Wednesday, January 05, 2011

"Will you be a lousy scab or will you be a man?"

Coming upon this especially gruesome eruption of boss journalism at Press TV, which blames the Jews (conventionally and variously described for purposes of plausible deniability as the Zionists, or Israel, or the Zionist Entity) for the New Year's Day slaughter of 21 Coptic Christians who were innocently celebrating Mass at Alexandria, one is informed of several interesting things.

There are obvious and amusing lies. "Since the emergence of Islam, Muslims and Christians in the East have always coexisted peacefully," for one. "Never, ever have the Christians in Egypt complained of any problems keeping them from carrying out their religious duties," for another. We are informed that Israel and the United States have been carrying out acts of terror against Christians in Muslim countries for years, that the coming referendum on independence for Southern Sudan is really an Israeli ploy to control the flow of the Nile River in order to exact ransom from the 11 countries through which the Nile passes, and so on.

What is most revealing about the article, however, is not just that it appears in Press TV, the Khomeinist regime's English language propaganda arm (which most noticeably employs the scab George Galloway, the reputed free-speech champion and darling of the western world's anti-imperialist "left," as its most prominent celebrity presenter). It's that the author of the article is none other than Hassan Hanizadeh, the president of the scab union Iranian journalists are obliged to join - the Islamic Journalists Association of Iran.

The head of the Iran's legitimate press union is Mashallah Shams Al-Waizeen, chairman of Iran's Journalists Union. Two years ago, Al-Waizeen bravely engaged Hanizadeh in a direct confrontation, televised on Al Jazeera. Al-Waizeen refused to kowtow to Hanizadeh's propaganda claim that Iran's wingnut president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had allowed press freedom in Iran, pointing out that 175 newspapers and magazines had been shut down by the Khoemeinist regime, 25 of them since Ahmadinejad's election.

Last month, Al-Waizeen was sentenced to 16 months in jail for "undermining the regime" and insulting Ahmadinejad. Al-Waizeen joins at least 34 journalists currently known to be in prison in Iran, some in solitary confinement, some at the ghastly Evin prison, all for merely doing their jobs. Around the same time that Al-Waizeen was being carted off to jail, Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi was being sentenced to six years in jail and barred from directing and producing movies for the next 20-years for the crime of "making propaganda against the regime," and Iranian transport workers were risking arrest by demonstrating in front of Evin Prison. They were there to demand the immediate release of their leaders, including Mansour Osanloo and Reza Shahabi. Osanloo, serving a five-year sentence, is in the prison hospital. Shahabi has just ended a 60-day hunger strike protesting his illegal arrest.

Our friend Mehdi Kouhestaninejad reports that the economic circumstances into which Iranian workers are being turfed, even before you calculate the impact of sanctions, are rapidly deteriorating, owing to Ahmedinejad's anti-worker policies: "It is expected that the labor movement objects to these policies, but the government wishes to suppress any type of opposition.”

It is a heartbreaking struggle, largely unaided and ignored by all but a few principled trade unionists in the rich countries of world. But the Iranian workers carry on (for a fine overview of Iran's freedom struggle, see Young Lions of the Green Movement). Estimates are that roughly two million Iranian workers have bolted government-run boss unions to form independent trade unions in recent years. "The stage is being set for a showdown between Iran's workers and the Khomeinist establishment. The outside world, including the international media, had better pay more attention."

Mewling about American imperialism and gibbering about Zionist conspiracies is for idiots and scabs. In Golestan province alone, the regime has failed to pay miners' wages in 21 of the province's 42 coal mines. Thousands of miners are on strike. There is only one question that counts: Which side are you on?


Post a Comment

<< Home