Saturday, April 10, 2010

Message from the Protesters

Yesterday, after three nights in police cells, the activists were released at different times and spent the rest of the evening with their loved ones.

They were very happy to hear that news of the action has spread so far, in especially the Persian language media. They have also heard of the heated debate that has followed, which all involved encourage very much, as free and open debate is one of the conditions of a democratic society.

However, please keep in mind that most that has been said and posted so far has not been communicated by people who were inside the action.

Now that they are out they will write about their personal motives and experiences, on this site. In the mean time, feel free to ask us anything, in English, Persian or Dutch, via this mail address:

You will be answered in person, or the answer will appear on this site.


  1. Hi

    would you tell, are you guys believe in some sort of "Islamic republic"?

    I read you wrote in your blog, "this so-called Islamic republic"....what does it make you? Do you guys believe current regime is real "Islamic republic"? please crystal clear this for me.

  2. Please ignore above comment and consider this one:

    You wrote in your blog "this so-called Islamic republic"....what does it make you really? Do you guys believe current regime is not real "Islamic republic"? and do you believe there could be better "Islamic republic" government?
    Please crystal clear this for me.

  3. Hi Fariborz, thank you for you question.

    We are not at all advocating a better 'Islamic Republic' to replace this one, merely pointing out that using that title is nonsensical.

    As far as "Republic" goes this government clearly is not democratic by any means. The voice of the people is not consulted in any important decision, and when it is the answer is ignored.

    Also, in a society that is Shi'a, Sunni, Baha'i, Christian, Jewish and has a substantial population of atheists, rule by the laws of any one single religion would almost by definition exclude and discriminate against others part of society.

    But even those people who are religious must acknowledge that Islam is being abused in many ways and instances to keep this regime in power. The clearest example is when respected clerics speak up against the government or its abuse of power and are subsequently made to shut up.

    Therefore, we consider this government to be an 'Islamic Republic' only in name, and not in practice.

    We hope this helps to clarify our statement for you.

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  5. (correction)
    I am an Iranian and I have been struggling with my sentiments about this occupation and the aftermath.

    I do commend the courage and resolve of the protesters, to willingly conduct an act to raise awareness about the Iranian situation. However, I am not sure about how far reaching the impact of their action is.

    The Iranian anti-government community in Holland is a sizeable and a vocal one with many friends in the Dutch parliament. Radio Zamaaneh, the 1-million communication-techonolgy fund dedicated to the post election media crack down are examples of the willingness of the Dutch to topple Iran's Islamic Regime. It is understandable because Islamophobia is at the heart of the Dutch political discourse these days.

    So, I disagree with the criticism that the action of the Iranian occupiers of the Iranian embassy has tarnished the peaceful nature of the movement in the Dutch eyes.

    But what I dislike is to have rallied non-Iranian protesters for the cause of "democracy and human rights" to occupy the "Iranian soil". This sets precedence for "operation freedom", where a soldier, out of ideological belief, becomes the fighter of a cause other than on his own soil. I condemn the fact of non-Iranians having violated the boundaries of the Iranian soil.

    Our government, and our embassy, as brtal and as hypocritical as they are, are not installed by Marsians (although it is hard to believe not :) ). These people ARE of us. We have to acknowledge the FACT that Ahmadinejad is not as alone in Iran as we popularize the belief in our Green tribunes. He may have stolen the election; at least this is how his militaristic reaction within hours of vote indicates. But, it doesn't mean he had only 5 votes and others had 50 million. What are we going to do with the fact that the much hated Islamic Republic rulers have been running the country for the past 30 years? Running a country is not just about ideological convictions, it is a practical, beurocratc, technocratic deed. Therefore, I also REJECT the over-throwing sentiments of Iranians who are blinded by their rightful hatred for the men who are at the helm today.

    Democracy should FORCE the most inadequate of individuals into abiding by the rule of law, which are determined by the majority of people. The majority rule is 50%+1. And this means, at any given moment, we need to ACCEPT and coexist with 50%-1 people who may totally DISAGREE with us. And unless we learn and exercise that disciplin, our democratic progress shall remain in shambles!

  6. Sin Sad; just listened to your interview with Zamaaneh (Sunday April 11)! You are cool; and I want to congratulate you on one sentence: "man aslan az kalameh doshman badam miyad"! (I don't like the word enemy)


    Just, next time, please keep your Dutch friends outside of the gates: let them bear witness to YOU taking back YOUR land for a few hours!

  7. Naj, no matter what you think about the action Iranians (dual nationals even) put themselves at risk of Iranian prosecution if they are caught on embassy grounds, while the Dutch friends can take on an action and be sure that the Dutch courts will deal with them.

    Plus, there is a feeling, rightly or wrongly, that it would be good to rally the support of non-Iranians to the issues that Iranians themselves care about. Not as leaders of those fighting for human and civil rights in Iran, but as followers... In a sense "amplifying" your voices. What do you think of this, I wonder?

