People see courage and vision in Akbar Ganji
April 11, 2001
Akbar Ganji is the Iranian of the year, according to a survey conducted
by iranian.com. Emails were sent to about 40,000 members of The Iranian
mailing list last month, asking about their choice. Ganji, a reformist journalist
sentenced to 10 years in prison for "undermining Iran's security",
received nearly a quarter of the respondents' votes, more than any other
person. Also see other Iranians of the year "Khatami,
Googoosh & Pahlavi", "Notables" and "Etcetera".
The following are survey comments about Akbar Ganji:
* What Iranians admire
Akbar Ganji is my choice for Iranian of the year. As an Iranian, he has
come to represent what Iranians admire most: courage, vision, perseverance,
Ali Akbar Mahdi
Chair and associate professor
Department of Sociology
Ohio Wesleyan University
* Democratic accountability
(I vote for Akbar Ganji) for courage in reporting and commitment to democratic
Department of Political Science
University of Toronto
* Most prominent
Akbar Ganji is the most prominent investigative journalist Iran has ever
had. In a future democratic Iran his contributions will be openly and proudly
* He fails, we fail
My choice is Akbar Ganji because he symbolizes the struggle of the people,
and the voice that can not be subdued. In short, if we fail to help people
like him bring about change, then we have failed as a nation. His imprisonment
is our imprisonment.
* Show solidarity
Mr. Ganji showed great courage to expose the assassinations committed
by the Ministry of Intelligence and the connection to high ranking Iranian
officials. His imprisonment is the retaliation he gets for his services
to the people by exposing the government's dirty little secret.
Concerned citizens in Iran should do more to win his freedom and show
show their solidarity and support for this Iranian patriot who has done
great services for his country and the revolution. Demand Justice Not Retaliation.
Akbar'e Ganji is the man with balls. It's a shame we have very few of
* IRI's ugly nature
My choice of Ganji as the Iranian of the year is not based upon his skill
as a journalist but the fact that this so-called liberal journalist and
others like him exposed the ugly nature of the Islamic regime once again.
It just goes to prove that no matter who or which group is in power under
molla's rule, they will not tolerate any differing or questioning opinions.
It just shows that when push comes to shove, the so-called liberal President
Khatami shows his true face as he did during the students' unrest; first
he supported their cause but as it spread and threatened the very existence
of the regime, he condemned the students as thugs and anti-revolutionary
elements and allowed their violent suppression and shed crocodile tears
for them later.
In the case of these journalists too, Khatami prefers to shut up and
say nothing which might endanger his position as the puppet head of a joke
called the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Khatami's liberalism
is a myth created by the regime to simply buy them time, just as the war
with Iraq bought them time and gave them the chance to ruthlessly slaughter
the people who opposed them.
Khatami is one of them and it is a mistake to think of him as a savior.
I am sure this year too he will get a big chunk of the vote cast through
this poll. But time will show what a useless molla he was, as far as the
welfare of the Iranian people is concerned. Down with the Islamic Republic
in any shape and form!
* The one
The one who dared to talk against darkness...
The one who had the courage to talk about change...
The one who is now in prison for talking about freedom...
The one who is coming from inside the system and protests against it...
The one who has the dream of having an independent, powerful, democratic,
* Paying the price
Mr. Ganji's revelations about Rafsanjani and the political murders will
have a positive impact on future political discourse in Iran. Unfortunately
he is paying the price for being one of the pioneers of the reform movement.
* He dared
Akbar Ganji was once a functionary in the Revolutionary Guards and the
Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance. Now, Ganji challenges high authorities
by name, accuses Iran's Intelligence Ministry of the murders of dozens of
intellectuals and believes that people are constantly being killed because
they know too much about the government's dirty dealings. Lately Ganji confronted
ex-president Rafsanjani for having valuable information on the recent murders.
By publishing one article after the other, he is the one who has finally
pulled back the curtain. In other words, he dared to call Islamic authorities
to account in a way no other Iranian journalist ever dared. He broke the
biggest taboo by doing so and he could only do so because he has the public's
Ganji knows though that his writings carry risks. His fights for reforms
are lawful but dangerous at the same time. He has regularly received anonymous
threats and he himself calls what he is doing "playing with death".
But on the other side even some liberals fear that he is going too far.
Morteza Mardiha, a columnist for the Teheran daily Asr-e-Azadegan
commented on Ganji's mission that: "Sometimes reality is too harsh
and unnecessary to be looked at."
On April 22, 2000, Ganji was detained for his accusations concerning
the 1998 serial murders. He said, "This is the price we pay for exposures
in connection with the serial murders."
AND THAT IS WHY I CHOOSE Mr. GANJI FOR THE TITLE OF "IRANIAN OF
* Stood up
(I vote for Akbar Ganji) for the way he stood up for his rights and the
way he spoke out at his trial. he has outstanding courage and I wish him
* No easy path
(I vote for Akbar Ganji) for resisting the easy path.
My vote for Iranian of the year goes to Mr Akbar Ganji, an investigative
journalist who triggered a new wave of resistance in Iran and demonstrated
the colossal scale of the regime's thirst for violence. He is brave, honest
and dedicated to his principles. These are the values that our society has
but only a limited chance to face up to.
He is the only one with guts to stand up and tell the truth in court.
He is brave and committed to his cause.
* Sacrifice for truth
My Iranian of the year is Akbar Ganji, the courageous and bold writer.
He sacrificed himself for the truth.
* Defending free expression
I vote Akbar Ghandji as the Iranian of the year for his stamina in defending
freedom of expression and choice in Iran, devastated by 22 years of theocratic
and dogmatic rule.
* Idealist, brave
As a reformist he stays idealist, as a reporter he stays brave, as a
political figure he stays honest, and as a prisoner he stays determined.
He translates redemption for generations to come.
* Resilient voice
I vote for Akbar Ganji for the most resilient voice of suppressed reform.
My choice is Akbar Ganji for all he does and all he did during the recent
years. He is a symbol of the unity of courage and intellect, the unity of
patriotism and principles.
* Courageous revelations
I was impressed by Akbar Gangi's courageous revelations in his book "Aalijenaab-e
sorkhpoush". Last year his fight for freedom of speech continued
which resulted in his imprisonment. As an Iranian I am proud of his efforts
and therefore I choose him as the Iranian of the year.
* Shedding light
Akbar Ganji has been imprisoned for bringing to light those behind the
planned murder of Iranian intellectuals who were on a bus to Russia for
* Against judiciary
Mr. Ganji, who turned his court appearance into a prosecution of the
judiciary, should be the man of the year!
My vote is for Akbar Ganji. He is a symbol of "mardaanegi va esteghaamat."