Check out the perpetrators, not the victims

Amnesty International has been quiet but effective, on at least a few occasions, during the unrest. Here they make a reasonable point:

Family photoIran is spending more time investigating the victims of torture and rape behind bars than investigating those who committed such abuses, [Amnesty International] claimed Thursday. “The Iranian authorities appear more intent on finding the identities of those who claim to have been tortured by security officials than in carrying out an impartial investigation so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice,” Amnesty International chief Irene Khan said.

One might add that it is vain offering evidence to representatives of the regime ─ they are the accused parties and are keen to discredit and suppress all such evidence. Rather, offer it to some impartial agent of international order that holds human rights as a cardinal value. The Rat, sorry, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s powerful conservative parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, may belong to different factions but they both attack the validity of the rape allegations. Let them hang together. So much for the Kennedys. Could the brave but dim Karroubi really have kept vital documents in his office, which was, predictably, raided? Doesn’t he realise who the enemy is?

Muslim Adam and EveThose documents were confiscated during the raids by Iranian security forces, and two members of the reformists’ investigative committee were arrested this week, Moussavi said in a statement posted on his Web site Tuesday.

The documents are malicious forgeries, but we are very anxious to confiscate them anyway! Is this a reign of terror, as at least one opposition figure claims?

Brave girl on a bus

A young girl gets on a bus full of people, and starts reading a flyer about freedom and what happened after the election. She speaks plainly about the human rights abuses. At the end she leaves some flyers and tells people to go for the demonstration on Friday at 9.30 am at such and such a place. What she read was very passionate and moving and brave. Watch here (Farsi).

Karroubi addresses his nation

Well, the old chap has settled down to write an interminable address to the people of Iran, as mullahs will. Because he is braver than your average mullah, we should read it, I suppose. (It is in English here.) The sign reads, Sister, Hejab is for safety and not a limitation. The girls are telling them what they think.He says, amongst other things:

I wasn’t there during the rape to make a film to provide you with, and I wasn’t there when the crime was being committed to pass a [tape measure] to tell you of the distance between them. And did you expect me to provide you with the instruments of crime? I also said that my job is not to collect evidence, and this is not my court, and if I have provided you with evidence, it’s just a clue so that you’d go and investigate further and to bring an end to this injustice.

Islamic law requires four witnesses to give evidence of a crime. How thoughtless of the rapists not to perform in front of a small audience. Why is there is nothing in the Koran about DNA? There seems to be little doubt that Karroubi is appealing to the three-member investigating committee as if he expects justice. If they gave him that, they would all be arrested.

Shark, weasel or toothless lion?

Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, powerful cleric, architect of the revolution and strangely quiet lion-behind-the-scenes, has been prevented from giving the prayers on this coming Friday’s Quds [Jerusalem] day in support of the Palestinians, the Iranian government’s idea of a jolly annual national holiday. He has done so for 25 years, so this is a departure. In addition to the regime’s morbidly growing list of fears, it is trembling at the prospect of well-organised and widespread opposition demonstrations. As far as I can make out, most international opposition planning is concentrated on the Rat’s visit to the United Nations on 23rd of this month, September 09. But anyway.

Opposition supporters have plastered walls in cities and towns with posters calling on opposition supporters to take to the streets, photographs posted to the internet show. “I ask the understanding and intelligent nation of Iran to turn out massively in Friday’s rally in a bid to negate any kind of oppression anywhere in the world,” Ayatollah Yousef Sanei, a high-ranking reformist cleric, was quoted as saying on his website. “Be sure that God watches out for tyrants.”

Instead, Ahmadinejad will speak, sharing a platform with Ayatollah Ahmad (the ‘other’) Khatami. Remember him? He’s the one who wants everyone punished and killed (see apoplectic photo).The other, apoplectic Khatami (Ahmad)

Kill them

I’m always concerned about people, black or green, getting hurt and favour the peaceful change brought about by compromise and ambiguity. I can’t have many readers in Kurdish areas of north-western Iran, where they simply kill the regime’s mullahs. Some of the worst regime atrocities are reported from Tabriz and Kurd-flavoured areas. Let’s have gradual, non-ideological change. But the implacable ignorance of President Rat makes a violent ending seemingly inevitable. His nuclear stance, aimed at Israel, is utterly intransigent and his timescale for sweet talks with Obama is running out. The UN will meet in October. Pre-emptive strikes are pencilled in for December. Don’t forget how long it takes to push over a ramshackle middle-eastern regime ─ about a fortnight.

The shroud

The issue of female Islamic dress seems to me tiresome and overblown. Let people wear what they like. But the issue of male control of women, and Koranically maintained legal advantage, is a live one throughout the Islamic world. It should always be borne in mind that

Abou Omar Alsif with cypherThe Quran prescribes some degree of segregation and veiling for the Prophet’s wives, but there is nothing in the Quran that requires the veiling of all women or their seclusion in a separate part of the house. These customs were adopted some three or four generations after the Prophet’s death. Muslims at that time were copying the Greek Christians of Byzantium, who had long veiled and segregated their women in this manner […][1]

And Karen Armstrong is wildly biased towards the uncritical (and therefore acceptable) view of Islam. Why should women be forced to dress in a manner that, in the West, is reserved for those who voluntarily choose a life of extreme monastic seclusion and spiritual devotion? I have included throughout this post photos that in various humorous ways make much the same point. My favourite is the schoolgirls, with their trainers and jeans. They look quite normal to me!

[1] Armstrong, K. Islam, a short history. New York: Modern Library, 2002, p. 16.