Guest Author - Susan Gaissert
Remember the election in the United States in 2000? Remember how some people thought the results were rigged, and that the wrong man wound up being President? Needless to say, life went on.
Remember the election in Iran in 2009? Remember how some people thoughts the results were rigged, and that the wrong man wound up being President? Well, life didnít go on very well.
The young lady featured in my article, Interview with an Iranian Girl, recently told me: "Our people are having a very challenging and difficult time. Many people have been put into jails, shot, or executed. Freedom has never been this much crushed in our country."
Here is what she is talking about. In Iran, after the dubious election results were announced, protesters lined the streets, demanding that their votes be counted fairly. According to The Wall Street Journal -- as of July, 29, 2009 -- over 1,000 of these protesters have been arrested and jailed. Of those, many have been beaten, sexually abused, and tortured. Of those, as of July 29, almost 100 have died.
According to the same Journal report, families of jailed protesters have been receiving the dead bodies of their loved ones, along with a request to sign a paper stating that the death was the result of some common ailment, such as the flu or a bacterial infection. But the bodies show evidence of beatings and torture. So, the families have written to the Iranian parliament, which has set up an investigative committee to look into the alleged prisoner abuse. We all know how effective such committees tend to be.
While some Iranian lawmakers are speaking out against the abuse and against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- who, despite the shadow of a fraudulent election, was sworn in as Iranís president on August 4, 2009 -- the general outlook for those who oppose him is not good. The New York Times reported on August 8, 2009 that Ahmadinejad is taking over the countryís intelligence ministry, a center of governmental control.
The Iranian girl, ever optimistic, states that "we are hopeful that we will gain our freedom and human rights someday soon." But, in the meantime, according to The Guardianís August 14, 2009 edition, Iran is issuing a new stamp to commemorate the 2009 election as a symbol of "the Iranian nation's unity."
In his 2000 victory speech, George W. Bush said, "I know America wants reconciliation and unity." But, just as he failed to deliver those qualities, Ahmadinejad is failing to unite Iran.
Despite the comparisons I've been making here, I know full well that the America is not Iran. We are the lucky ones; we must speak out.
While it is proper for the Obama administration to stand back (the Iranian girl made it clear in our interview that Iran loves to blame America for its problems), we as citizens of the world need to use the precious power of our free speech -- something the Iranians do not have -- to spread the word about their plight.
The Iranian girl recommends this: "Many Iranians including myself believe that the best way that other people can help us is to ask their governments to abandon Ahmadinejad politically. For example, don't let him attend the United Nations as Iran's president."
Here's hoping the life of the Iranians will soon go on.