Archive for the ‘Syria’ Category

DUST THOU ART

WHEN NOTHING STANDS STILL IN THIS WORLD. AS THE GROUND CRUMBLES BELOW YOU.

The homeless. No longer able to fit in at home. No longer able to fit into the main stream. Trying to tie all of this together, but with this lingering restlessness? Which sprang from a Fear of the Lord.

From an old culture where you had to know and memorize, instead of knowing just where you left it. In a library, on pre-recorded media. In a book. To really know who you are, when the resource center was closed at night, when the kids went out, you used to have to memorize.

Earthquakes. As the world became borderless once again. The disrupted home lives. When a man needed a woman to contribute some upheaval to his peaceful home life. As a home became more intense.

Institutional power. With all of the human rules. Taking sides. Ollie North. Ronald Reagan. Iran. Iraq. Sunnis. Shiities. As the military invented the internet, with certainly access to all the information that people voluntarily posted on websites. And your cellphone signal was jammed, or you were just outside the range?

When you no longer fit in here, as Muslims. Like a poet in the wake of her grief who said: “I am still in the space of missing him, and finding it odd to be one instead of two.”

For the children and grandchildren of war, homeless, and coming to need God. When you were removed by either distant miles or time from the way of life which you had grown up with. Healing the fears of the abandoned, which always involved a perspective of distance.

In exile. The disrupted home lives. Groundshifts. Graveyard services. As the meek inherit the earth. With the ensuing great doubts when you had comforts and lost them. Like hot water, a wife, or shared belief.

Abandoned. As the world became borderless once again. With all of the disrupted home lives. The feelings which move the story. Missing. In exile, when God was more and more left homeless. When the visible became invisible.

The exile, away from the Promise Land. Going home, post war, to a better and fairer future? With the distance and alienation in the story. Or the one you carried with you?

The conflict in the world between those with the desire to remember with those who have a need to forget. The refugees. The homeless. The war vet, drafted at a young age. Absorbed into false ideals of human glory. The callousness of humans walking by the hungry. Nations looking on. The threat which came from hunger. To each other.

Grieving, in ordinary times. The feelings which move the story – the deepest of feelings of denial, anger, fear after facing an end. The ebbs and flows. Homeless. And coming to need God. In the unknown human world. The ensuing great doubts of the refugees. The deep feelings of abandonment. The sin of pride and identity and nationalism. When restlessness was directed toward a competition.

The Wasteland. Over and over THE contrast of the desert, the contrast of dust, to fertile land and fertility. The inner tension of a nomad. Confronting greatness within. The biblical reference was to the desert. It was a Fear of the Lord by humans born in His Image and Likeness. And consequentially it made sense to have a fear of the greatness within. Over my own fertility in such a harsh world. It did involve sexuality. And the struggle to confront the greatness within, in a future.

Contemplate the Stone Age and what Adam and Eve lived through, before the battle of church and state. Establishing the proper degree of order, of love and desire. Establishing the systems of the world. Or just trying. With your fertility. If I was too a creator. If I had money. IF I was rich. If I had the energy. If I had kids. IF I had the discipline. If I lost it all?

Real fertility stories. True, or not so true? The fears with beginnings and ends. In stories. If I were a rich man.

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When Your God Came Credentialed By the Authorities

You had to wonder, when called to prayer five times per day, about the content of the prayer. When prayer is really something that is not said, but an awareness kept, like keeping company, in an encounter.

To pray five times a day is to be available. To the Truth. How to exalt God? To confer a spirit….the slow patience while creating something in God’s image. A child. A story. The TRUTH. In the circle of revolutions. When revolutions are a process and not individual events. I know not why life is astir…in Iran. In the the torment of their God, and His people.

You had to wonder about the framework, the purpose, of the prayers in Iran, when called to pray five times per day, of those in power. With their prayers. Whether anyone truly wants to meet God. In their prayer encounter with a living God. In Iran.

With 62 percent of the vote, holding a seat in the United Nations, you were allowed to torture and murder – torture in the name of God– as part of the “security apparatus.”

