Skip to main content
Sabrang

World

Sabrang

Defying Warning, Iranians’ Anti-hijab Protest Continues For 10th Night: 57 Deaths

26 Sep 2022

Iran protest
Demonstrators burn a scarf at a protest against the Iranian government on Sunday. (David Bates/CBC)

Iranians took to the streets for a 10th consecutive night Sunday, in defiance of a warning from the judiciary, to protest the death of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in morality police custody.

Images circulated by IHR showed protesters on the streets of Tehran, shouting “death to the dictator,” purportedly after nightfall on Sunday.

Witnesses said that protests in several locations were ongoing.

Many Iranian women protesters have removed and burnt their hijabs in the rallies and cut off their hair, some dancing near large bonfires to the applause of crowds that have chanted “zan, zendegi, azadi” or “woman, life, freedom.”

The demonstrations have spread to all of Iran’s 31 provinces and are the largest since nationwide demonstrations three years ago that were met with a deadly security response that killed hundreds.

Media reports said:

At least 41 people have died since the unrest began, mostly protesters but including members of the Islamic Republic’s security forces, according to an official toll, although other sources say the real figure is higher.

Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) said on Sunday evening that the death toll was at least 57, but noted that ongoing internet blackouts were making it increasingly difficult to confirm fatalities in a context where the women-led protests have in recent nights spread to scores of cities.

Hundreds of demonstrators, reformist activists and journalists have been arrested amid the mostly nighttime demonstrations since unrest first broke out after Amini’s death on Sept. 16.

Amini, whose Kurdish first name was Jhina, was detained three days before that for allegedly breaching the rules that mandate tightly-fitted hijab head coverings and which ban, among other things, ripped jeans and brightly colored clothes.

Iran’s largest protests in almost three years have seen security forces fire live rounds and bird shot, rights groups charge, while protesters have hurled rocks, torched police cars and set ablaze state buildings.

Videos circulated on Saturday and Sunday showed protests in several areas of Tehran, as well as in Shiraz, in southern Iran, and Fardis, west of the capital. In one protest in Sattar Khan, a central neighborhood in Tehran, a crowd gathered around what was reported to be a burning police motorcycle, chanting “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, we are all together,” according to a video posted by 1500 Tasvir, an anti-government monitoring group.

The group said in a text message that the pace of protest videos emerging from Iran had slowed late Saturday into Sunday, in part because of internet disruptions imposed by the authorities over the past week, as well as restrictions on apps including Instagram and WhatsApp. Netblocks, an internet monitoring group, said Sunday evening that it had detected a “nation-scale disruption to Mobinet,” one of the largest mobile network operators in Iran.

In Kurdish areas of western Iran, where Amini was from, cities have become “heavily militarized,” by the security forces, said Rebin Rahmani, member of the board of directors of the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, based in Paris.

The cities of Kermanshah, Kamyaran, Sanandaj, Saqqez, Divandarreh, and Oshnavieh were “under tight security control,” he said. Oshnavieh had been shut down for three days, he said, after a “horrible incident where several people were killed Wednesday night.” He denied earlier reports that protesters had routed security forces in the city.

In a rural area called Balo, near Iran’s border with Turkey, families of protesters who were killed last week set fire to a base used Thursday by the Basij paramilitary forces, Rahmani said.

“We haven’t received any videos today,” he said. “Because the internet is cut it’s very difficult to get any news.” Arrests were being carried out based on previously recorded videos of the protests, he added.

As the internet blackout obscured events in Iran, news of the death of a lone protester, a woman, that circulated widely over the weekend sparked fresh anger.

The woman, Hadis Najafi, had been seen in a video last week tying her blond, uncovered hair in a ponytail on the edge of a protest in Karaj, northwest of Tehran. Human rights activists said she was fatally shot by security forces Wednesday.

The world has learnt of the violence largely through shaky mobile phone footage posted on social media, even as authorities have throttled internet access.

Web monitor NetBlocks noted “rolling blackouts” and “widespread internet platform restrictions,” with WhatsApp, Instagram and Skype having already been blocked.

This followed older bans on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Telegram.

Protests abroad have been held in solidarity with Iranian women in Athens, Berlin, Brussels, Istanbul, Madrid, New York and Paris, among other cities.

Iran — which is ruled by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 83, and which has been hit with tough economic sanctions over its nuclear program — has blamed “foreign plots” for the unrest.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi threatened a harsh response Saturday, vowing a “decisive strike on the disrupters of security and peace of the country,” in a phone call with the family of a slain member of the security forces, local Iranian news outlets reported.

Echoing a warning the previous day by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei on Sunday “emphasized the need for decisive action without leniency” against the core instigators of the “riots,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online website said.

On Sunday, Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s interior minister, called on the judiciary to pursue a “quick, decisive, legal confrontation with the leaders and agents of these riots that will teach others a lesson,” according to Hamshahri, a state-run newspaper.

The foreign ministry said Sunday it had summoned Britain’s ambassador over what it described as an “invitation to riots” by Farsi-speaking media based in London, and Norway’s envoy over “unconstructive comments” made by his country’s parliament speaker.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Amir-Abdollahian criticized “the U.S. interventionist approach in the affairs of Iran including its provocative actions in supporting the rioters.”

Pro-government Rallies

Iran has also organized large rallies in defense of the hijab and conservative values.

Pro-government rallies were held Sunday, with the main event taking place in Enghelab (Revolution) Square in central Tehran, where demonstrators voiced support for mandatory hijab laws.

“Martyrs died so that this hijab will be on our head,” said demonstrator Nafiseh, 28, adding that she was opposed to making the wearing of the hijab voluntary.

