Doostane Farsi Zabane Man

Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

A Lawyer at Death’s Door

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2010 at 1:20 am

“Ms. Pillay [the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights] should be aware that a lawyer, a human rights activist in Iran, is at death’s door and she needs to do something.”
– Human Rights Activist and Nobel Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi, highlighting the case of Nasrin Sotoudeh.

Pressure from Islamic Republic authorities

In Uncategorized on December 19, 2010 at 11:44 am

As if having their children killed weren’t enough, now they’re being arrested too.

Iran steps up pressure on families of post-election victims

Ahmadinejad v. Mottaki

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2010 at 12:51 pm

“Iran’s president abruptly fired his foreign minister Monday and named the nuclear chief as acting top diplomat, the latest sign of a rift at the top levels of the Islamic theocracy as the country faces intense pressure from the West over its nuclear program.”

Short story: http://bit.ly/fJcqNg
Long story: http://huff.to/h2MfA2

“Iranian media have reported that lawmakers were pushing for Mottaki to be dismissed if more UN Security Council sanctions were imposed in response to the country’s nuclear program.

According to the reports, the lawmakers argued that Mottaki was not a strong or persuasive enough advocate for Iran on the international stage.”

Right, because it’s Mottaki who’s screwing things up for Iran on the international stage by not being persuasive, not Ahmadinejad, whom everyone believes, and possibly rightly so (I have no way of knowing for sure), is both crazy and dangerous.

Where are the Human Rights Organizations When You Need Them?

In Uncategorized on December 11, 2010 at 6:13 am

Having been imprisoned in solitary confinement at the Towhid Prison in Iran for simply expressing my opinions, I grateful to have been a direct beneficiary of the work of human rights organizations.

For the last ten years, I have called the United States of America my home. I am not a US citizen, nor do I plan to assume the status, as I’m intent on returning and rebuilding my motherland. Our members inside and outside Iran are working diligently to bring about a free and democratic Iran, void of institutionalized Islam and deliberate persecution. As a political refugee who fled the repressive Islamic regime occupying Iran, I was warmly welcomed by American tolerance and democracy. The US is exemplary of a working democracy, and it is her policy to continuously promote democratic freedoms and basic human rights abroad.

So, why do American human rights organizations and activists fall silent in the face horrific and systematic human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran? This theocracy devastates not only political dissidents like myself, but anyone who promotes secularism, equality, personal freedoms and true Iranian culture.

Read the rest of the article here.

The Dark Side of American Politics

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2010 at 4:32 am

This is a relatively old post that I just found on the website of the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts. It’s only from the end of November, so it’s really not that old, but I thought it was interesting:

“Religion has a dark side and, as we have bitterly experienced, religious extremists can be deadly. But, as Park 51 and recent congressional elections have demonstrated, no thanks to some politicians and bigots, religion can be also be exploited to feed division and hatred.”
Continue reading here.

This post reminds me two New York Times articles:
1) This letter to the editor about Muslims being bullied (published Oct. 28, 2010).
2) An op-ed I read in the NY Times a while ago about how we, s a country, have become racist against anyone from the Middle East.

The direct reference in the first article to Sharia law “creeping in” to secular law also reminded me of a thought I had when I read that Oklahoma overwhelmingly passed a law banning Sharia from entering legislation. My first thought was “Well, now isn’t this interesting? We can base laws on Judeo-Christian morals, but not on Islamic morals” (don’t get me wrong, I’m Christian myself, so I’m not trying to bash Jews or Christians). My second thought was “But the First Amendment says that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…,’ so why should we ever allow blatantly religious laws into our society?” Third thought: “This is just violence and intimidation against Muslims, and that is absolutely not acceptable.” My fifth thought (this was obviously a long train of conflicting thoughts) was that if Sharia law was allowed to be made law in any way, this would make religious law trump the Constitution, which is the foundation for the United States’ legal system in the first place. My last thought, which is kind of still where I am today, is “Why does it matter, other than for reasons of principle? Supporters of this law are calling it a ‘preemptive strike.’ A preemptive strike against whom? The roughly .8% of the population of Oklahoma who are going to suddenly rise up in the name of Allah and somehow get Sharia law into the Oklahoma legislation? What are the people of Oklahoma so afraid of?”

Anyway, that was a kind of long and rambling post, but you should check out at least one of the two links. They’re both very short articles, and I think you will enjoy them.

Amy Katuska
Program Director

Why Should Iran Trust President Obama?

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2010 at 2:46 pm

In the run-up to a new round of nuclear talks between the P5+1 and Iran on Monday, Western commentators are re-hashing old arguments that the Islamic Republic is either too politically divided or too dependent on hostility toward the United States for its legitimacy to be seriously interested in a nuclear deal. From this perspective, the Obama administration has been more than forthcoming in its efforts to “engage” Tehran; the obstacles to diplomatic progress are all on the Iranian side.

But a sober examination of the Obama administration’s interactions with Iran since President Obama took office in 2009 reveals a dismaying mix of incompetence and outright duplicity that has done profound damage to American interests and credibility. In light of this record, the question is not whether the United States should have any confidence it can productively engage the Islamic Republic. The real question is: why should Iranian officials believe they can trust President Obama and his administration to deal with them straightforwardly and with a genuine interest in finding a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff?

Full article from the Huffington Post here.

You’re My Motivation

In Uncategorized on December 3, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Over the course of the past 24 hours, I have realized something. Following the mission statement of Doostane Farsi Zabane Man isn’t really my main motivation for the time I put into this program. A mission statement is just a bunch of words strung together that describe something big in a little amount of space. So what’s my main motivation? The participants of the program.
It’s cool to be excited about your own idea, but that’s to be expected. It is, after all, your idea, so you’re supposed to think it’s good, or else it’s not worth anyone’s time. When others are excited about your idea, that’s even cooler, because it means your idea might be pretty good. When the participants are excited, though, that’s the coolest.
Yesterday, I talked to Farzad A., the vice chair of our Board of Directors and essentially my counterpart in Iran. He teaches English, and 6 or so of his students are participating in the program. One of his students sent a really amazing letter, and I told him I thought that. She’s apparently very excited to receive her pen pal’s response, and she even sent a video of herself. I heard from a mom in Maryland today who said that her sons, who are also participants, are really getting into it. One of them brought home a book about Persian culture from the library yesterday. The youngest, who is the only one who has received a letter so far, brought it into school to show his teacher and classmates. They all started reading some comics books about Rostam, from the Shahnameh, that I sent them. Other have expressed similar excitement.
When I see how excited the participants and even their parents get, it makes all the time and energy I put into this worthwhile. Not only is this program not a bad idea, but maybe it can actually work…

Amy Katuska
Program Director