Wednesday, March 3, 2010

6 More Dissidents Arrested In Iran



By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network


Usually as the Iranian New Year approaches, March 21st, the government makes some gesture toward reconciliation by releasing political prisoners. But this year, Tehran is taking the opposite tack. Arresting those the government deems to be political troublemakers.

The other day an opposition filmmaker, his wife, daughter and his house guests were all arrested and taken to an unknown location or locations. Now comes word that six more government critics are in custody.

While the main focus of the international community has been on Iran's nuclear aspirations, it's important to not forget those who have been, and continue to be, subjected to human rights violations.

There is an overwhelming desire among the Iranian people for freedom. It started with the outpouring of protests following the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But that's now morphed into something larger. A general desire for freedom.

From of speech. Freedom to assemble. Freedom of religion.

It is clear that the regime is losing its grip on the people. No longer are people afraid - or if they are they are defiant enough to come protest.

If the regime had the support of the people it would not have to resort to the bullying tactics of shutting off Internet and cellphone service. Smashing computers. Beating people. Arresting them and making them incommunicado. Shooting and even killing them.

The Iranian government may be able to kill individuals. But it can't snuff out the collective desire for freedom.

It was a revolution of another kind - a fundamentalist Islamic revolution - that toppled the Shah of Iran. Those who are old enough to have been involved in that effort must feel the heat of a new revolution. A revolution of freedom.

The government has successfully choked the flow of images from Iran to the outside world. It's all but completely banned foreign journalists from reporting anything of substance. But just because videos shot on the streets of Iran aren't appearing with the same regularity as before on YouTube and on CNN doesn't mean the Green Movement has been suppressed. Those involved are tenacious and single minded. Those in power must remember when they had the same sense of purpose. They know then that they are in trouble. If they are smart, they'll get out of the way of the inevitable change that's heading toward them. Change that - no matter how many Revolutionary Guard and militia goons at their disposal - they cannot stop.

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Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hamed/3636927440/

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