Another demonstrator, 21-year-old student Atyieh, called for “strong action against the people who are leading” the protests.

The main reformist group inside Iran, the Union of Islamic Iran People’s Party, however, has called for the repeal of the mandatory dress code.

Human rights groups based abroad have sought to shine light on the turmoil rocking Iran, citing their own sources in the country.

IHR reported on Sunday that an umbrella of Iranian teachers’ unions were calling on teachers and students to boycott classes on Monday and Wednesday in support of the protests.

Iranian authorities have yet to state the cause of death of Amini, who activists say died as a result of a blow to the head.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi has said Amini was not beaten and that “we must wait for the final opinion of the medical examiner.”

A tightening crackdown has included the use of live ammunition against demonstrators and heavy deployments of security forces in Kurdish areas of western Iran, where the protests have been concentrated.

18 Journalists Arrested

As of Sunday, at least 18 journalists had been arrested during the unrest, including several who were taken into custody during early morning raids on their homes, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

Protesters March Through Downtown Ottawa, Burn Headscarf

A CBC report said:

With the death of a young Iranian woman in police custody sparking demonstrations around the world, hundreds of people also took to the streets of Ottawa Sunday to protest against the Iranian government.

“This could have happened to [any] one of us,” said Taraneh, a protester who lived in Iran for about 30 years. CBC is withholding her last name due to her safety concerns.

Taraneh said she and her sister were once arrested by the morality police while in Iran and held for five or six hours.  She said she’s frustrated that Iranian women are forced to comply with the strict hijab requirements.

“The women in Iran are not free at all,” she said. “We are tired of this system.”

The protesters marched past Parliament Hill on Wellington Street, down Metcalfe Street and onto Queen Street, where they gathered to chant and burn a scarf in protest.

Police estimated about 1,000 people took part.

“It is not just a matter of hijab anymore. It is not a matter of the morality police forces anymore,” said organizer Rosa Kheirandish, who was born in Iran and moved to Canada in 2001.

“They just want the mandatory Islamic Republic to go.”

Kheirandish said she helped organize the protest so that other Iranians could claw back their freedom from the oppressive government — starting with freedom of religion.

“[They want] that same kind of freedom that we have here in Canada,” said Kheirandish. “I mean, thank God we have it here.”

She said she also hopes the protest raises awareness of what Iranians are facing.

Kheirandish fears that the internet disconnection will precede government violence.

Another protester, Lora Solaimani, said she was concerned internet outages may also impede Iranians’ ability to call to the international community for help.

“They have cut the internet so that we cannot actually see what is going on,” said Solaimani. “I think that needs international attention.”

Protestor Rahil Golipoor, a risk analyst for the federal government, said the oppression of human rights happening in Iran could have a harmful impact worldwide.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is a risk for the world,” Golipoor said, adding that the actions by the country’s morality police could influence other governments. “They are a virus starting in Iran, but they do not stay in Iran.”

Golipoor said she is demonstrating not just against Iran, but to send a global message against all religious and gender-based discrimination.

“We stand for the future of the world,” said Golipoor. “We do not stay silent for any dictator [or] religion.”

Courtesy: https://countercurrents.org

Defying Warning, Iranians’ Anti-hijab Protest Continues For 10th Night: 57 Deaths

Iran protest
Demonstrators burn a scarf at a protest against the Iranian government on Sunday. (David Bates/CBC)

Iranians took to the streets for a 10th consecutive night Sunday, in defiance of a warning from the judiciary, to protest the death of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in morality police custody.

Images circulated by IHR showed protesters on the streets of Tehran, shouting “death to the dictator,” purportedly after nightfall on Sunday.

Witnesses said that protests in several locations were ongoing.

Many Iranian women protesters have removed and burnt their hijabs in the rallies and cut off their hair, some dancing near large bonfires to the applause of crowds that have chanted “zan, zendegi, azadi” or “woman, life, freedom.”

The demonstrations have spread to all of Iran’s 31 provinces and are the largest since nationwide demonstrations three years ago that were met with a deadly security response that killed hundreds.

Media reports said:

At least 41 people have died since the unrest began, mostly protesters but including members of the Islamic Republic’s security forces, according to an official toll, although other sources say the real figure is higher.

Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) said on Sunday evening that the death toll was at least 57, but noted that ongoing internet blackouts were making it increasingly difficult to confirm fatalities in a context where the women-led protests have in recent nights spread to scores of cities.

Hundreds of demonstrators, reformist activists and journalists have been arrested amid the mostly nighttime demonstrations since unrest first broke out after Amini’s death on Sept. 16.

Amini, whose Kurdish first name was Jhina, was detained three days before that for allegedly breaching the rules that mandate tightly-fitted hijab head coverings and which ban, among other things, ripped jeans and brightly colored clothes.

Iran’s largest protests in almost three years have seen security forces fire live rounds and bird shot, rights groups charge, while protesters have hurled rocks, torched police cars and set ablaze state buildings.

Videos circulated on Saturday and Sunday showed protests in several areas of Tehran, as well as in Shiraz, in southern Iran, and Fardis, west of the capital. In one protest in Sattar Khan, a central neighborhood in Tehran, a crowd gathered around what was reported to be a burning police motorcycle, chanting “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, we are all together,” according to a video posted by 1500 Tasvir, an anti-government monitoring group.

The group said in a text message that the pace of protest videos emerging from Iran had slowed late Saturday into Sunday, in part because of internet disruptions imposed by the authorities over the past week, as well as restrictions on apps including Instagram and WhatsApp. Netblocks, an internet monitoring group, said Sunday evening that it had detected a “nation-scale disruption to Mobinet,” one of the largest mobile network operators in Iran.

