GENEVA -- Iranian dissident journalist Akbar Ganji was awarded the 2006 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders at a ceremony in Geneva on October 11. Ganji, who served a six-year jail sentence for articles denouncing the murder of Iranian opposition intellectuals, was presented the award by Louise Arbour, the UN high commissioner for human rights. After a hunger strike last year, Ganji was released conditionally in March 2006. He then started a world tour to introduce Iran's democratic movement to western audiences. While receiving the award in Geneva, he said he was determined to return to his home country. "The fight [for democracy] takes place inside a country," he said. "I don't want to change the government of Switzerland, I'm fighting to change the Iranian government and for the transition toward democracy in Iran." The Martin Ennals Award is the top award of the human rights movement. Its jury includes representatives of the world's leading nongovernmental human rights organizations. Another recipient this year was Arnold Tsunga, a lawyer and radio commentator from Zimbabwe. (Radio Farda, martiennalsaward.org)
I would be interested to know what others think about this one? It is no secret that I am not a big fan of Akbar Gangi, I think his so called struggle for human rights leaves much to be desired. I find it interesting that he chose to say" I am fighting to change the Iranian government and for the transition toward dcemocracy in Iran." Two problems with that government. 1. Most human right activists have come to accept that there is a difference between Iran and the Islamic Regime and do not refer to this regime as the Iranian regime, but the Islamic Regime. Isn't referring to them as the Iranian Regime really accepting their legitimacy?
2. The word transition means shift, alteration, modification ie REFORM, it does not mean revolution and it does not mean a real change that reaches the roots of the problems. In any event I think there are much more deserving people then Mr. Gangi who is somehow free to go on a world tour while real heros are losing their lives in Islamic Republic's Prisons.

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