Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Free the Hikers

An International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran report published in mid-January 2011 said that Iran has hanged an average of one person every eight hours since the beginning of the new year. Amnesty International is very concerned that, after an unfair trial, Saeed Malekpour is facing a death sentence in Iran, with reports “he was tortured in order to confess to his crimes.” Last month Dutch-Iranian Zahra Bahrami was executed, having been convicted of drug smuggling.

So what is worse, pornography or torture? A web programmer who had written photo uploading software that was used in a porn website, Canadian resident Saeed Malekpour was arrested in October 2008 by plainclothes officers . Kept in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran for the past two years, Saeed Malekpour had been initially in solitary confinement for almost a year without access to legal representation. One year after his arrest, Saeed Malekpour was put on state television to confess to his crime of designing and moderating adult content websites, acting against the national security, insulting and desecrating the principles of Islam. “A large portion of my confession,” Saeed Malekpour wrote, “was extracted under pressure, physical and psychological torture, threats to myself and my family, and false promises of immediate release upon giving a false confession to whatever the interrogators dictated.”

According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI), 121 people have been hanged between 20 December 2010 and 31 January this year. Saeed Malekpour has now been sentenced to death for running “indecent” websites. If these were porn websites, his wife claims, they were without his knowledge. Informed of the verdict, the 35-year-old Iranian born web programmer is facing imminent execution and has been transferred to solitary confinement, until the supreme court sanctions the administration of his execution.

The principles of Islam. Or the administration of those principles. Or the view into the administration of principle, in view of human rights. The human rights to communicate something about living free. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office in 2005, as president, 26 years after the 1979 Islamic revolution. The Khomeini government then had placed the Ministry of Culture in charge of reviewing all books before publication. With the imposition of strict rules on book publishing, which now under the current president’s regime, seem to threaten the life of a writer. A literary spring during the era of Mohammad Khatami’s presidency beginning in 1997 had once opened up the cultural atmosphere of book publishing.

The principles of torture that seems to be woven into the Iranian Revolution in 1979, which comes with the human desire for power. The power of one human to say who is stronger. The power of one human to say that he/she knows God best. The power of one human to say that he/she knows the manner to know God better. It all was the same conflict that Eve had with Adam, as she offered him the bite of the apple. It was the same conflict that had Cain kill Able. It all revolved around the first commandment relating to knowing God. That commandment was why Adam, why Eve, were not to eat the apple.

The power. Governments wanting power, cloaking police and secret police in plainclothes. Looking for challenges to power. Using torture to keep human power. Just as had been done following September 11th by the American government, distorting the principles of the American constitutions, when American power was challenged. Just as in Cairo, as plainclothes police arrest hundreds of demonstrating opponents of President Hosni Mubarak, placing them in detention, subject to torture. Since President Ahmadinejad took office in 2005, he has his security services detaining, using various method of torture on people off the street. Like the CIA had kidnapped people and held them in detention. Not all that dissimilar to the three Americans arrested near the border of Iraq, while on holiday, when asked by Iranian authorities to come over. A man in authority, in the name of government, in uniform, with power. The two males were at least provided legal counsel, even if they did not get to talk to their attorney alone on the day of the trial, before or after the court proceeding, in their trial this week. Their attorney, Masoud Shafii has said that he had not seen his clients since Sarah Shourd was released, with requests to visit them repeatedly denied by Iranian authorities.

When the government of law seemed subservient to government of men. The Iranian press reported the number of trial sessions will depend on the presiding judge. Did this all seem like a “show” trial, in a country with a religious state where you had to try to show others you prayed. In a system sounding a lot like a Communist regime, where you first had to belong to the Party. Only Communists had not been allowed to believe in God, publicly.

When absolute power corrupts, and provides distortions in concepts of fairness. The distortion that led Cain to kill Able. The distortions which lead to capital punishment, in the name of justice. The distortions which led governments to want to manipulate the news of the world, or just control the release of the Truth.

It was a challenge to governments to try and cover the news, based in Damascus, Syria. Where then 17-year old Tal al-Molouhi, a high school student has been under arrest since 2009, on charges of revealing information to a foreign country. In her blog. There was not much left in the rights of journalists as newspapers collapsed in the past few years. There was little left of the Society of Professional Journalists. Was this the same motivation behind the detention of Shane Bauer that no one writes about. A professional journalist based in Syria, with the 45-year ban on public demonstrations, state-run television, and all of the “security” forces, where the government goes looking for 17-year old bloggers. And graduates in journalism from Berkley are allowed to write freely, but just not hike on weekends?

When armed groups” in Iraq “receive financial and logistical support from Syria,” according to Iraq General Raymond Odierno’s previous comments to Al Hayat. Yet traditional media never really reports on the financial foundation of all these “insurgents” in Iraq. When the money for weapons, a great deal of money, most come from somewhere. Iran presenting itself as the natural representative of the non-Sunnis and non-Arabs nations, opposing both Israel and the West in the region, allied with Syria in support of Palestinian “resistance” to the supposed ambitions of the West and Israel in the region.

POST SCRIPT: On Valentine’s Day, chained and blindfolded, Tal al-Molouhi was brought into court and sentenced to five years in jail. In Syria. Where 80-year old Haitham al-Maleh has been incarcerated since October 2009 with a three year prison sentence for spreading”false information. About Syria, the recipient of Iranian oil money to prop up the power of the family of a long-time dictator.