In Kurdish areas of western Iran, where Amini was from, cities have become “heavily militarized,” by the security forces, said Rebin Rahmani, member of the board of directors of the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, based in Paris.

The cities of Kermanshah, Kamyaran, Sanandaj, Saqqez, Divandarreh, and Oshnavieh were “under tight security control,” he said. Oshnavieh had been shut down for three days, he said, after a “horrible incident where several people were killed Wednesday night.” He denied earlier reports that protesters had routed security forces in the city.

In a rural area called Balo, near Iran’s border with Turkey, families of protesters who were killed last week set fire to a base used Thursday by the Basij paramilitary forces, Rahmani said.

“We haven’t received any videos today,” he said. “Because the internet is cut it’s very difficult to get any news.” Arrests were being carried out based on previously recorded videos of the protests, he added.

As the internet blackout obscured events in Iran, news of the death of a lone protester, a woman, that circulated widely over the weekend sparked fresh anger.

The woman, Hadis Najafi, had been seen in a video last week tying her blond, uncovered hair in a ponytail on the edge of a protest in Karaj, northwest of Tehran. Human rights activists said she was fatally shot by security forces Wednesday.

The world has learnt of the violence largely through shaky mobile phone footage posted on social media, even as authorities have throttled internet access.

Web monitor NetBlocks noted “rolling blackouts” and “widespread internet platform restrictions,” with WhatsApp, Instagram and Skype having already been blocked.

This followed older bans on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Telegram.

Protests abroad have been held in solidarity with Iranian women in Athens, Berlin, Brussels, Istanbul, Madrid, New York and Paris, among other cities.

Iran — which is ruled by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 83, and which has been hit with tough economic sanctions over its nuclear program — has blamed “foreign plots” for the unrest.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi threatened a harsh response Saturday, vowing a “decisive strike on the disrupters of security and peace of the country,” in a phone call with the family of a slain member of the security forces, local Iranian news outlets reported.

Echoing a warning the previous day by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei on Sunday “emphasized the need for decisive action without leniency” against the core instigators of the “riots,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online website said.

On Sunday, Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s interior minister, called on the judiciary to pursue a “quick, decisive, legal confrontation with the leaders and agents of these riots that will teach others a lesson,” according to Hamshahri, a state-run newspaper.

The foreign ministry said Sunday it had summoned Britain’s ambassador over what it described as an “invitation to riots” by Farsi-speaking media based in London, and Norway’s envoy over “unconstructive comments” made by his country’s parliament speaker.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Amir-Abdollahian criticized “the U.S. interventionist approach in the affairs of Iran including its provocative actions in supporting the rioters.”

Pro-government Rallies

Iran has also organized large rallies in defense of the hijab and conservative values.

Pro-government rallies were held Sunday, with the main event taking place in Enghelab (Revolution) Square in central Tehran, where demonstrators voiced support for mandatory hijab laws.

“Martyrs died so that this hijab will be on our head,” said demonstrator Nafiseh, 28, adding that she was opposed to making the wearing of the hijab voluntary.

Another demonstrator, 21-year-old student Atyieh, called for “strong action against the people who are leading” the protests.

The main reformist group inside Iran, the Union of Islamic Iran People’s Party, however, has called for the repeal of the mandatory dress code.

Human rights groups based abroad have sought to shine light on the turmoil rocking Iran, citing their own sources in the country.

IHR reported on Sunday that an umbrella of Iranian teachers’ unions were calling on teachers and students to boycott classes on Monday and Wednesday in support of the protests.

Iranian authorities have yet to state the cause of death of Amini, who activists say died as a result of a blow to the head.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi has said Amini was not beaten and that “we must wait for the final opinion of the medical examiner.”

A tightening crackdown has included the use of live ammunition against demonstrators and heavy deployments of security forces in Kurdish areas of western Iran, where the protests have been concentrated.

18 Journalists Arrested

As of Sunday, at least 18 journalists had been arrested during the unrest, including several who were taken into custody during early morning raids on their homes, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

Protesters March Through Downtown Ottawa, Burn Headscarf

A CBC report said:

With the death of a young Iranian woman in police custody sparking demonstrations around the world, hundreds of people also took to the streets of Ottawa Sunday to protest against the Iranian government.

“This could have happened to [any] one of us,” said Taraneh, a protester who lived in Iran for about 30 years. CBC is withholding her last name due to her safety concerns.

Taraneh said she and her sister were once arrested by the morality police while in Iran and held for five or six hours.  She said she’s frustrated that Iranian women are forced to comply with the strict hijab requirements.

“The women in Iran are not free at all,” she said. “We are tired of this system.”

The protesters marched past Parliament Hill on Wellington Street, down Metcalfe Street and onto Queen Street, where they gathered to chant and burn a scarf in protest.

Police estimated about 1,000 people took part.

“It is not just a matter of hijab anymore. It is not a matter of the morality police forces anymore,” said organizer Rosa Kheirandish, who was born in Iran and moved to Canada in 2001.

“They just want the mandatory Islamic Republic to go.”

Kheirandish said she helped organize the protest so that other Iranians could claw back their freedom from the oppressive government — starting with freedom of religion.

“[They want] that same kind of freedom that we have here in Canada,” said Kheirandish. “I mean, thank God we have it here.”

She said she also hopes the protest raises awareness of what Iranians are facing.

Kheirandish fears that the internet disconnection will precede government violence.

Another protester, Lora Solaimani, said she was concerned internet outages may also impede Iranians’ ability to call to the international community for help.