  8. Tori;

    Rallying non-Iranians against Ahmadinejad, who is in LOVE with spotlight, and who does any circus act to get on the front page of some Western press, is indeed important. But this brings up two issues:

    1) Rallying "foreign" support is one thing, asking them to participate in occupation of Iranian soil (here the embassy) is another. I will have had no issue if 1000 Dutch demonstrators were standing behind the gates while 5 Iranians brought the flag down. But, I take issue with 5 Dutch and 5 Iranians staging the show.

    2) In trying to raise awareness about IRI's inhumanities, whose attention are we trying to grab? Sin-Saad who interviewed with Zamaaneh answered this question partly: "The Iranians who may think the world has forgotten about them."
    This is a nobel cause. But, this in itself raises the issue of why/whether Iranians who ARE in Iran really need our X-pat support. In many cases, they would say no, because in the multiplicity of our expatriotic tastes, we are in fact removed from the reality that Iranians inside Iran live or want.

    Now to go back to point 2.
    Whose attention, other than Iranians inside Iran are we trying to grab?
    - The UN security council?
    - The UN human rights commission?
    - The stronghold of Ahmadinejad: the leftist anti zionist anti-imperialist camp who thinks Iran's green revolution is just a western plot a-la-Easter-Europe style, to weaken the Middle eastern Castro?

    I argue that as long as the last camp (which has many well written well spoken and educated, as well as many oppressed middle easterner supporter who suffer colonialism internally and externally) is behind Ahmadinejad, he will not bother too much to change his ways: he will keep lying through his teeth and many will keep buying them.

    Actions such as the narcissistic behaviors of many green punks (who of resistance know little but fashion symbolism) will not only raise awareness of the third group, but also will lend credence to their conviction that Ahmadinejad's the best tool against the imperial powers!

    And the first two camps, well they don't need convincing! But we also know that not only they have not been effective in taming the IRI, but they have antagonized it to Iran's economic and political detriment.

    If you ask me, I would say that holding a week of candle light vigil in front of the embassy is a more elegant, and effective act than bringing down a flag; and enjoying three days of Dutch incarceration! As an Iranian, I do not feel that internal drive to thank the embassy occupiers, or the Peace concert disrupters in Rotterdam for their patriotic efforts. But I am just one voice.

  9. I would just like to say that no one, Iranian or non-Iranian, should see the struggle for freedom and democracy in Iran as not belonging to the world, as something only for Iranians to be concerned about.

    Martin Luther King Junior said that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. These words resonate with truth. People - all people - should feel compelled to stand up against injustice, whether that injustice occurs 5 feet from your doorstep or 5,000 miles from your doorstep. They should feel this compulsion out of self-interest, if they don't feel it on principle.

    I think it is interesting that multinational corporations have long seen the world as borderless in order to advance their own power- and profit-seeking interests. The world's citizens should have no problem doing the same to advance our common human interests, and yet there remains a struggle for some to see that we are all sisters and brothers here on this earth, whom borders cannot - and should not be allowed to - divide.

    Finally, the Islamic regime has also demonstrated time and again that it does not recognize borders when it comes to the exercise of its own power. They exercise their power throughout the Middle East, in Latin America, the US, worldwide - really, the Islamic regime is its own multinational corporate-mafia enterprise. They even dare to threaten my First Amendment rights in the US by sending their representatives to intimidate with their videocameras while we protest at the Japanese Embassy for the freedom of Jamal Saberi and thousands of refugees just like him.

    Thus, I find there are many reasons to believe that they action by Iran Lives is appropriate: both for the message that it sends to the Islamic regime, and for the message it sends to those who stand for human rights and justice worldwide: we are together in this, and artificial borders will not divide us.

    I close with a note about borders that a friend who is dear to my heart once sent me. He was talking in this instance specifically about environmental activism, but in practice he extended this perspective to social activism as well. He disappeared in the months following the election.

    "You never know. Maybe the next time we'll have to swing from the Golden Gate Bridge to make a point, stop something wrong, or make a stand for what we believe in. I have been dreaming about this for a long time: there are no borders in this world - they only exist in the minds of people who believe the crooked governments telling them that they're there and have to be defended by deadliest means. But I've yet to see one painted by whoever created this planet on its land anywhere. The only way from making sure the generations after us will get to see flowers and butterflies and blue skies in real life, is to foster the belief in the idea of the global village. Unfortunately, most Iranians did not understand why I cared enough about some trees in a foreign country to do that stuff [environmental activism]. But I sure am happy about the progress we're seeing."

    Best regards,

  10. @Naj, I thought I signed up to be notified via email of more responses to this post. Thanks for the thoughtful response. I have been up to my ears in a report I have been writing for the past few weeks, and I have not yet had time to digest what you or Maria have written. (Read, just not digested.)

    Nice to see such thoughtful and interesting conversation here among people who do not 100% agree. It's really satisfying. I hope that I will have time to respond as thoughtfully as you have at some later date.