee.

No doubt the tyrants won’t vote for their own dissolution, so why wait? What is to stop the Unites States showing some leadership and inviting the bona fide democratic regimes of the ‘free world’ to form a New UN ─ membership by invitation? The new organisation would have the moral authority so steadily shed, through corruption and tolerance of despotism, by the present one.

World war?

There is now something of a world war against Islamism (not the peaceful, Sufi kind of Islam, but the fascist ideology). News schedules fill up with ever-increasing Islamist content. Unsmiling warriors from a darker age frown down the barrels of their RPGs. Even Hitler would have consider their kind of conflict an anachronism.

Poems from the streets

Like a great painful vapour, the cries of the affronted, wounded and dying arise from the streets of Iranian cities. Some of it condenses into poetry and this spreads at the speed of light across the internet. So far, little has been translated.

Here are two such poems, translated by ourselves, ‘Plain clothes’ by Iraj Janatie Ataie[1] and ‘Scarecrow’ by Mohammed Ali Bahmani.[2] These speak for themselves.

[1] See also:

[2] See also:

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Plain clothes

by Iraj Janatie Ataie

Iraj Janatee Ataee

Look at yourself

darkening the mirror

throwing a curtain over the song

blocking the window.

I breathe the stars,

caress the moon

fondle the breeze

draw my gaze over the night.

You with a bullet and I with a flower,

you with a volley and I with a song,

you with yellow hatred and blue-black rancour,

I with roseate love and green soaring flight.

Your profession is the murder of roses and dew,

execution of breeze, sea and light;

my profession the seeding of lamplight and tambourine,

nourishment of colour, dance and dream.

The rendezvous for humanity’s renewal

is in Freedom Square.

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by Mohammed Ali Bahmani

from his collection: Sometimes I miss myself

Hey scarecrow, take off your hat!

We crows have now become eagles.

From all that restless grinding

we have become the lower stone of the mill.

Listen, like mountains we have reflected

your roaring anger.

Now it’s you who cover your face,

and it’s we who unveil.

Although we dissolve drop by drop into water

we were cloud and now have become sun.

He who made us knew that with one sip of his Being

we would be reborn.

O life, we whose silence has become

the answer to your every question ─

what else do you want from us,

now that we no longer have any account

with death?