The Islamists who since 1979 in Iran had morphed into elected autocrats once in office, exporting their tactics once sharpened by the neighbor to the north – Russia – to Syria and Lebanon and beyond. In a country without basic human rights of freedom of religion, or freedom of the press — where the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approves the Minister of Intelligence and the Minister of Defense – the Quds Force which reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and serves as the linchpin in Iran’s regional strategy, had been dispatched to Syria. To interfere with the airspace where satellite waves and prayer were transmitted.

Between November 1998 and February 1999, the brutal serial killings were carried out of leaders of the Iran Nation Party, including Mr. and Ms. Foruhar, brutally murdered in their house; the kidnapping and killing in December 1998 of Mohammad Ja’far Puyandeh, writer and translator of literature on women’s rights; and writer Mohammad Mokhtari. With the Grand Ayatollah attributed the murders to foreign powers, the state investigation and prosecution of the case of these four became known as the serial murders, and lasted several year before eighteen Ministry of Information employees were presented as scapegoats, admitting that suspects were under pressure to confess that they had links with foreign entities. Killed in Iran by “rogue elements” in the security services.

The National Union of Journalists had released the video, throwing light on a conspiracy of the Khatami government to conceal the truth. With ongoing variation on a theme over the ensuing twelve year. In 2009, there were, dressed in civilian clothing, the Basij — in the hands of those with Special Forces and a special force in an Islamist Republic — crushing the dissent over the reins of that power. When death sentences had lost meaning, to people without freedom.

Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, criticized this week the conduct of the Syrian government, while torture by the Iranian government had been long accepted as the status quo. The conduct of the Iranian government, blessed by, held above reproach.

UN High Commissioner Pillay said, “Resort to lethal or excessive force against peaceful demonstrators tends to not only breed a culture of violence, serves to exacerbate tensions, and violates fundamental rights, including the right to life.”

Meanwhile, when killings were approved at the highest level, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for unity among African nations, proclaiming “the UN decisions have always been against the interests of the African and Asian countries. Although the world’s independent countries comprise the majority of the United Nations member-states,” President Ahmadinejad in expressing his satisfaction with the formation of the African Union continued, “the UN has failed to defend the interests of independent states.”

Spinning the promotion of unity, with a people now repressed beyond a decade, you wondered if the locals ever interrogated their God. About power and might, and the use of earthly power. Over what was going on in their own world. And if this is how they treated their own, how did they treat their enemies?

Did the undefined interests of independent states include anything about independent belief, along with the freedom to freely pray? The spin on the Arab Spring from Iran is that these were not genuine popular movements in Syria but actually hostile outside intervention – perhaps too much like prayer – hostile to the Supreme Leader, directed at regime change. Called by Iran to be some kind of Western phenomenon.

Praying to the one True God, when killings were approved at the highest level. Connecting in praise and thanksgiving – in sacrifice – prayer is a process, an awarness kept, requiring tremendous freedom. No matter where you lived. When true revolutions are, not unlike prayer, processes, and not events. With God always at your side. When words do not truly articulate the truth. About the world. When silence – once used in the second half of prayer, to listen – had become, as in any dysfunctional relationship, the only weapon left. As leaders, while their Basij attack people and their Quds Force attack airspace, demonstrate exactly what it meant to take the name of the Lord Thy God in vain. And people kept praying five times per day.

When you lived in nations with illusion of power, even illusions about God-appointed leaders, to fight the counter-insurgencies of the soul sixty percent of Iranian homes and businesses, Reza Bagheri Asl, director of the telecommunication ministry’s research institute, told an Iranian news agency, would be soon on the new internal network.

When your God came credentialed by the authorities. The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ‘s intranet, for the emerging conflict called the “soft war,” allegedly directed against the West. Ali Aghamohammadi, Iran’s head of economic affairs, said: that Iran’s national intranet would be “a genuinely halal network, aimed at Muslims on an ethical and moral level.”

Reza Taghipour, Iran’s communication minister, made mention of the coming new computer operating system to replace Microsoft Windows. In the national interest. For a nation where murder and torture of your own was approved, by the Supreme Leader. When the sons of Hagar mostly always showed perfect obedience to Allah. And the women on a normal day always felt so all alone.


 



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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.

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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