“They have cut the internet so that we cannot actually see what is going on,” said Solaimani. “I think that needs international attention.”

Protestor Rahil Golipoor, a risk analyst for the federal government, said the oppression of human rights happening in Iran could have a harmful impact worldwide.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is a risk for the world,” Golipoor said, adding that the actions by the country’s morality police could influence other governments. “They are a virus starting in Iran, but they do not stay in Iran.”

Golipoor said she is demonstrating not just against Iran, but to send a global message against all religious and gender-based discrimination.

“We stand for the future of the world,” said Golipoor. “We do not stay silent for any dictator [or] religion.”

Courtesy: https://countercurrents.org

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

“IMSD strongly condemns the repressive Iranian regime, questions the hypocrisy of the Muslim clergy in India”

23 Sep 2022

Irani womenImage: Getty Images

Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) strongly condemns the Iranian State’s obscurantist, authoritarian laws and their murderous enforcement, as also the denial of the citizens’ right to protest.  In this third decade of the 21st century it’s inhuman and barbaric to kill a fellow human being merely for not covering her head.

At the same time, we question the hypocrisy of India’s Muslim clergy in not supporting the Iranian women’s right to choose, an argument it puts forward in the context of the ongoing hijab controversy in India.

A statement issued by IMSD today has been endorsed by nearly 100 prominent  citizens from different cities and different walks of life including Freedom fighter G.G. Parikh, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Zeenat Shaukatali, Yogendra Yadav, Tushar Gandhi . 

The full text of the statement can be read here.

 
 

“IMSD strongly condemns the repressive Iranian regime, questions the hypocrisy of the Muslim clergy in India”

Irani womenImage: Getty Images

Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) strongly condemns the Iranian State’s obscurantist, authoritarian laws and their murderous enforcement, as also the denial of the citizens’ right to protest.  In this third decade of the 21st century it’s inhuman and barbaric to kill a fellow human being merely for not covering her head.

At the same time, we question the hypocrisy of India’s Muslim clergy in not supporting the Iranian women’s right to choose, an argument it puts forward in the context of the ongoing hijab controversy in India.

A statement issued by IMSD today has been endorsed by nearly 100 prominent  citizens from different cities and different walks of life including Freedom fighter G.G. Parikh, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Zeenat Shaukatali, Yogendra Yadav, Tushar Gandhi . 

The full text of the statement can be read here.

 
 

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Iran: At Least 9 Killed as Protests Spread Over Mahsa Amini’s Death

Protests began as an emotional outpouring over the death of the 22-year-old who was held by Tehran’s morality police for allegedly violating its strictly enforced dress code.

23 Sep 2022

IranImage Courtesy: iranintl.com
 

Dubai: Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have killed at least nine people since the violence erupted over the weekend, according to a tally on Thursday by The Associated Press.

Widespread outages of Instagram and WhatsApp, which protesters use to share information about the government's rolling crackdown on dissent, continued on Thursday.

Authorities also appeared to disrupt internet access to the outside world, a tactic that rights activists say the government often employs in times of unrest.

The demonstrations in Iran began as an emotional outpouring over the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman held by the country's morality police for allegedly violating its strictly enforced dress code.

Her death has sparked sharp condemnation from the United States, the European Union and the United Nations. The police say she died of a heart attack and was not mistreated, but her family has cast doubt on that account.

The protests have grown in the last four days into an open challenge to the government, with women removing their state-mandated headscarves in the streets and Iranians setting trash bins ablaze and calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic itself.

“Death to the dictator!” has been a common cry in the protests.

Demonstrations have also rocked university campuses in Tehran and far flung western cities such as Kermanshah.

Although widespread, the unrest appears distinct from earlier rounds of nationwide protests triggered by pocketbook issues as Iran's economy staggers under heavy US sanctions.

The unrest that erupted in 2019 over the government's abrupt gasoline price hike mobilised working class masses in small towns.

Hundreds were killed as security forces cracked down, according to human rights groups, the deadliest violence since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran's state-run media this week reported demonstrations in at least 13 cities, including the capital, Tehran, as protesters vent anger over social repression.

Videos online show security forces firing tear gas and water canons to disperse the protests. London-based Amnesty International reported that officers fired birdshot and beat protesters with batons.

At least nine people have died in the confrontations, according to an AP count based on statements from Iran's state-run and semi-official media.

Officials have blamed unnamed foreign countries, which they claim are trying to foment unrest.

In Amini's home province in the northwest, Kurdistan, the provincial police chief said four protesters were killed by live fire.

In Kermanshah, the prosecutor said two protesters were killed by opposition groups, insisting that the bullets were not fired by Iran's security forces.

Meanwhile, three men affiliated with the Basij, a volunteer force under the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, were also killed in clashes in the cities of Shiraz, Tabriz and Mashhad, semiofficial media reported, bringing the death toll on both sides to nine.

As the protests spread, authorities shut down the internet in parts of the country, according to NetBlocks, a London-based group that monitors internet access, describing the restrictions as the most severe since the mass protests of November 2019.

Iran has grappled with waves of protests in recent years, mainly over a long-running economic crisis exacerbated by Western sanctions linked to its nuclear programme.

Iranians also blame government corruption and mismanagement as prices of basic goods soar, the currency shrivels in value and unemployment remains high.

The Biden administration and European allies have been working to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, in which Iran curbed its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief, but the talks have been deadlocked for months.

Courtesy: Newsclick

Iran: At Least 9 Killed as Protests Spread Over Mahsa Amini’s Death

Protests began as an emotional outpouring over the death of the 22-year-old who was held by Tehran’s morality police for allegedly violating its strictly enforced dress code.

