One has to wonder whether the Green movement is imploding. At a minimum, some very ugly public fights have broken out, with individuals associated with the Greens turning on each other. And just as with everything else Diaspora-Green, it’s taking place on Facebook.
On Karim Sadjadpour’s Facebook, he had linked a note by Rudi Bakhtiar of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Bakhtiar – a former Fox News anchor and spokesperson for PAAIA – had written a scathing commentary on Hooman Majd’s recent Newsweek article in which he reported on complaints from Green leaders in Iran about the “hijacking” of the movement by the MKO and Monarchists in exile.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran’s commentary was riddled with personal attacks on Majd, implying that his ability to travel to Iran proved that he was not with the Greens but with Ahmadinejad. (Last summer, Majd was one o the many voices on CNN hammering Ahmadinejad for election fraud).
“I hope someone at Newsweek will ask Mr. Majd, why he was allowed to travel to Iran from the United States a month ago, and move about the country freely, when so many journalists remain in jail, most without proper legal representation?,” Bakhtiar wrote.
Bakhtiar continues by accusing Majd of neglecting the human rights situation in Iran and challenges him to write about the regime’s crimes in this area.
“Mr. Majd, who enjoys the kind of access no other foreign journalists enjoy, should have reported on the atrocities ordered by the head of Iranian Police, Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam. Surely the Tehran University students deserve an answer as to why he ordered that bloody attack on their dorm rooms in the dead of night, an attack so violent it left five students dead?,” the spokesperson for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran wrote.
She concludes the commentary as follows: “It seems to me, the likes of Mr. Majd, and there are a few of them, who close their eyes to the gross human rights violations that are happening RIGHT NOW inside of Iran and print nonsensical finger pointing drivel, only to keep the door open to be welcomed back by this brutal government, is a much bigger problem than any opposition group in Diaspora.”
The commentary travelled through the Internet as wildfire, partly because of reposting of Sadjadpour’s original link.
It is unclear why the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran was so upset by Majd’s article, nor why they chose to address it in this manner. Nor is it clear why Sadjadpour – who doesn’t seem to have any relationship with Bakhtiar, ICHFR or Majd – chose to promote the commentary.
But just as Green supporters were hoping that the public fight was over, Majd posted on his facebook an explosive rejoinder five days later – revealing Bakhtiar’s apparent two-facedness.
Majd defends himself in style. He demolishes Bakhtiar without ever coming across as being mean or angry. And he hands to Bakhtiar by revealing his private email correspondence with Bakhtiar in which the former PAAIA spokesperson pours compliments on Majd.
Apparently, only a month earlier, Bakhtiar had emailed Majd to express her admiration for and agreement with his writings:
“From: Rudi Bakhtiar
Subject: Re: Postcard from Tehran – By Hooman Majd | Foreign Policy Date: May 7, 2010 10:42:52 AM EDT
To: Hooman Majd
Reply-To: Rudi Bakhtiar
Hooman jan,Beautifully written!Sad…but hopeful. I’m sorry I will miss you this Sunday. It would have been great to catch up…so many questions! 🙂 Ghorbanat
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry”
Calling Majd a “Persian Gem,” the revelation of the emails turns the table around. The issue is no longer Majd’s Newsweek article, but the dishonest approach of Bakhtiar, who calls Majd a gem to his face then talks trash about him behind his back.
Whether this duel ends right here or continues to destroy the Greens from the inside, one thing is certain: Public attacks by the International Campaign for Human Rights on other Iranians, Sadjadpour’s promotion of this fight through his facebook, and Majd’s apparent lack of hesitation to go all-out against his critics, only serve the enemies of the Greens.
If Bakhtiar and Majd can’t kiss and make up, they should at least stop fighting in public. And Sadjadpour should stop pouring fuel on the fire.