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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Name Is Navid, And I Like To Blog

  I may not behave in a civilized manner all of the time, but I live in a modern country- one where I can say and write nearly anything that is on my mind with relative impunity. With rare exceptions (like advocating genocide, for example) I am not only free to express in my own words what is going on in Darfur or Indiana, but give you my opinion on how I feel about each circumstance and potential ways to rectify problems. Most of you are like me; granted with the right to state facts, criticize court decisions, and disagree with and even lampoon politicians and religious leaders. We have it damn lucky here, about the worst thing that can happen to a blogger is getting the stinkeye at work. 

  However, in a number of other places, citizens are not so lucky. In many places where fundamentalism reigns, even joking about the bushiness of a leader's eyebrows can get you tossed in jail for a very long time. If you go so far as to insult the religious or political philosophy of the often-appointed leader, you could pay with your life. In places like Saudi Arabia and Iran, the simple act of reading this relatively insignificant blog is considered such a dangerous insult to Islam that most of my readers from such countries use proxies to avoid governmental interference. If an individual's blog is their voice, totalitarianism is sword severing the communications line, cutting essential speech off from the people who call this planet home. 

  One of those who has been denied his right to an opinion is Navid Mohebbi. He is 18 years old and shares a prison cell with a convicted murderer and has been denied visits from not only his parents, but attorney. Navid had been stalked, interrogated, and summoned endlessly from age 16 by Iran's religious police until his attack and arrest this past September. He has been charged with Acting Against National Security and Insulting Islam, among other things, but I'll let you read exactly what Iran considers so heinous that this kid will spend his college and family years behind bars. 

Tuesday, March 9 – 2010 Collage of Hopes for March 8 (International Women’s Day)
  by Navid Mohebbi

 "On this day, I am hoping for a world without violence and humiliation, and joy for the thousands of women in Darfur, Sudan who are suffering from homelessness and gang rapes, 

Thousands of young girls in North Africa and other developing region who have to run away from home because their families won’t accept them if they fall in love with someone and will stone them to death,

For the thousands of young girls who are forcefully circumcised and their organs are mutilated, for the millions of women all around the world who face domestic violence, women whose lives and whose children’s lives are endangered because of the lack of basic health care,

For the millions of women who are forced into prostitution by poverty, for the suffering women who don’t even have access to the most basic right of education and women who are lashed for wearing pants in Somalia.

I also want for them to live without violence, discrimination, inequality and for them to have a better financial life as well as to have access to health care and education.
And for the women of my own country who are being brutally suppressed in the most vicious manner,
I wish a society without violence, oppression and without gender-specific violence."

  His crime is that he believes women to be as deserving of happiness, health, and freedom as men. In Iran, belonging to any group like the One Million Signatures Campaign or amnesty International can result in your incarceration. Throw in the fact that Navid was accepted into Teheran University's Political Science programme and the Ayatollah sees a threat to his domination. The response was to ban social sciences (done in October) and arrest anyone who speaks, works, writes, or thinks aloud in and about human rights. 
  Navid is considered of special importance by the regime because he is too young to remember the Shah. This boy who was never taught about girls being equal is proof that the regimented mind control is not working, that no matter what, everyone wants themselves and others to be free. The boyhood Navid was more of a man than the fearful neutered sheep amongst him in a nation that believes individuality to be the work of evil Jinns. 

  To those of you who have the liberty to read this without terror, remember those lying in cold, vermin-infested cells today for the crime of trying to learn. When you close your laptop after hammering away on a particularly poignant blog entry, raise a glass for the revolutionaries, for without them there would be no knowledge of just how enslaved most of the world's residents are. If knowledge brings power, we are eternally indebted to young people like Navid Mohebbi who risk their lives to educate not only their nation, but the world. 

  Thank you.

To find out more about Navid Mohebbi and how to bring awareness to his case, CLICK HERE

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing Navid's important story!


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