Thursday, March 06, 2008

Freedom Will Come

All over the world today, thousands of trade unionists, human rights activists and other citizens, in a variety of acts of solidarity with the persecuted workers and imprisoned trade unionists in Iran, raised their voices in unison: We have not forgotten you.

There were demonstrations, visits to Iranian diplomatic missions, rallies and pickets in Seoul, Bangkok, the West Bank, Jakarta, New Delhi, Kiev, Lahore, Istanbul, Basra, Amman, Casablanca, Geneva, Brussels, Wellington, Sydney, Tokyo, Tunis, Oslo, London, Toronto, and elsewhere. They spoke with once voice:

Free Mansour Osanloo. Free Mahmoud Salehi. Free all jailed trade unionists. Respect workers' rights.

In the House of Commons in Ottawa
earlier this week, efforts by the Teamsters Union resulted in Liberal MP Mario Silva raising the matter of Tehran's trampling of trade union rights, and Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Secretary Deepak Obhrai pledged to continue to make it known to the Iranian regime what Canadians think about these things.

It was a grand day, but also a reminder of a special kind of shame.

In London, where trade unionists distributed leaflets at railway stations, Colin Foster noticed it. Workers' Liberty members showed up to help, but the rest of the left didn't.

In the Guardian, Peter Tatchell has also noticed the absence of huge sections of the left from this most crucial of international solidarity campaigns: ". . .with a few honourable exceptions, many of them are now silent about the anti-worker regime in Tehran. Their justified opposition to US war threats against Iran has led them into a wholly unjustified collusion with Tehran's Islamist tyrants."

In Canada, that collusion is not just an inexcusable passivity, but sometimes a conscious activity. Around this time last year, the leadership of the Canadian Peace Alliance and the Toronto Stop the War Coalition were in Richmond Hill, Ontario, as the special guests of Iranian diplomats and far-right clerics, for a celebration of the 28th anniversary of the founding of the Khomeinist tyranny. Only two weeks ago, James Clark of the Toronto coalition was again a scheduled speaker at the anniversary celebrations, this time in the company of some of North America's most rank antisemites.

In Ottawa, Mehdi Kouhestaninejad of the Canadian Labour Congress recently pointed out how discouraging this is to ordinary Iranians: "This is the main question in every Iranian's mind. . . the Cuban and Venezuelan left, and the leftists outside Iran, is staying by the Iranian government by their actions."

Be careful, though. If you have merely the audacity to notice this kind of collusion and moral bankruptcy, you will be called a neoconservative, and a lot worse. But you keep your spirits up, in the full knowledge that one day, freedom will come:


Blogger vildechaye said...

Terry et al: Have you seen this picture yet? Please post it, all i can do is post the url.

This is not my original thought, but it's excellent nonetheless:

Juan Cole should contact these "students" and explain that the ayatollah really meant that israel would vanish from the pages of time, not be wiped from the face of the earth. :) love it.

2:59 PM  

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