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Civilized indifference
Akbar Ganji could have been in Istanbul and receive more public sympathy


Augut 18, 2005

Mr. Akbar Ganji’s hunger strike has left a deep wound in the Iranian psyche inside and outside of the country. We certainly have read a lot of articles about the values that Mr. Ganji stands for and how he has sacrificed everything so far in the name of freedom of expression. But that freedom is not among the articles of the Islamic Constitution that is being used in Iran.

We have to take the view from the balcony -- why has the Iranian regime been so callous and hardheaded about this issue and why the corrupt regime is not afraid or concerned about the echo of Mr. Ganji’s cause all around the world? Let’s set aside all the other reasons and focus on the most important one.

The Islamic Regime is in fact supporting and promoting Ganji’s hunger strike for one important fact -- to prove to the Iranians inside the country and most importantly to show to the thousands of Iranians abroad that “you have no voice and power.” The British have proved to us repeatedly that we can only mourn our heroes and we never get a chance to raise them to the pedestal of leadership, because first they get assassinated and most importantly we prefer shedding tears for a disaster than the elation of success. This is the doctrine of the Iranian version of Islam.

One of the tactics in the world politics mostly used by the British is policy of what I call “civilized indifference.” Which simply means turn your face away from an objectionable matter as if you have not seen it, although you highly support it! In other words BBC writes about Ganji to make the Iranians think they are getting public support but their bosses in the British government turn their face away.

The very fact that Republican Administration and the British Government are fully supportive of the corrupt regime of Iran in exchange for free oil and natural resource of Iran has made the Islamic despots so bold and strong that they are using their swords in any place and any shape that they deem necessary.

Day by day we see and get closer to implementation of an Islamic Regime in Iraq too, and don’t ever let those few that wear ties among the Iraqi elected officials fool you, as they did during the early days of the Iranian Revolution. Somehow people relate wearing a tie with Democracy!

If that's democracy then why is it that in every street corner in London there is a camera watching you? Do you call that freedom? But yet that is the future for America. In a decade or two we will witness cameras that keep track of all of our moves in the public, exactly the way the forefathers meant it to be.

In Iran they execute teens for charges of sexual intercourse, they stone women to death for adultery and they laugh at a freedom fighter for going into a hunger strike. All to prove to the people that the regime is invincible -- for as long as they serve under the British flag and support of the US government for lucrative oil concessions. When their mission is done, there will come justice, and the massive search for the weapons of mass destruction will begin, but that will be a long time from now as no regime has ever served the west better than the current one in Iran.

So, what does this mean? First of all, sadly I have to say that Mr. Ganji should somehow have gone to a foreign land to start his hunger strike. He could have been in Ivory Coast and have far more news coverage by the world media than what he gets in Iran. He could have been in Istanbul and receive more sympathy from the public.

The true scope of his hunger strike in Iran is being censored by the same people who had no pity on their master, Imam Hossein (peace upon him) and I am sure you know the story. Who do you think killed Imam Hossein? The Jews? No! The predecessors of the same people who are ruling Iran are the ones that murdered Imam Hossein and his 72 soldiers.

Oh yes, they also murdered the 72 martyrs in the bomb blast of 1980 that killed just about anyone who had a smallest inclination to stand up against the British interference in Iranian domestic affairs or objected to the British-staged taking of the US hostages with the objective of forcing US out of Iran for the next half century as we are witnessing its progress.

In comparisons, Ganji is not getting the same exposure as Andrei Sakharov or Alexander Solzenitzen did. Those two Russians had lots of support in 70’s from the western media because the objective was to uproot the Soviet government and as we saw it materialized.

Their Nobel Prize winner Sakharov was a dissident hero, and in contrast our Nobel Prize winner spends her time in Iran making Ghormeh Sabzee and still undecided whether to wear the hejab or not! She puts it on in Iran and takes it off aboard! Why does she do that? Are foreign men kosher for a Muslim woman?

What a joke the British pulled on us! We now have a Noble Prize winner fighting more for the freedom of Africans than Iranians. She takes trips abroad as she wishes, yet if Zahra Kazemi takes a picture in Tehran she gets murdered! We have a Nobel Prize in Tehran yet we also have a hunger striker that is just about ignored!

Well, the only thing left is for Iran to apply for the 2012 Olympics to be held in Iran! And you know what? Don’t rule that out. They are such con artists that next Olympics they might even send women participants to the water sports and synchronized swim. This is what we call “Islam, British Style” And the day Charles put his feeble and pathetic feet in my native land I learned even more on how deep that Islamic government is submissive to the British as the others were for the past 200 years.

