The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


November 27, 2000

Deny satisfaction to the Black Menace

The prerequisite for gaining admission into the Iranian political folklore, more often than not, has called for fortitude to bear physical and/or psychological pain ["Dictators create heroes"]. Pain inflicted at the hands of the henchmen of various regimes struggling to elongate their master's despotic rule.

At the same time the public's penchant to disregard a former hero's exploits at the first sign of capitulation in the form of written and lately, televised "confession" has not been lost to the very regimes.

A case in point is the recent defiance of the investigative journalist, Akbar Ganji, in the kangaroo court right after receiving a severe beating by four goons versus the apologetic defense presented by the satirist, Ebrahim Nabavi. The former is being praised and the latter frowned upon.

Although it is true that Nabavi's self-incriminating defense is in essence an stinging indictment of the very pillars of the regime, akin to the "dear interrogator" letter of National Martyr, Saidi Sirjani -- however, it is also true that his and his 23 year old colleague, the famed political commentator, Ghouchani's tactical retreat is branded in the public's eye as boreedan.

That is precisely what all the torturing meted out is designed to achieve. As the targeted market, we are meant to buy the product, the confession and the consequent loss of face, which in turn is a clear dire warning to all potential foes of the fragility of the public's backing.

By acquiescing to the regime's intentions, like it or not, we all do participate in the act of torture, albeit unwittingly.

The metamorphosing properties of Evin Prison, and countless other dungeons in Iran are known to all, yet we act as though an scripted "confession" is an affront to our national chastity.

Isn't it the high time we collectively deny satisfaction to the Black Menace by not mentioning a word of "confessions"? And regard anyone who becomes a ward of the Islamic Republic as a compatriot in captivity of a foreign potentate befitting all the support regardless of what he/she is compelled to say during the incarceration?

Shahriar Zangeneh


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