IranImage Courtesy: iranintl.com
 

Dubai: Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have killed at least nine people since the violence erupted over the weekend, according to a tally on Thursday by The Associated Press.

Widespread outages of Instagram and WhatsApp, which protesters use to share information about the government's rolling crackdown on dissent, continued on Thursday.

Authorities also appeared to disrupt internet access to the outside world, a tactic that rights activists say the government often employs in times of unrest.

The demonstrations in Iran began as an emotional outpouring over the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman held by the country's morality police for allegedly violating its strictly enforced dress code.

Her death has sparked sharp condemnation from the United States, the European Union and the United Nations. The police say she died of a heart attack and was not mistreated, but her family has cast doubt on that account.

The protests have grown in the last four days into an open challenge to the government, with women removing their state-mandated headscarves in the streets and Iranians setting trash bins ablaze and calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic itself.

“Death to the dictator!” has been a common cry in the protests.

Demonstrations have also rocked university campuses in Tehran and far flung western cities such as Kermanshah.

Although widespread, the unrest appears distinct from earlier rounds of nationwide protests triggered by pocketbook issues as Iran's economy staggers under heavy US sanctions.

The unrest that erupted in 2019 over the government's abrupt gasoline price hike mobilised working class masses in small towns.

Hundreds were killed as security forces cracked down, according to human rights groups, the deadliest violence since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran's state-run media this week reported demonstrations in at least 13 cities, including the capital, Tehran, as protesters vent anger over social repression.

Videos online show security forces firing tear gas and water canons to disperse the protests. London-based Amnesty International reported that officers fired birdshot and beat protesters with batons.

At least nine people have died in the confrontations, according to an AP count based on statements from Iran's state-run and semi-official media.

Officials have blamed unnamed foreign countries, which they claim are trying to foment unrest.

In Amini's home province in the northwest, Kurdistan, the provincial police chief said four protesters were killed by live fire.

In Kermanshah, the prosecutor said two protesters were killed by opposition groups, insisting that the bullets were not fired by Iran's security forces.

Meanwhile, three men affiliated with the Basij, a volunteer force under the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, were also killed in clashes in the cities of Shiraz, Tabriz and Mashhad, semiofficial media reported, bringing the death toll on both sides to nine.

As the protests spread, authorities shut down the internet in parts of the country, according to NetBlocks, a London-based group that monitors internet access, describing the restrictions as the most severe since the mass protests of November 2019.

Iran has grappled with waves of protests in recent years, mainly over a long-running economic crisis exacerbated by Western sanctions linked to its nuclear programme.

Iranians also blame government corruption and mismanagement as prices of basic goods soar, the currency shrivels in value and unemployment remains high.

The Biden administration and European allies have been working to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, in which Iran curbed its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief, but the talks have been deadlocked for months.

Courtesy: Newsclick

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

'Twitter Can't Protect its Data': Whistleblower Tells US Congress

Peiter Zatko claimed that Twitter knowingly allowed the Indian government to place its agents on the company payroll, where they had access to highly sensitive data on users.

15 Sep 2022

Twitter

Washington: The former security chief at Twitter told Congress that the social media platform is plagued by weak cyber defences that make it vulnerable to exploitation by “teenagers, thieves and spies” and put the privacy of its users at risk.

Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, a respected cybersecurity expert, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to lay out his allegations Tuesday.

“I am here today because Twitter leadership is misleading the public, lawmakers, regulators and even its own board of directors," Zatko said as he began his sworn testimony.

“They don't know what data they have, where it lives and where it came from and so, unsurprisingly, they can't protect it,” Zatko said.

“It doesn't matter who has keys if there are no locks."

Zatko said “Twitter leadership ignored its engineers,” in part because “their executive incentives led them to prioritise profit over security.”

One issue that didn't come up in the hearing was the question of whether Twitter is accurately counting its active users, an important metric for its advertisers.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is trying to get out of a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, has argued without evidence that many of Twitter's roughly 238 million daily users are fake or malicious accounts, i.e. “spam bots.”

The Delaware judge overseeing the case ruled last week that Musk can include new evidence related to Zatko's allegations in the high-stakes trial, which is set to start October 17.

Separately on Tuesday, Twitter's shareholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the deal according to multiple media reports. Shareholders have been voting remotely on the issue for weeks.

The vote was largely a formality, particularly given Musk's efforts to nullify the deal, although it does clears a legal hurdle to closing the sale.

Zatko's message echoed one brought to Congress against another social media giant last year, but unlike that Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, Zatko hasn't brought troves of internal documents to back up his claims.

Zatko was the head of security for the influential platform until he was fired early this year. He filed a whistleblower complaint in July with Congress, the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Among his most serious accusations is that Twitter violated the terms of a 2011 FTC settlement by falsely claiming that it had put stronger measures in place to protect the security and privacy of its users.

Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who heads the Judiciary Committee, said Zatko has detailed flaws “that may pose a direct threat to Twitter's hundreds of millions of users as well as to American democracy.”

“Twitter is an immensely powerful platform and can't afford gaping vulnerabilities,” he said.

Unknown to Twitter users, there's far more of their personal information disclosed than they — or sometimes even Twitter itself — realize, Zatko testified.

He said Twitter did not address “basic systemic failures” brought forward by company engineers.

The FTC has been “a little over its head”, and far behind European counterparts, in policing the sort of privacy violations that have occurred at Twitter, Zatko said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said one positive result that could come out of Zatko's findings would be bipartisan legislation to set up a tighter system of regulation of tech platforms.

“We need to up our game in this country,” he said.