Yet Mr. Ganji reminds me of Ahmad Kasravi in some ways, another prime example that -- if you want to promote patriotism and nationalism in Iran, the “biggest piece of your body will be your ears once we are done with you” as is said in Persian and as is promoted by the British Doctrine in Iran.

Kasravi was not planning to change the language to stupid jargons of new vocabulary as some misguided Iranians think. His voice stood for freedom for Iranians from darkness of paganism, and to keep them from blind following of the illiterate mass and to avoid yielding to corruption and not to use your pen to praise and flatter the enemy. That is what Kasravi stood for and when the time was right the British gave him what they offered Amir Kabir! Death by assassination.

If Iranians abroad want to use their power, our intellectuals should take pens and write about the truth. How many of the powerful former regime servants do you find that sit and write about the TRUTH that they certainly know very well?

But fear of cutting their social security or their income or fear of unknown keeps them from writing the truth and instead they rely on essays on trivial matters of the past, how life was good in Luxemburg and wine was sweet in Shiraz, but total silence on what they know about the Free Masonry Lodges of Iran and what made Pahlavi Regime to last that long (or that short) beyond what we can read in every trivial essay on the subjects.

As the doctor says “all men will die of prostate enlargement if they live long enough” so it makes me think why should we be so intimidated by simply asking the British to get out of our mother land? We are going to die one way or another anyway and there is no glory in dying of prostate enlargements indeed.

I am yet to see one former high official of the Pahlavi Dynasty to truly surprise us with at least one half-ass expose’ -- a truth about something that would move many of us, to be able to say “thank you for enlightening us” and thanks for not being afraid of the British revenge and intimidation abroad!

But intimidation goes quite far. So that is why we have been reading so much about the scent of the women of 1940’s in Societe’ des Femme Fatales and lavish soirées of the Iranians embassies here and there. The more I see this, the more I realize that those whom the Islamic regime executed at the dawn of the so-called revolution were the true heroes of our land and they knew a lot. And many of the survivors were nothing but free loaders at large.

If we take up the pen we need to write from the bottom of our heart for Iran. The voice of Iranians is silenced both in Iran and abroad. If you send an article to a national newspaper it will get ignored, unless the article is about how Muslim women are being raped daily, then they publish it because it is another assault on the people of the west Asia. But if you write about how boys and men get raped, they won’t publish it.

It is up to those who live in America to stop talking about matters of low priority! I just read an article in this forum, which was a discourse on “circumcision” and the writer, was promoting how people should fight for their genital rights! [“Damaged goods”] What does such an article do for a nation of 65 millions that are suffering in the hands of Arab-appointed-rulers in Iran under the British flag? Have we run out of any other important subject?

Since Iran opened the gates to the Iranians living abroad and a green light a few years ago, it made it clear “behave! And you can come to visit” or else you will face Zahra Kazemi’s destiny. This opening of the gate has done more damage to the Iranian voice aboard than in the past.

As you might have observed, expatriates go there and when they come back they write about their travelogue and their visit to Shangri-La and the Utopia of Islamic land! And they write or talk about how they felt so powerful among the desolate people, how their dollar could buy things that are not available to the average man on the street in Iran. They forget about how one has to hold three jobs to support a family until he dies of heart failure and how drugs are available on every street corner for the ones that have no hope left.

And many Iranians in USA go back for visits. The more they go, the more their approach becomes reconciliatory in their expression about the ruling Arab-Regime of Iran. And this is precisely what the British have predicted and are highly promoting it -- “If you want to see your country, then shut up! Or we do the same to you as we did to Sadegh Hedayat and Shapour Bakhtiar in Paris.” Let alone Princess Diana!

So, if you are an Iranian writer or a journalist then go to Disneyland and have fun, but if you keep your mouth shut you are welcome to visit Iran. Your Nobel Prize winner is there to welcome you and if you pay a little grease money they let you pass the custom office without even inspecting your suitcases. Is this heaven or what?

So, if I am sad for Ganji it is because he is in the hands of a regime that had no pity even for Imam Hossein (peace upon him) and I will not be surprised if they hesitate and deny him that last drop of water in his death bed when the time comes as they denied their Imam. Forgive the paradox, but if any of you is planning for a hunger strike or instantaneous combustion or sit-in strike, you must do it outside of Iran where you will get sufficient exposure, as the main concept and idea around “strike” is mass exposure and public awareness. 

And as for the rest of us, many plan for the next trip to the Shangri-La, and the word “mother land” means nothing more than a good meal at a restaurant in the northern part of Tehran where kabobs are no shorter than sixteen inches! Bonne appetite and make sure to say hello to our silent “Nobel Prize winner”...

Farrokh A. Ashtiani is the founder of

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