Archive for the ‘Amnesty International’ Tag

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.

Visual Web Search



Life. Death. Wanted pregnancy … or not. According to the think tank The Guttmacher Institute, in 2005 there were 3.25 million pregnancies in the US. In each and every pregnancy there was tremendous emotion, of fear, of joy, of anger, before reaching an acceptance of the outcome.

The visible and the invisible. According to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly half of all pregnancies to American women– more than 1.6 million in 2005– are unintended. Was it always so? So half the planet was unintended? Polls were always taken? This was an American statistic? What exactly had you been trying to do on the night of the 18th? And if you did not remember, that pregnancy might remind you. Dead or Alive

For evidence of another separation and splits in the Creation story, statistics demonstrate that in 2005, more than 1.5 million single women became pregnant, resulting in 720,000 births and more than 800,000 abortions. When nearly half of all pregnancies to American women– more than 1.6 million in 2005– are unintended, it is about The Spirit within. And on matters of choosing, the choice thereafter. So is it intellectually dishonest to raise concern over pregnancies from rape and incest – with a great sympathy when 25 percent of all women have been raped – in the discussion of numbers?

Forced to carry the unwanted, like that tethered colt in the story of sacrifice. If nearly half of all pregnancies to American women are unintended, half of the population is unwanted. And so another split in the creation of our society. The real issue, the real discussion, was about survival and quality of life. Fifty percent of women felt that government should not decide issues of pregnancy. It was too personal. All this came to pass not so much in an urban America but on issues of separation of Church and State.

On matters of imposition, in nations with one tradition no longer imposed as a state religion, there are the Old ways… followed with new owners. Change … when you don’t know, but the old ways are not working for the people not born into the old business, as new people with power desire that the old disappear and become invisible. In the world with so much money, with so many people, with ENOUGH, what is missing is the sacrifice that was part of the old business? And when sacrifice is missing, what really is missing is some kind of SPIRIT. Like in the prayer: “Receive, O Lord, all my spirit. That which You have bestowed upon me. That which has become me, I give it all back to Thee. That which was in all of my memory. Take my entire will, all my desire, along with my fertility and whatever understanding that I possess. I return the sacrifice, yet in a much smaller way, through my fertility.”

ENOUGH! When you have been given enough? If forced to do backward math, using statistics from the Guttmacher Institute, if four in 10 pregnancies ended in abortion, 1.21 million abortions were performed in 2005. It seems safe to say when it comes to daily life, ten years later, no one really cares about the missing. Do women care about a miscarriage ten years after? With so many people, didn’t this world already have ENOUGH people?

And so this society separated on issues of our own creation and replication. Life was expensive in the urban jungle, where America women do have complex lives. As the American people have become urbanized in the last hundred years, fifty percent of women felt that government should not decide issues of pregnancy. It was too personal. … and if State should not decide the issue, neither should religious doctrine. The right or wrong of abortion should be left to an individual to decide, in the midst of all the emotion? Moral issues over life and death, on war and peace should be left up only to the soldiers?

Is the real issue, the real discussion, about survival and quality of life in a society? If a civilization did not replicate, a self-form of annihilation takes place. So it is about choice.

Campaigns will always be about control.  About control and impositions through tax policy and gun control and this new age form of birth control, though the speeches seemed more like food canned, missing a freshness of another age. But the young have already decided this one issue. In America, one in three women experiences abortion. Many of those 50 million aborted since 1973 would have been alive in 2000 and probably have affected a different outcome in the election, with a different human history.

On issues of love and “surrender,” there is fertility versus infertility. With an intent.  In a day an age when the majority of young women concentrate on not becoming pregnant, like a young man sent to a war zone attempts not to die.  In 2005, of the 1.21 million performed abortions here, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 67% of these women were single (811,700). A comparative study would show that of the births in 2005, 36.9 percent were to single women. According to the Guttmacher Institute, of the 1.21 million abortions in 2005, 88% involved women who live in a metropolitan area (1,048,000). Of the 1.21 million performed abortions in 2005, 78% reported a religious affiliation; 27.4% were self-described Catholics (326,700), though having an abortion as a Catholic was similar to a Jew or a Muslim eating pork, concerning a demonstration of a respect for your tradition, or not.

So half the planet was unintended? And I think of what I read in the book, Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost: “When everything had been a stupefying void, He said, ‘Let there be light.’ This is, in fact, the first act of creation that we hear about in Bereishit. But what is interesting to me is that every act that follows – light and dark, night and day, dry land and oceans, plants and animals, and finally man from dust – is described as an act of separation. What did God do when he saw that the light was ‘good’? He separated it from darkness, and then proceeded to go on separating ….”

In the United States, there are the old immigrants, forever split in two. Some with an old Spirit, some without. Some with the loyalty to if not your homestead, to your parents in old age, even when you are so distant from them.

Presence. With a fear of the brutality and savagery of those without the old Spirit, maybe like the fear the Ukrainians had of their Slavic Russian brother, of those who never grab hold of the old Presence known in youth.

To distinguish good from evil, shouting is not allowed. Did you ever note the missing sacrifice in the story of Adam and Eve? And without sacrifice in their lives, what did they pass on to their two sons? What had God done when He saw that the light was ‘good’ but separate it from darkness. God then proceeded to go on separating …. The conflict between Abel and Cain was over their initial concept of sacrifice which led to one of them dead.

And so, in the beginning of, the missing inheritance which caused another split/separation in the story between the living and the dead. Was the problem over sacrifice …. or a conflict over relationship? The conflict between Abel and Cain was over their initial concept — their ORIGINAL idea — of sacrifice which led to one of them dead. And so a missing inheritance which caused another split/separation in the story between the living and the dead, over hidden evidence of a Spirit within which caused another split in the Creation story, over demonstrated sacrifice.

Visible or invisible: The startle…. about the depth of the relationship.  On the day you discover you are for the first time pregnant, with all the sacrifice connected to giving birth, in relationship. The discovery of a deepness within, after you were forced out, it was like that poster at the Post Office warned: Wanted, either dead or alive.

Did you ever note the missing SHARED sacrifice that every pregnant woman was looking for in the relationship?

Stalking. The anonymous call. The hang up. The great unsettling. To be born fatherless. The unwanted, fatherless, half the time, these days. Like a child these days, locate the permanent great unsettling, so much like the Creator, unwanted half the time?

Narrative tension is primarily about withholding information. With a fear in the story, doubt was always the center of either mystery or faith which moved THESE STORIES beyond the power of imagination. If you get the small details wrong, with all the fear in the story about land and women and suffering, you will get the big picture wrong – affecting if not your money, if not your land, then at least your kids.