Friday, January 09, 2009

Photos, blogs, and the continuing attack on women's rights

Just in case my loyal fan base has been wondering what I am up to... well it's obvious that I am not blogging... Here's an update on some of the things that have kept me busy for the past month:

Iason Athanasiadis has a show of photographs of Iran up at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles. Many of my friends know the photographer, so I know how dedicated he is to getting a good photo. If you can't make it to his show, you can still buy our book.

Blogging Basiji

Apparently Iran's Revolutionary Guards are embarking on a 10,000 blog campaign. Hamid Tehrani writes about their efforts at Harvard's Internet and Democracy blog. From the tone of his article, it sounds as though the effort will be as successful as Orrin Hatch's ballads:

The presence of 10,000 Basiji blogs without interesting content and quality will fail to attract readers or promote any ideas. The Islamic Republic’s state-controlled media has been a failure for three decades. The Iranian regime in recent years launched several TV channels, but even poor-quality satellite dishes became a must-have for millions of Iranians to access banned foreign films, music clips or news.

Iranian regime terrified of a few women

They are so terrified of women that they are harassing women's rights activists claiming that they compromise national security and then harassing the lawyers who defend them. Shirin Ebadi's home and office were invaded by state actors. They closed down her office and have been coming up with increasingly ridiculous charges against her. From an LA Times article:

"They were looking for some excuses to shut down our center and increase pressure on us," said Mohammed Seifzadeh, another Iranian human rights attorney and confidant of Ebadi.

Then authorities accused Ebadi of evading taxes on cases she took without pay. Tax officials came to her office several days ago to inquire about financial records, which Ebadi said were not at the office.

Ebadi called the tax fraud allegation absurd, saying she hasn't charged any of her clients for legal work in 15 years.

"If the law and legal procedures are taken into consideration, I am not a tax dodger," she said. "But if . . . they treat us outside the law, they can do whatever they want."

Finally, I have been working a on a group blog: Riveter Posts. If you want to keep up with daily life in Iran, I urge you to read Catharina's accounts. She's been living in Iran for more than forty years now and is sharing her experiences with us now. Here's a short post she wrote on repairing her house:

I knew it was going to be bad, but in reality it’s so much worse than I thought it would be. I could live with the painters, who only broke a glass table, scratched up a solid wooden cabinet, dropped and broke some porcelain statues and made a mess when they sanded the walls and ceilings. I survived all of that. But then arrived a very nice gentleman who would repair and fix my parquet floor. At the same time some carpenters would fix the stairway and several doors to the bathrooms. They took the doors with them so they could fix them in their own workshop. So there I was: radiators taken outside as the floors beneath them needed fixing (and it was freezing at night), not a toilet or bathroom in the house with a door, and my whole house, including everything stored inside the closets, covered with a thick layer of dust because of the abrasing of the parquet floors. That’s when I started to cry. And what a coincidence! It was Tasua when all of Iran cries for the death of Imam Hossein. This was the first time ever that I cried with them.