Saturday, January 03, 2009

Continuing Pressures on Shirin Ebadi

While I am still critical of Ebadi's statement on Gaza and other issues, she makes some important points in an interview published today about all of the pressure she has been under. I've translated a few excerpts from it and pasted it below. I have to say that I admire her tenacity and was moved by her declaration that she would never leave Iran. Countless people would have long left Iran if they faced the troubles she has faced; in fact, sadly, many people go looking for trouble just so they can have a remotely believable reason for asylum applications. There is a guy here in DC, one of Tabarzadi's gang now working for Voice of America, who apparently used to seek out and take money from desperate Iranian refugees in Turkey, promising in exchange to put their names in "student movement" newsletters so they could claim that they were politically active and couldn't go back to Iran. Anyway, back to Ebadi and the interview:

Question: Some say that one of the goals of these pressures is to force you to leave Iran. What do you think about this?

Answer: I can only say that as long as I am alive, I will leave Iran under no conditions. I am an Iranian and must live, work, and die in Iran.

Question: Mr. Ahmadinejad once said that he is willing to provide you with protection given the threats that had been made against you. But you did not accept. Why not?

Answer: My aim is defend all citizens. Providing body guards for one or a few people will not solve anything. Society should be safe and calm for all citizens so that they can live in complete security. And I'm sorry that I had to call the police for help on Thursday and two people from Yusuf-abad even came, but in their presence and right in front of their eyes, [the protestors] tore down the sign from my office and spray painted slogans against me all over the walls. And the police showed no reaction. My legal question for them is this: do gatherings and protests require permits or no? If they are not needed and the police did not stop those who attacked my house, then how come when women show the slightest protest in opposition to discriminatory laws, they deal with them in the harshest of ways? And if gatherings do require permits, then how come the police didn't deal with [the protesters] and just stood there watching? And if they had a permit, then they must announce which authority granted them that permit. This is a legal question and I put it out their for general consideration.

Question: How long will you bear these illegal actions?

Answer: As long as I am alive.

The full article in Persian is available here (I think this may be a fishy website, but the only other option was to link to gooya, so it is a lose-lose situation. If this interview appears on a less troubling site, I'll replace the link).