Prison rapes

This issue is close to the heart of the resistance to the present Iranian regime. Do these rapes happen – on an industrial scale, apparently – or do they not? Any shreds of respectability are completely blown away if reports of Khamanei-sanctioned rapes are true (the guards concerned always claim divine sanction from the Wise Donkey himself). All defenders and allies of the Rat are shamed into utter silence.The Donkey in his warlike, Hemingway phase

Well, such rapes do not happen, according to Iran’s prosecutor general, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, but at the same time they are the work of covert enemy agents, according to President Ahmadinejad, quoted in the New York Times:

In some detention centres inappropriate measures have taken place for which the enemy was again responsible.

Just when Khamenei was trying to establish that there has not been a far-flung international conspiracy! More realistically,

the blogger and activist Mojtaba Samienejad, published essays online from inside Iran arguing that far from being a new phenomenon, prison rape has a long history in the Islamic Republic.

Mideast IranSuch cases, never before investigated or documented, in part because of social stigma, are now being patiently assembled. But the New York Times is taken for task for headlining its own exposure, ‘Shame on Iran’. It is not Iran, objectors point out, but Khamenei, Ahmadinejad and Co. who are individually responsible:

Iran is our land and we love it.

False confessions

It is difficult to discern the purpose of publicising extracted confessions that nobody believes and that have inspired sublime satirical efforts around the world. Here is a specimen of such make-believe:

Former student leader Abdollah Momeni reportedly admits spreading false reports online and asks [the] court for ‘Islamic mercy’.

In a way this is like adjusting the dress, fixing the make-up on an old roué. This is how we would like the world to be, how we wish, in our childish sincerity, that reality behaved. Pull in the waist, give a dab of rouge. Let us attempt, while we still have the means, to make the world conform to our fantasies of an idyllic Islamic society.

Hostage-takers for all seasons

Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, doyen dissident ayatollah, urged the ‘silent mullahs’ (who have at least been silently withdrawing their support from Ratty) to speak out.

He said the Iranian government of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is “exploiting the silence of the clergy.”

This was on Sunday. On Tuesday, his three grandchildren were arrested. The reasons for this are said (by their father) to be “unclear”. The three boys, aged 18-22, are “not politically active.”

The Rat pack

Man of courage

Karroubi, who is standing firm on his rape allegations, has become something of a national hero. Since his written, photographic and recorded evidence was rejected by Iran’s prosecutor general, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, and his special panel, he has demanded to know what evidence they require. If the regime tries 100 people without any independent evidence at all, other than confessions which they, the prosecutors, themselves wrote, and he, Karroubi, has supplied authentic, independent, even photographic evidence, what more do they actually want?

At one justice hearing in front of a senior cleric, an old man appeared, weeping and complaining, to accuse a general present, in full uniform, of torture and rape of the old man’s son. The general rose in a fury and struck the old man across the face. Naturally, the whole episode was filmed on mobile phone and is now being watched by millions.

The young man who trusted Karroubi with the shame of his homosexual rape (he did not tell his own family because this is considered so taboo), and whom Karroubi entrusted to the regime to be independently interviewed, was again captured and imprisoned. He escaped, apparently, and made an audio recording of all his testimony. But his shame has been magnified enormously because, in their enquiries, the regime managed not only to inform the young man’s family ─ his father came weeping to Karroubi ─ but all his neighbours by their enquiries (“Is he gay?” etc.).

I am not sure if this is the same ‘Reza’ whose experiences I have twice before reported on. The story seems to keep unfolding.

Fateful Friday

Being in favour of peaceful, gradual change and not wanting anyone to get hurt, I tremble at the build-up on both sides of intent to confront on this coming Friday 18th September, the regime’s Quds Day (or Jerusalem Day). I would love to be there to march with an Israeli flag and celebrate the patience of successive Israeli governments and efficiency of Mossad, but somehow I don’t think this would be countenanced.

The tradition is that everyone beats their chests, slaps themselves with chains, puts books on their heads and sobs hysterically for the justice of the Palestinian cause and the wickedness of the ‘Zionist entity’.

There are many workers for peace:

Israeli and Palestinian activists on Tuesday presented the most detailed vision yet of what a peace deal could look like – more than 400 pages crammed with maps, timetables for troop withdrawals and even a list of weapons a non-militarized Palestine would be barred from having.

Tucking in

But if anything like this practical blueprint for peace came about, the legions of ‘antis,’ special pleaders and Islamic warmongers who would be out of a job is practically uncountable. Indeed it would be quite a setback for the BBC, Guardian newspaper and the ‘camel corps’ of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

So the Iranian government, who need enemies, are probably on solid ground. The trouble is, the colour of Hamas (hooray) is green, but the colour of the opposition (boo) is also green, so the Pastoran won’t know quite who to arrest. So, brothers, let’s kill everybody as we anyway desire to do and claim divine sanction as usual!

The last word on this charade was written long ago – by Michael Gove, my local MP, of all people:

Super GreenIsrael’s greatest crime is simply to exist at all. Israel’s existence as an openly plural, explicitly Western, conspicuously successful democracy in the heart of the Islamic world is just too much to bear … In a region that is supposed to have been held back by colonialism, hampered by prejudice and crippled by years of exploitation, the single most successful nation is the one least favoured by nature. Israel’s economic output, rate of growth, levels of employment, educational achievements, infant mortality and standard of public health care comprehensively outstrip all of its neighbours … There are. of course, two significant differences between Israel and all its neighbours in the region … Israel has no oil or gas. But it is the only state where governments change as a result of democratic elections, the Press is free, the courts fair, the officials uncorrupt, contracts open and enforceable, and political opposition integral to the culture. For all those whose narrative of the last sixty years places the West in the dock, finds capitalism and imperialism guilty of the greatest global crimes of our time, and lays the woes of the developing world at the door of the developed, the condition of Israel is a living refutation of all they stand for. For the leaders of all Israel’s neighbours, Israel’s success is a daily reminder of how they have failed their peoples. If any dispassionate observer were to look at the region from Tangier to Tehran, ignorant of where national borders lay but concerned only with the material condition of the peoples he encountered, he would inevitably be forced to ask why not only the greatest prosperity, but also the most visible culture of equality, was found in the territory currently administered by the Israeli government. He would be compelled to ask why the standard of living was so much more enviable than anywhere else in that whole crescent, save for the palaces of a few favoured families. And it is to stop that question being asked, as it should be, with increasing strength and vigour, that the leaders of Arab nations are so eager to see the campaign against Israel’s existence continue.[1]

[1] Michael Gove, Celsius 7/7. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006, pp. 56-57.