Many of Zatko's claims are uncorroborated and appear to have little documentary support. Twitter has called Zatko's description of events “a false narrative ... riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies” and lacking important context.

Among  Zatko's assertions that drew attention from lawmakers on Tuesday was that Twitter knowingly allowed the government of India to place its agents on the company payroll, where they had access to highly sensitive data on users.

Twitter's lack of ability to log how employees accessed user accounts made it hard for the company to detect when employees were abusing their access, Zatko said.

Zatko said he spoke with “high confidence” about a foreign agent that the government of India placed at Twitter to “understand the negotiations” between India's ruling party and Twitter about new social media restrictions and how well those negotiations were going.

Zatko also revealed Tuesday that he was told about a week before his firing that “at least one agent” from the Chinese intelligence service MSS, or the Ministry of State Security, was “on the payroll” at Twitter.

He said he was similarly “surprised and shocked” by an exchange with current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal about Russia — in which Twitter's current CEO, who was chief technology officer at the time, asked if it would be possible to “punt” content moderation and surveillance to the Russian government since Twitter doesn't really “have the ability and tools to do things correctly.”

“And since they have elections, doesn't that make them a democracy?” Zatko recalled Agrawal saying.

Sen. Charles Grassley, the committee's ranking Republican, said Tuesday that Agrawal declined to testify at the hearing, citing the ongoing legal proceedings with Musk. But the hearing is “more important than Twitter's civil litigation in Delaware," Grassley said.

Twitter declined to comment on Grassley's remarks.

In his complaint, Zatko accused Agrawal as well as other senior executives and board members of numerous violations, including making “false and misleading statements to users and the FTC about the Twitter platform's security, privacy and integrity.”

Zatko, 51, first gained prominence in the 1990s as a pioneer in the ethical hacking movement and later worked in senior positions at an elite Defense Department research unit and at Google.

He joined Twitter in late 2020 at the urging of then-CEO Jack Dorsey.

Courtesy: Newsclick

'Twitter Can't Protect its Data': Whistleblower Tells US Congress

Peiter Zatko claimed that Twitter knowingly allowed the Indian government to place its agents on the company payroll, where they had access to highly sensitive data on users.

Twitter

Washington: The former security chief at Twitter told Congress that the social media platform is plagued by weak cyber defences that make it vulnerable to exploitation by “teenagers, thieves and spies” and put the privacy of its users at risk.

Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, a respected cybersecurity expert, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to lay out his allegations Tuesday.

“I am here today because Twitter leadership is misleading the public, lawmakers, regulators and even its own board of directors," Zatko said as he began his sworn testimony.

“They don't know what data they have, where it lives and where it came from and so, unsurprisingly, they can't protect it,” Zatko said.

“It doesn't matter who has keys if there are no locks."

Zatko said “Twitter leadership ignored its engineers,” in part because “their executive incentives led them to prioritise profit over security.”

One issue that didn't come up in the hearing was the question of whether Twitter is accurately counting its active users, an important metric for its advertisers.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is trying to get out of a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, has argued without evidence that many of Twitter's roughly 238 million daily users are fake or malicious accounts, i.e. “spam bots.”

The Delaware judge overseeing the case ruled last week that Musk can include new evidence related to Zatko's allegations in the high-stakes trial, which is set to start October 17.

Separately on Tuesday, Twitter's shareholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the deal according to multiple media reports. Shareholders have been voting remotely on the issue for weeks.

The vote was largely a formality, particularly given Musk's efforts to nullify the deal, although it does clears a legal hurdle to closing the sale.

Zatko's message echoed one brought to Congress against another social media giant last year, but unlike that Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, Zatko hasn't brought troves of internal documents to back up his claims.

Zatko was the head of security for the influential platform until he was fired early this year. He filed a whistleblower complaint in July with Congress, the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Among his most serious accusations is that Twitter violated the terms of a 2011 FTC settlement by falsely claiming that it had put stronger measures in place to protect the security and privacy of its users.

Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who heads the Judiciary Committee, said Zatko has detailed flaws “that may pose a direct threat to Twitter's hundreds of millions of users as well as to American democracy.”

“Twitter is an immensely powerful platform and can't afford gaping vulnerabilities,” he said.

Unknown to Twitter users, there's far more of their personal information disclosed than they — or sometimes even Twitter itself — realize, Zatko testified.

He said Twitter did not address “basic systemic failures” brought forward by company engineers.

The FTC has been “a little over its head”, and far behind European counterparts, in policing the sort of privacy violations that have occurred at Twitter, Zatko said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said one positive result that could come out of Zatko's findings would be bipartisan legislation to set up a tighter system of regulation of tech platforms.

“We need to up our game in this country,” he said.

Many of Zatko's claims are uncorroborated and appear to have little documentary support. Twitter has called Zatko's description of events “a false narrative ... riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies” and lacking important context.

Among  Zatko's assertions that drew attention from lawmakers on Tuesday was that Twitter knowingly allowed the government of India to place its agents on the company payroll, where they had access to highly sensitive data on users.

Twitter's lack of ability to log how employees accessed user accounts made it hard for the company to detect when employees were abusing their access, Zatko said.

Zatko said he spoke with “high confidence” about a foreign agent that the government of India placed at Twitter to “understand the negotiations” between India's ruling party and Twitter about new social media restrictions and how well those negotiations were going.

Zatko also revealed Tuesday that he was told about a week before his firing that “at least one agent” from the Chinese intelligence service MSS, or the Ministry of State Security, was “on the payroll” at Twitter.

