Pro-Reform, Anti-Iranian People Event at the University of Toronto-Shame on you Mr. Akhavan, Shame on you Mr. Jahanbegloo!published on Monday, August 17, 2009
Tonight I attended an event called “Human Rights and Democratic Transition in Iran” which was organized by the Iranian Association at the University of Toronto. Due to the efforts made by the organizers to keep this event a secret from freedom loving Iranians, I was only able to attend the second part of this event which consisted of question and answer period. The following are my notes, thoughts and observations on this pro-reform event.
Three speakers were scheduled to speak at this event: Mr. Payam Akhavan, Mr. Ramin Jahanbegloo and the well known reformist and the former torturer Akbar Ganji, however for some unknown reason Akbar Ganji did not attend this event and there were only two speakers.
I attended with a number of other pro-democracy activists with our Lion and Sun Flags as a symbol of opposition to this pro-reform (pro-Islamic Regime) event. There were also numerous leftist activists present who ended up asking some very important and interesting questions. Outside of the University building pro-democracy activists gathered with Lion and Sun Flags and shouted slogans such as “down with the Islamic Regime.”
During the question and answer period a number of important and interesting questions were asked which I took note of. Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadi a leftist activist pointed to the title of the event “ Human Rights and Democratic Transition in Iran” askig how an individual like Akbar Ganji who was once a well known torturer can be considered a human rights activist and be invited to such an event.
Mr. Jahanbegloo did not answer this question and indicated that he was not going to defend Akbar Ganji, because Ganji was capable and mature enough to defend himself, (or perhaps there was really nothing he could have said in defence of this well known torturer.) He went on to make a speech about a non-violent civil movement and the danger of vengeance. He indicated that we should not be looking for scapegoats. I must remind Mr. Jahanbegloo that one persons’ scapegoat is another person’s torturer!
He also discussed the importance of a peaceful civil movement which I completely agree with, however a peaceful civil movement does not mean prominent and well know torturers such as Akbar Ganji get to walk away from their crimes. There must be fair and public trials in which Mr. Ganji and others like him must be tried and if found guilty punished for their crimes against the Iranian people.
Later on Mr. Akhavan made some seemingly harmless comments which at a closer look were very disturbing. He indicated that the use of any type of violence would give “hardliners” even more excuse to crack down on the protestors. Mr. Akhavan seems very keen on distinguishing between hardliners and reformers, as if there is some real difference between the two groups. It is not the hardliners who are oppressing the Iranian people, killing people on the streets and raping and torturing protestors in prison, it is the Islamic Regime. So called reformists such as Mousavi and Khatami have stated time and again they are strong supporters of the Islamic Regime, in fact Mousavi recently stated that the people’s slogan should be “Islamic Regime, not one word more and not one word less.” This is the same Islamic Regime that has been killing and torturing dissidents for the past 30 years.
Neither Mousavi or Khatami have ever condemned the Islamic Regime for the torture and the execution of its dissidents for the past 30 years. At best they have suggested that those arrested in the past two months should be released, forgetting that what we are seeing right now has been going on for 30 years in Islamic Regime dungeons, Mr. Akhavan also seems to have forgotten this fact.
Mr. Akhavan went on to say those people who are saying death to the Islamic Regime are under an illusion and that if they are not careful Iran might end up with a government even worse than the Islamic Regime. Mr. Akhavan seems to have forgotten that it is the Iranian people on the streets and during protests who are shouting “death to the Islamic Regime” not just the opposition abroad.
Mr. Akhavan, people of Iran have spoken and it is certainly not your place to tell the people of Iran who are on the front lines fighting for freedom, what to say or which slogan to use. If the Islamic Regime has not been able to stop the Iranian people from voicing their demands you can be sure that you won’t be able to stop them either.
There was also a lot of talk both from Mr. Akhavan and Mr. Jahanbegloo about forgiving torturers and murderers. As one questioner pointed out, these kind of speeches are nothing but a “green light” for those who are currently shooting protestors on the streets and raping and torturing protestors in prison. After all if we accept what these two individuals are suggesting we would end up forgiving all their crimes anyways, so they might as well commit as many crimes as they can against the Iranian people for as long as they can.
It is not up to Mr. Akhavan or Mr. Jahanbegloo to forgive those who are oppressing the Iranian people, it is up to the mothers who have seen their sons and daughters be tortured and executed, wives who have seen their husbands executed and young people who have lost the best years of their lives in the Islamic Regime dungeons.
I was very much expecting Mr. Jahanbegloo to make the pro-reform (pro-Islamic Regime) speech that he made, however I am extremely disappointed in Mr. Akhavan who should know better.
Shame on you Mr. Akhavan, Shame on you...
As the event came to an end myself and other pro-democracy activists shouted “death to the Islamic Regime” as we left this pro-reform (pro Islamic Regime) event.
I urge all readers to write to the University of Toronto to voice your opinion about such pro reform (pro-Islamic Regime) events taking place in their university at a time when Iranians who are fighting for freedom are being shot on the streets and raped in prisons.
I also urge everyone to write to Mr. Jahanbegloo and Mr. Akhavan to voice their concern over their pro-reform, and ultimately pro-Islamic Regime and anti Iranian people agenda.
Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom in Iran
By: Sayeh Hassan