The kind-hearted people of Iran have hard-hearted rulers

Karroubi has kept up his accusations of rape, torture and murder. They are an understatement and seem to represent the slightly shocked responses of a decent, naïve old man.

Other detainees “were forced to take off their clothes [he is quoted as saying]. Then they were made to go on their hands and knees and were ridden [by prison guards]. Or the prison authorities put them on top of each other while they were naked … Do such treatments conform with Islam, which is a religion of mercy?” he asked.

Ah, religion does come into it then. Perhaps we might seek further examples, such as the presence of a mullah required in prison to hold a Koran over the heads of a female prisoner and prison guard, to make her a ‘temporary wife’, before he rapes her? This blog has reported before on the ‘religious duty’ to rape young girls in prison prior to their execution to prevent them going to Paradise? Is Islam inculcating these childish fairytale beliefs alongside the moral brutality necessary to their realisation?

If this is religion, give us atheism

Islam actively sanctifies these acts of savagery and violence. This is not a question of some marginal shadow across the good name of Islam. Islam is the source of this moral vision. Make no mistake, ordinary people everywhere, in the intimacy of the internet, are able to see precisely the harsh, ruthless sensibility, lacking in forgiveness, pity and tenderness, which is characteristic of Islam, at least Shi’ite Islam in Iran today. They unerringly perceive the prevailing hardness of heart of the hardliners. For most people, the portrait of Khomeini is the epitome of evil.

The lid is now off the pot and the contents stink in the nostrils of the world.Protests banknotes

Such a sordid, degraded vision is totally unworthy of the name of religion. A people imprisoned in such a tradition will always stagnate in cruelty and backwardness. Let them get themselves a decent religion and begin to live:

Wilt thou have anything to do with the stool [judgement seat] of wickedness: which imagineth mischief as a law?[1]

Resistance nimbly mutates

The wonderful Martin Fletcher, who has often reported Green Events first and best for The Times, describes the guerrilla actions of reformists:

They still chant Allahu Akbar (God is greatest) from the rooftops every night, and write anti-regime slogans on banknotes, but they are also daubing graffiti (“Death to Basiji”) ─ the volunteer militia that confronts protestors on the streets ─ and “Death to the Dictator”) on walls across the capital, and using paintball guns loaded with green paint to obliterate posters of Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader.. Sometimes they simply paint a black X across his portrait.

Thousands of samizdat DVDs are discreetly distributed in cafés, restaurant and tea houses, and through networks of friends and relatives. They document the regime’s crimes, show protesters being beaten up, and focus on the faces of the Basiji volunteers carrying out the beatings so they can be identified.Protest banknotes - 2

At football matches, religious ceremonies or anywhere that large crowds gather, small groups in their midst will start chanting and others join in. “It has reached a stage where the government is trying not to show sports events live. When they do, they censor the noise and try not to show spectators,” said one reliable source in Tehran.

The opposition plans to step up its attacks on government websites, and create huge traffic jams outside government offices to prevent employees reaching them. From next week it also plans to paralyse the heavily-used rail system on selected days by holding doors open, pulling emergency brakes and other such actions.

There are still periodic street demonstrations, but they are designed to thwart the security forces. On Wednesday thousands gathered outside Tehran’s huge, labyrinthine bazaar. “When the police attacked we were able to run into the maze of the bazaar and its surrounding streets only to reappear at a different place to continue the protest,” one participant told The Times. Sympathetic merchants sheltered the protesters, and on at least one occasion beat pursuing Basiji.Naughts and Crosses by Mana neyestani

The laughing pen

The cartoon here is by Mana Neyestani, a seasoned satirist whose somewhat metaphysical works can spark riots.

Unrepentant Guards

The Revolutionary Guards, including the much-loved Basiji, clearly aren’t going to yield to anybody in the hardness-of-heart stakes:

A senior guard commander struck back on Sunday [it is reported here] and challenged the judiciary for not going after the three top opposition leaders, Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mahdi Karroubi and former president Mohammad Khatami themselves, who initially led the protests over the June 12 elections on the grounds they were rigged.

Meanwhile, as reported above, the protestors, undeterred, are collecting photographic and witness evidence of acts of individual Guards and Basiji so they can be put on trial when they, the protestors, become the government. Which they soon will.


[1] Psalm 94, v. 20, Coverdale; Shorter Book of Common Prayer, CUP/OUP 1992, p. 250.

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