He said he was similarly “surprised and shocked” by an exchange with current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal about Russia — in which Twitter's current CEO, who was chief technology officer at the time, asked if it would be possible to “punt” content moderation and surveillance to the Russian government since Twitter doesn't really “have the ability and tools to do things correctly.”

“And since they have elections, doesn't that make them a democracy?” Zatko recalled Agrawal saying.

Sen. Charles Grassley, the committee's ranking Republican, said Tuesday that Agrawal declined to testify at the hearing, citing the ongoing legal proceedings with Musk. But the hearing is “more important than Twitter's civil litigation in Delaware," Grassley said.

Twitter declined to comment on Grassley's remarks.

In his complaint, Zatko accused Agrawal as well as other senior executives and board members of numerous violations, including making “false and misleading statements to users and the FTC about the Twitter platform's security, privacy and integrity.”

Zatko, 51, first gained prominence in the 1990s as a pioneer in the ethical hacking movement and later worked in senior positions at an elite Defense Department research unit and at Google.

He joined Twitter in late 2020 at the urging of then-CEO Jack Dorsey.

Courtesy: Newsclick

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Bulldozer is a divisive image: Organisers apologise for its inclusion at India Day celebrations in New Jersey

Indian American and Muslim residents had found the inclusion of a bulldozer distasteful and even hateful

03 Sep 2022

Indian Business Association
Image Courtesy:middleeasteye.net

On August 30, 2022, the Indian Business Association, a New Jersey based group that had organized an India Day celebration, offered a written apology to the mayors of Edison and Woodbridge, for including a bulldozer in the India Day Parade. The shocking inclusion of a yellow bullodozer with the image of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on a poster saying “Baba ka Bulldozer” had sent ripples among the local Indian American community as well as the huge community of Muslims of South Asian descent who live in this area.

In the letter addressed to Mayor Sam Joshi of Edison, and Mayor John E. McCormac of Woodbridge, the IBA offered “sincere apologies” for certain aspects of the parade that not only reflected poorly on the organization, but more importantly, “offended Indian American minority groups, especially Muslims”.

IBA president Chandrakant Patel, accepted that the parade should have been about celebrating Indian heritage and diversity, but, “Unfortunately there was a bulldozer among the floats in the parade, which is a divisive image that did not reflect our mission. It was seen quite negatively by many who are deeply impacted and insulted by certain activities that have been happening in India.”

The entire letter may be read here: 

Bull Dozer

Readers would recall that bulldozers have been pressed into service to demolish homes of protesters, dissenters and suspected rioters in at least three Indian states – the Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh, as well as Madhya Pradesh and Assam. They were also used to demolish the huts of alleged rioters in Jahangirpuri in New Delhi.

The ancestral home of Parveen Fatima, the wife of activist Javed Mohammed who was accused of masterminding the violence June 10 protests against Nupur Sharma’s Islamophobic and offensive words about Prophet Mohammed, was demolished by the Prayagraj Development Authority (PDA).

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra had justified the demolition of 16 houses and 29 shops in five areas across Khargone, just a day after communal clashes erupted during a Ram Navami procession. Mishra issued a warning, saying, “Jis ghar se pathar aaye hain, us ghar ko hi patharon kaa dher banaenge (We will turn the houses from where the stones were pelted to a heap of rubble).” Mishra squarely blamed Muslims for the attack and attempted to justify the retaliatory demolitions that took place without following due process of the law.

In Assam, shortly after coming to power, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma authorized a series of demolition drives starting July 2021, to clear land “occupied by encroachers” so that it may be given to indigenous youth for farming and fishing. Two such drives took place in Dhalpur in Darrang district, a region that is home to hundreds of families who migrated here from other flood-prone regions of Assam. The eastern Indian state has been facing river erosion for decades, and often entire villages are washed away when the mighty Brahmaputra either overflows or changes course during the monsoon. Their homes and agricultural lands submerged, these people had no other option to move to safer regions within the state. In fact, most of the families evicted during the drives in August and September had been living there for 40-50 years.

Related:

Bulldozer Injustice: Homes of alleged June 10 protesters to be demolished in UP?
Evolution of Bulldozer Injustice
Jahangirpuri Demolition: SC to take “serious view of demolitions after Mayor was informed of order”
Madhya Pradesh’s Home Minister blames Muslims for Ram Navami day violence, justifies mass demolitions
Lives in the Rubble at Kathputli Colony
NOIDA Shanties where Zohrabi Lived Pulled Down, Amidst Heavy Rain
Has Bombay healed?

Bulldozer is a divisive image: Organisers apologise for its inclusion at India Day celebrations in New Jersey

Indian American and Muslim residents had found the inclusion of a bulldozer distasteful and even hateful

Indian Business Association
Image Courtesy:middleeasteye.net

On August 30, 2022, the Indian Business Association, a New Jersey based group that had organized an India Day celebration, offered a written apology to the mayors of Edison and Woodbridge, for including a bulldozer in the India Day Parade. The shocking inclusion of a yellow bullodozer with the image of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on a poster saying “Baba ka Bulldozer” had sent ripples among the local Indian American community as well as the huge community of Muslims of South Asian descent who live in this area.

In the letter addressed to Mayor Sam Joshi of Edison, and Mayor John E. McCormac of Woodbridge, the IBA offered “sincere apologies” for certain aspects of the parade that not only reflected poorly on the organization, but more importantly, “offended Indian American minority groups, especially Muslims”.

IBA president Chandrakant Patel, accepted that the parade should have been about celebrating Indian heritage and diversity, but, “Unfortunately there was a bulldozer among the floats in the parade, which is a divisive image that did not reflect our mission. It was seen quite negatively by many who are deeply impacted and insulted by certain activities that have been happening in India.”

