Friday, March 10, 2006

Saeed Ebrahim Habibi is a member of the same student organization through which Afshari once carried out his political activities. In his latest post, Habibi, who is based in Iran, comments on speech of Afshari and Atri to the U.S. Congress.

Since only select voices are chosen to be translated and dissemenated for western consumption, I thought it was important to include a voice that may otherwise not get much attention in non-Persian speaking circles.

My quick translation below includes all of the links of the original post, along with the photos that were included therein. Please be warned that the pictures are very graphic.

The Ends Do Not Justify the Means

There are certain fragments from history, which though they may have depths that are yet to be discovered, are nonetheless instructive. The relationship between Iran and the U.S. constitutes one such fragment. I do not intend to be longwinded because I think the issue is so clear that it does not need much elaboration. In brief, the subject at hand concerns the trip of two hardworking friends to D.C. where they asked Republican (!) and Democratic (!) senators for their help with Human Rights issues in Iran. We can defer for now the discussion of the tragic Human Rights situation in Iran, since we all know it very well and we all suffer from it. However, what I am moved to write about now is motivated by a serious objection to two aspects of the form and content of these speeches.

First, this conference began with the speech of Senator Rick Santorum, the leader (sic) of the Republican party. He is behind the “Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2005” which offers a referendum as a solution to Iran’s problems and which allocates 10 million dollars towards this and related activities. The presence of two of the architects of the referendum plan alongside this person, especially in the U.S. congress, is to me not only unjustifiable but also taints them. Besides, the two gentlemen introduced themselves as leaders and representatives of the student movement, and this is an obvious error since they neither consulted any relevant groups in this regard nor do they in any case hold such a rank among them. And if they went simply as two activists who represent a social movement, then they have made an even bigger error because then their presence in the Congress can only be interpreted as an appeal to and dependence upon a foreign power. While it is evident that internal changes impact external ones, but in order to have influence on what happens outside one must either have power or be rooted in a social movement. It would have been useful if the two gentlemen told us in all honesty about their motivations.

Secondly, if we assume that this was an opportunity to ask the Republicans for help in protecting Human Rights, it must first be proven that the U.S. in general pursues the adherence to Human Rights—which I do not think it does—or at least one should point to their previous violations of Human Rights so that we can somewhat (and only somewhat!) decrease the chances that they would recur.

I wont for now get into a discussion of exploitation and imperialism, but I will say this much: for capitalists human rights comes down to protection of their capital and nothing else.

Sometimes images can have a deeper and more penetrating impact than words. I believe that U.S. intervention in international affairs has been accompanied with much bitterness. I doubt that history will ever forget the fact that the U.S. has been the only nation to use the nuclear bomb.

Democracy was the excuse behind the Vietnam war as well. Four million people paid with their lives for the U.S pursuit of democracy.

Mr. Afshari and Mr. Atri, it would have been good if you had said something about Iraq as well. Merely stating your opposition to a military invasion is not enough. Being silent about Iraq or asking for help from the enemy can bear no justification. Children are sacrificed in the pursuit of this type of democracy.

On the anniversary of Mossadeq, it is very bitter to thank “all those who have given us the opportunity to speech to Congress and its respected members”. What would have been the harm in making but the slightest reference to the Coup d’etat of 1953? What about the coup d’etat of 9/11 against the people of Chile? And is human rights anything but the rights of those people who gathered around Mossadeq and the Allende?

Those who know and those who do not know me will know that my condemnations of U.S. international policy is in no way sanctions more than 25 years of human rights violations in Iran. Nor does it dismiss Ali’s [Afshari] hard work in Iran and the heavy price he paid in prison. My worry is only about the future that may come about if indecent means are justified in pursuit of our goals.