Egypt. There no longer was a Society of Professional Journalists left. Not when their papers were on their last ropes. There were no labor unions offering protection. As governments smirked about it all. The news last week was about journalists being beat up and released. People like Hilary Clinton, who hated the press. AND it had been Obama who had kicked 3 journalists off a plane during the last campaign, because their papers failed to endorse him. On February 14th, the U S State Department in the way of Hilary Clinton has clamored for the rights to an internet connection, in the Middle East. The communication systems that could be bugged, or turned off or turned on. The ones which had been developed by the U S Military but became prevalent under the presidency of Hilary Clinton’s husband. Technology in which the location of every cellphone user could be found. The Clinton administration, not exactly the stalwarts of freedom, having set up the Joint Task Force-Civil Support in October 1999 as a “homeland defense command.” In 2002 this evolved into the establishment by the Pentagon of the U.S. Northern Command, charged with carrying out military operations within the United States. Up until the Clinton Presidency, the U S armed forces under Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 had been barred from domestic operations, except in specific, limited circumstances. There was a hollow ring to the words of the Secretary of State today, by a government which issued National Security Authorization letters which no one was allowed to talk to anyone about –not even a lawyer –under the terms of the Patriot Act.

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The Groundhog: Living in the Shadows

Shadows. Living in shadows. Of fathers and mothers. And the past. And with a comparative approach to religion. Comparing the framework of your God to my God. In springtime….when.

“What do you want to say?” The struggle of what you wanted to say. With your fertility. WHEN you as a writer were in charge of everything. The scene. The history. The affect of history on people. When you were directing their DNA and fertility. What would happen. In a world where things just seemed to happen, the characters had no free will. Like in some parts of the globe. Like in Egypt.

When you poured your heart into everything, at a price. Dealing with insignificance, in a world with 6 billion people and you did not really know anyone. Because of the language barrier. The world with six billion people with one billion ideas per person.

The strangeness of God., to those who do not know Him. Maybe that was why the best comics were Jewish and Irish. When humor is based upon strangeness. Before you lost a capacity to know God further on earth. Or in earth. And it was left to your fertility. In those Mount Moriah moments.

Looking at the body and blood for clues. And mainly focusing on fertility. Of a woman. Clues of the past and in the future. The mystery in the inheritance. As it had happened throughout human history. The Swede, my money manager, thinks that the United States in the future will use power, American armies, to impose a dominant economic system. It had happened throughout human history. When in war, the mountains will fall and the hills turn to dust. When it all seemed to be collapsing.

Sweden. Opinions rather than ethics? Real ethics. I had this friend from youth who would be sentenced soon in federal court, for a lapse in judgment, as an accountant. At his first job, no one would have asked him to do something contrary to recognized good. Such as changing a contract. Cutting and pasting.

People reconstructing their lives. After a war. A lot of vets came home with their fertility intact. Some to a family where fertility was previously dispursed. Pray for the returning war vet. Yeah, the ones who had volunteered, for whatever reason.

The excitement when the future is released in the power of fertility. And then experiencing the future from that fertility. When the future looks out of control. Beyond control, like creation itself. As two become one. And a human learned how to trust someone.

Killed in the riots in Egyt in 1952. Going back to look for something there. The Kubler-Ross mystery, with the Judy Herman mystery. Working the anger through. For generations. As the sorrowful mysteries turn to glory.

The urges about the past. The warmth of intimacy which determines the future. The excitement out of control. As two becomes one. Or you take “precautions,” over the excitement. As one lover makes adjustments for the other. To be touched by the future and wanting more. The vows over it. In creating my own personal future. Strangers becoming lovers. Attached. Bonded, for all time. The fidelity. The hunger. For more. The Jesuits called it Magis. The needs and the wants within, to be touched. The public proclamation to the world,without shame, unconditionally about the future. About union,and kids, and hunger.

A part of me, in the future. Now! Even if I should die. Seeing it, experiencing the future alive, as the invisible slowly becomes visible. To have a role in the future, in creating the future. With my fertility. The seasons. The cycles. A lot like Abraham and inheritance and the farm. The excitement of the discovery of the story. The same stories again and again. Generation after generation, the lives of people with similar DNA. And the strangeness of Abraham, on Mount Moriah. And the strangeness of God, to those who do not know Him.

Attempting to grasp meaning. Over birthright and inheritance. In the embezzlement of incomplete ideas. When it was difficult to talk about intimacy in fron of one thousand people. Over issues of love and of things like divorce. The adult things which children had to be taught, from positions of authority. Because leaders were made and not born. Even though days of birth were celebrated here.

Wrestling with identity. Birthright, when the framework breaks down. And kids are overwhelmed. Shadows. Ground hogs and kids… in shadows. Of fathers and mothers. And the past. And with a comparative approach to religion. Comparing the framework of your God to my God. In spring….when it should come. If it should come.

Ground hogs. Rebirth. Masking rebirth in the shadows. David Reminick’s line about living the same old stories in our lives. (As writers trying to write…some kind of a fresh prayer. About rebirth.) And calling it work.