Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

Iran Helps Detain Another Journalist

Exile. Banishment. When journalist uncovered the truth, governments had a hard time distinguishing good from evil, in relation to their temporal powers. Amidst the chaos.

In a part of the world where torture was a way of life, one human rights group said Monday’s door-to-door cleanup operation in Syria was “to isolate anti-government sympathizers and render them incapable of organizing.” President Bashar al-Assad had blamed the uprising on foreign insurgents and “armed terrorist groups” operating in Homs, Banias and Dara’a, but while his security forces were using support from the Iranian Republican Guard.

Totalitarianism was back throughout the country of Syria, if it ever left. With phone and electricity lines cut in a number of cities, with the army going door to door, hundreds of Syrians were arrested in towns and cities and in the suburbs of Damascus. The military campaign to ferociously crush the seven-week uprising escalated in the city of Deir al-Zor and dozen cities on the Mediterranean coast and in the southern regions, as tanks occupied the cities of Tafas and strategically important Homs. There are more than 744 people dead, as women and children were arrested, in a campaign similar to that used to crush the “green revolution” in Iran in 2009. With mention in the Financial Times of one report that troops fired upon their own conscripts who would not fire upon protesters.

Syria, where precise details are hard to come by. About power and might. With half a million members of the Syrian army and other security forces attempting to quell the revolt. Everywhere but especially in the poor town of Dar’a, on the the border with Jordan.

Detailing the truth. Syrian’s state-run media almost daily reports on Islamists (Salafists) along with these foreign insurgents, without addressing why the growing hostility to Bashar al-Assad’s rule, as so many people were yet to be heard from – like Dorothy Parvaz.

As part of a “process of …media reforms,” President Bashar al-Assad had Al-Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz detained on April 29th as she de-boarded from a Doha, Qatar flight at the airport in Damascus. Parvaz was leaving from the home base of the al-Jazeera English-language channel, with whom she worked with her United States, Iranian and Canadian citizenship. But her Canadian or U.S. passport alone would not work, going through Syrian customs.

And now as part of a “process of …media reforms,” precise details are hard to come by. Syria cunningly deported the Canadian journalist whose last Seattle newspaper employer had quit printing news and Al Jazeera was the only one hiring. Deported to Tehran, Al Jazeera reports, based upon that Iranian passport which Dorothy Parvaz had planned to use to enter Syria, since this manner of entry did not require a visa. Deported “perhaps,” only after Syria was able to get Iran’s assent. Which must not have taken long. To join the other 33 journalist in custody in Iran, which may or may not include Shane Bauer in that number, since he was on holiday when he was detained, with his two friends.

In a statement Al Jazeera was told Ms. Parvaz was “escorted by the Iranian consul to Caspian Airlines flight 7905, heading to Tehran.” The Syrian representative in Washington had told the network she had entered Syria on an expired Iranian visa, and was thus deported to Iran. An Iran where women did not move freely.

In April, White House officials asserted that Iran, a Shia-dominated ally, likely has been advising the government of Bashar al-Assad after its four decade rule from the Shia Muslim minority Alawite sect on how to crush dissent. Bashar al-Assad — nervous about appearing to crush protesters drawn from Syria’s 75% Sunni population, getting advice on intercepting or blocking internet, mobile phone and social media communications between the protesters and the outside world. White House official had pointed to a “significant” increase in the number of Iranian personnel in Syria — only a few hundred personnel — since mid-March.

With a lessening of world support, Turkey’s recent anger at Syria’s crackdown has fed feelings of betrayal in the Syrian government. In April White House officials suggested that Iran “has been worried about losing its most important ally (Syria) in the Arab world and important conduit for weapons to Hezbollah [in Lebanon],” a diplomat told The Guardian.

The anger over the unknown. When you had no reporters on the scene. To reports about the sound of torture. With Dorothy Parvaz perhaps in prison, in a nation where one person was killed every eight hours in Iran, with the start of the new year. Which had been BEFORE all these uprisings. In Iran where the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is responsible for restricting access in the Islamic Republic of Iran to any media of which the Islamic Regime in Tehran does not approve.

When journalist searched, in the name of a free press, for the truth. During a time when too many read the news at no cost, with no personal investment. As most tortured women in the Middle East remained in their homes, while males took to the streets. And citizens had a hard time, as Iran and Syrian governments tried to hold on to their temporal powers, finding the truth. Without a free press. Since 1992, in the information age, 861 journalists have been killed for heroically doing their jobs, with 145 journalists imprisoned, worldwide. Make that 146. With no indication yet if Shane Bauer — in Iran — is included within that number.

2015 POST SCRIPT:
The trial of Jason Rezaian, the reporter working for the Washington Post was not much different than the news stories from 2011 involving Dorothy Parvaz or even the arrest of Shane Bauer. Yes, when we endow our lives with stories. Through stories about sacrifice involving human bodies? “Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the current editor of The New Yorker, a one-time reporter for the Washington Post. Mostly these are the same stories, generation after generation. When your relationships at their foundation were so alive and you wanted others to then have the same experience. Because of a great restlessness you were born with, that seemed to move the next generation.

