"Marg Bar Fascism, Marg Bar Irtija, Marg Bar Dictator."
Where is the Iranian uprising headed, and what can we do to help it along?
Homa Arjomand is heading up an international campaign to close down Iranian embassies, freeze the bank accounts of the Tehran regime's leaders, expel the Islamic Republic from all international agencies, and prosecute the regime's leaders for their crimes against humanity.
The campaign is based on several propositions: The regime is directly responsible for terrorizing people in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Algeria, Palestine, and "even in the heart of Europe and North America." It not only imposes reactionary laws on the Iranian people, but carries out assassinations of Iranian dissidents abroad, It furthers its foreign policy by sustaining terrorism and maintaining national, ethnic and religious splits and tensions throughout the Middle East, through beheadings, mutilations, and planting bombs in buses, cafés and discotheques.
Arjomand's campaign goes farther than former federal justice minister Irwin Cotler's proposal - he's been arguing for it for some while - in today's National Post. Cotler has been hoping for some traction in his call to have the Ahmedinejad regime called to account for violating the United Nations' prohibition against incitement to genocide. In today's Post, Cotler is calling for an Iran Accountability Act to focus Canadian and international attention "not only on Iran's nuclear program, but also on its domestic repression and genocidal incitement." Such a law would mean a bar on business with certain Iranian industries. It could cut off Iran from imported gasoline, for instance.
Tarek Fatah argues for a serious reappraisal of the way the regime is comprehended in the west, here. As is obvious from my observations here, I'm of the view that taking our obligations seriously in the matter of the Iranian uprising is going to be an uphill battle in Canada. Nazanin Afshin-jam agrees it's time to get serious: "Freedom-loving nations should press for an emergency UN Human Rights Council session and international commission of inquiry to investigate Iran's grave human rights abuses, and demand the immediate release of all political prisoners. Nations with strong trade relations should refrain from appeasing Iran for short-term economic gain. Travel bans and asset freezes should be imposed upon Iranian officials."
Meanwhile, Fred Halliday presents a helpful analysis on the meaning of the Iranian uprising:
"In the same way that Lenin and the Bolsheviks pushed aside not only their Czarist opponents, but also Russian liberals, social-revolutionaries and Mensheviks, so Khomeini and his associates set out to monopolise the post-revolutionary state and extinguish both their political rivals and the very memory of their contribution to a history that belongs to all Iranians. It is the great contribution of the brave citizens of Iran who took to the streets in June 2009, and affirmed their rights in peaceful and dignified fashion, to have reclaimed this truth.
"Their demonstrations thus have opened a door to Iran's past as well as the future. Another slogan of the epic popular tide of 1978-79 - marg bar fascism, marg bar irtija (death to fascism, death to reaction) - may yet combine with the marg bar dictator of the marches of 2009 in a way that heralds the end of the demagogic clique that now rules Iran. The people of Iran, and their friends and admirers the world over, can only hope that this day comes sooner rather than later."