The real way to work for change in Iranposted by Jazz at 2/08/2005 09:59:00 AM
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First, she explains why progress is being made on human rights in Iran.
American policy toward the Middle East, and Iran in particular, is often couched in the language of promoting human rights. No one would deny the importance of that goal. But for human rights defenders in Iran, the possibility of a foreign military attack on their country represents an utter disaster for their cause. Iranian society has refused to be coerced into silence. The human rights discourse is alive and well at the grassroots level; civil society activists consider it to be the most potent framework for achieving sustainable democratic reforms and political pluralism.Dr. Ebadi next goes on to explain how a military invasion would work against the cause of rights activists, and how American hypocrisy isn't fooling anyone in that region.
Indeed, American readers might be surprised to know how vigorous Iran's human rights organizations are. Last fall, when security forces unlawfully detained more than 20 young journalists and bloggers because of what they had written, independent Iranian organizations like the Center for Defense of Human Rights, the Association of Journalists for Freedom of Press, and the Students Association for Human Rights campaigned for their release.
This outcry, in tandem with support from the international community and human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch, led to the release of detainees. In fact, so great was the criticism of the abuses committed during these detentions that some of Iran's most senior government officials came out in favor of releasing the detainees.
"The enemy's fifth column." Isn't that interesting? Particularly in light of the fact that I distinctly recall reading an entry at Power Line some time back describing anti-war activists with that exact same term.
Independent organizations are essential for fostering the culture of human rights in Iran. But the threat of foreign military intervention will provide a powerful excuse for authoritarian elements to uproot these groups and put an end to their growth.
Human rights violators will use this opportunity to silence their critics by labeling them as the enemy's fifth column. In 1980, after Saddam Hussein invaded Iran and inflamed nationalist passions, Iranian authorities used such arguments to suppress dissidents.
American hypocrisy doesn't help, either. Given the longstanding willingness of the American government to overlook abuses of human rights, particularly women's rights, by close allies in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia, it is hard not to see the Bush administration's focus on human rights violations in Iran as a cloak for its larger strategic interests.
Scene Two... Act One. The Broadway production of "George and Dick's Excellent Adventures in the Middle East" is getting ready to raise the curtain.