au1929 wrote: McGentrix wrote:
The Iranian ebrown has most likely perished in prison after many hours of being tortured for not following the Koran and Sharia.
You took the words right out of my mouth.
Ignorance. There is a vibrant dissident society in Iran.
Nobel Prize winner dissident and democracy and women's rights activist Shirin Ebadi has faced government censorship and intimidation. In the past she was placed under house arrests, and once she spent three weeks in prison. But she's not in prison now, and definitely not dead.
There are many like her of lower name recognition. Student activists, womens activists. Theres dissident clerics, even. And lots of regular young people who dont have much up with the regime, like to flirt with the girls while riding their scooters around, and manage to get around with some of Ebrown's feelings without being thrown in jail.
I've tried to occasionally note news items about people like these on Lash's Insights on Iran
thread - for example:
- about Ebadi's triumphant return to Teheran here (and previously also about her here),
- about an Iranian conference about transsexuality and other works to "combat stigma" of transsexuals (!!) here,
- about a local nurse who challenged her conservative community and stood for local office to improve womens' and childrens' lives - and was elected, here
- about the flourishing underground culture of jokes about President Ahmadinejad here
- about an Iranian activists' drive to gather a million signatures for a petition to improve womens rights, here
Again, these are brave people, and they can face harassment and random retaliation - perhaps they're fired suddenly, or they're taken in by the police and then released again, just to scare them a little - I'm not saying it's a pleasant place, and it's been getting rapidly worse the last few years. The lengthy perestrojka-like period when the President himself (then Khatami) would openly chide conservatives and warn against their influence has passed. They´ve even clamped down on, first, satellite dishes, which had become ubiquitous means for Iranians to keep abreast with international news and soap operas, and then internet, which had been hugely popular among the young.
But note, people were openly using both on a massive scale just a couple of years ago. And the country's own President was openly criticising fundamentalism and corruption just a few years ago. My point being that, even today, and definitely through most of the previous decade, Iran is / has been far more like, say, Brezhnev-era Eastern Europe, than like the Taliban's Afghanistan. Dissidents are harassed, but keep working anyway; critical media are closed down, but appear through some other venue the month after (that wouldnt even have been possible in 1980s Eastern Bloc). Participants in one womens rights demonstration were arrested, but the protest did take place; the director of a municipal transport workers union that had protested was detained, but not, apparently, the other participants - and both of those partial clampdowns in themselves were news, a new development (see this post
, in the same thread).
So, in short, the statement that an Iranian ebrown would "most likely [have] perished in prison after many hours of being tortured for not following the Koran and Sharia", as McGentrix put it, is nonsense. Back in the 1980s heyday of Ayatollah Khomeiny's rule, perhaps. Now, or the last ten years? Nonsense.
Another must-read about daily life in Iran, be it a bit dated (I posted it in 2004 in another worthwhile thread, Reform and revolution in Iran
): A weeklong journal of a writer in Iran. By Reza Aslan.