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The Never Ending Shock and Awe

It was a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress. After a great shameful event, everyone agreed to not talk about it. Everywhere. In post World War II, when the veterans came home.

Vanquished. As two lands are laid waste. Ten Years After. Like some kind of lingering song of a rock ‘n roll group, about the climatic effects of nuclear winter. As a generation loses its fertility. Yeah, and bin Laden was dead.

In war. Who do you believe in a war? The Church? A president? When crimes became immeasurable? With all the authentic post traumatic stress syndrome, in the aftermath. The irony of human justice, in a world laid with some kind of post-Nazi foundation of moral relativism to believe that a sovereign country has no right to judge the criminal who hurt its citizens. In a world, with so many young people who now felt that they should not be judged. When people no longer could believe in authority. For a generation which believes in no authority, what was to fill the vacuum of power? As no one went into politics, who I knew, with a well-formed conscious.

Global warming. Who do you believe about climate change? What do you believe about global authority? Long after an atomic bomb was dropped in war, like some kind of lingering song of a rock ‘n roll group, when invisible crimes became more measurable, when a force hits an immovable object, as the land is laid waste, in a western world laid without much of a foundation, and no one addresses the issue. When science forgot about nuclear winter?

In the physics of memory, in a world with so many grandchildren who felt that they should not be judged, comes global warming. The irony of human justice, about the climatic effects of nuclear winter.

War. Anger meeting anger. The powerlessness, as the aftermath of anger. In an unforgiving world of pierced tongues. With the distortions of power, even in the free world. Especially in the free world, reconstructed, in the dog eat dog world of capitalism. So what was worse, child pornography or torture? What if done in the name of Homeland Security?

When memory becomes a political issue. When vanquished.

How to use power?

The vacuum of power. When crimes became immeasurable? After the land is laid waste, in the physics of power and the abuse of power, comes nuclear winter. And Reconstruction, with the pain pills. For all the motherless children left behind.

War. Who do you believe in a war? It was a sad state of the world, when Russia becomes the spokesman for atrocities. Just as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov accused NATO of mounting an assassination attempt, illegal under international law, so had the Khaddafi government challenged the aims of the NATO mission, under international law. On the eve of bin Laden’s last day of life, the opponents of Colonel Khaddafi questioned whether Seif al-Arab al-Qaddafi, 29, and three unidentified grandchildren had actually been killed, or whether the announcement amounted to a ploy by Colonel Khaddafi to win sympathy and deflect blunt criticism of his own attacks on several rebel-held areas.

Issues not much different than the death of bin Laden.
In the aftermath, in the authentic post traumatic stress syndrome of war, who did you trust? When the American vision of justice, the irony of human justice, was one of vengeance and war. As the world lost its fertility. As a land is laid waste. Where once there seemed an universality in international law.

Sergey V. Lavrov said the NATO attack “arouses serious doubts about coalition members’ statement that the strikes in Libya do not have the goal of physically annihilating Mr. Khaddafi and members of his family.” Said the chairman of the international affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament, Konstantin I. Kosachev, “I am very surprised by the total silence of the presidents of the U.S., France, and some other Western countries.” If reports of the deaths of Qaddafi family members are confirmed, it would drive home that the Western operation “is unacceptable to the same degree as the attacks by Qaddafi and his forces on civilians.”

Power as a force in life. How to use your mastery, to defend the land? After thousands upon thousands are dead, how to use power? When the land, when the ocean, is laid waste, beyond measure.

With all the authentic post traumatic stress syndrome, living in the aftermath. Coming home, to figure out how to use power, to defend women and children.

In a world laid out with inviolate human rights, in a vacuum of power when leaders still sought vengeance making all life meaningless, how to use power?

In the aftermath of war, the sense of belonging. The human attempt set in motion to pass on a culture communicated, not by bellicose conquest, not by allocation or purchase of fluorocarbons, but through fertility. Human fertility. When fertility was the only language which conveyed the sense of belonging. When the invisible became visible.

With all the distortions of reality, in reconstruction of the land. About questions of belief. Over the reality of post traumatic stress and climatic effects of nuclear winter, with the administration of pain pills. Pills for fertility, pills for the pain, paid by a national health insurance policy. For those who could not cope, in a series of chemical reactions set in motion which was breaking down the stratospheric ozone layer protecting Earth. With all the distortions of reality, in reconstruction of the land, it was about the new perspective in such a world with the changing light—and tattoos. Light pollution, as a consequence of nuclear winter, from nuclear weapons.

When invisible crimes became more measurable, over time. To see all of the injustice in the world. And to somehow respond — rather quickly. Before forgetfulness sent in. Above the troposphere.

Before the next meaningless war, a response. About what you believed to be most true.

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