The entire letter may be read here: 

Bull Dozer

Readers would recall that bulldozers have been pressed into service to demolish homes of protesters, dissenters and suspected rioters in at least three Indian states – the Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh, as well as Madhya Pradesh and Assam. They were also used to demolish the huts of alleged rioters in Jahangirpuri in New Delhi.

The ancestral home of Parveen Fatima, the wife of activist Javed Mohammed who was accused of masterminding the violence June 10 protests against Nupur Sharma’s Islamophobic and offensive words about Prophet Mohammed, was demolished by the Prayagraj Development Authority (PDA).

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra had justified the demolition of 16 houses and 29 shops in five areas across Khargone, just a day after communal clashes erupted during a Ram Navami procession. Mishra issued a warning, saying, “Jis ghar se pathar aaye hain, us ghar ko hi patharon kaa dher banaenge (We will turn the houses from where the stones were pelted to a heap of rubble).” Mishra squarely blamed Muslims for the attack and attempted to justify the retaliatory demolitions that took place without following due process of the law.

In Assam, shortly after coming to power, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma authorized a series of demolition drives starting July 2021, to clear land “occupied by encroachers” so that it may be given to indigenous youth for farming and fishing. Two such drives took place in Dhalpur in Darrang district, a region that is home to hundreds of families who migrated here from other flood-prone regions of Assam. The eastern Indian state has been facing river erosion for decades, and often entire villages are washed away when the mighty Brahmaputra either overflows or changes course during the monsoon. Their homes and agricultural lands submerged, these people had no other option to move to safer regions within the state. In fact, most of the families evicted during the drives in August and September had been living there for 40-50 years.

Related:

Bulldozer Injustice: Homes of alleged June 10 protesters to be demolished in UP?
Evolution of Bulldozer Injustice
Jahangirpuri Demolition: SC to take “serious view of demolitions after Mayor was informed of order”
Madhya Pradesh’s Home Minister blames Muslims for Ram Navami day violence, justifies mass demolitions
Lives in the Rubble at Kathputli Colony
NOIDA Shanties where Zohrabi Lived Pulled Down, Amidst Heavy Rain
Has Bombay healed?

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Visionary Gorbachev’s noble ideas failed because he ignored the deceit, duplicity and dangers of imperialism

History will remember the great distance between what he sought and what he achieved, and we must learn from this

01 Sep 2022

Mikhail Gorbachev
Image Courtesy: countercurrents.org

Mikhail Gorbachev set out to reform the Soviet Union and make the entire world a less dangerous place to live in. If he had succeeded, the mad race for weapons of mass destruction would have not only slowed down but, assuming the best possible outcome, there was a real chance of their elimination or the elimination process at least starting. Much better relations of the Soviet Union with the US-led western nations would have been established and the world would have come out of the danger of being divided in two power blocks. The Soviet Union would have got rid of much of its political and economic rigidities, paving the way for more democracy and economic progress.

Ultimately most of this could not be realized, but it was not for lack of sincerity or genuine effort. Anyone who gave top priority to phasing out nuclear weapons and an agenda of disarmament and peace, who also initially made important breakthroughs must be well regarded by history for these aspects at least. The fact that he rose very rapidly within the Soviet Union is evidence as much of his real talents, as it is of the fact that much of what he said appealed to the Soviet people, who realised the need for the openness and restructuring he called for.

Yet the processes started by him actually had very different impacts than what he intended. Within about a decade it was clear that the USSR had dismembered, the condition of the people of Russia had declined rapidly, those who had broken away were not much better off either, hardly any flowering of democracy was visible. There was widespread confusion and low morale, the road ahead was far from clear and above all, powerful interests had started plundering the country and its public assets like never before. At world level, the hold of imperialism had strengthened and it could now be much more arrogant and violent, as seen all too soon in Iraq and then other places. The problems of various countries who had been friends of the Soviet Union increased greatly, at least temporarily.

Gorbachev had seen the emerging serious problem of his own system, and realised that these were only going to become more serious without openness, democracy and restructuring. He was right. But to find the support for this he placed too much hope in the capitalist western countries. If he had looked for hope and answers in the genuine alternative movements, in ecological and peace movements, in other social movements which advocated justice and equality while at the same time rejecting consumerism, then he would have helped in truly giving his people a new future of hope. But he placed too much faith in the friendship and support of those forces of imperialism and capitalism which were basically interested in dismemberment of his country to be followed by its plunder and integration in an exploitative system of global capitalism at a lower level. In his eagerness to get the goodwill of these forces he failed to utilize the bargaining strengths available to him to get written guarantees for the safety, integrity and welfare of his own country and thereby he failed, despite having good and noble intentions, to adequately protect the interests of his own people who had elected him to their highest position with a lot of hope and trust.

The right way would have been for him to first have a few more years of very extensive, free debate among his own people on the path ahead and reforms needed. Thus, after a lot of internal strengthening and consensus building, he could have gone to western world for wider changes and co-operation at that level. However, he tried to push too many things at the same time. He thought that his internal position would be strengthened by the welcome he got from western leaders, forgetting that several of these leaders only wanted to use him for advancing their own narrow objective of weakening and then plundering his country and above all of creating a unipolar world dominated by them. Towards that end they were only too willing to flatter Gorbachev and shower their praise and awards on him.

It soon became amply clear that the changes unleashed by the dismemberment of the USSR had created a world with a larger and more powerful, unrestrained, unencumbered presence of the forces of imperialism. Unintentionally Gorbachev, despite being a visionary and having many noble ideas, had contributed to creating a worse and more dangerous world than the one that he set out to reform. The single most important reason for this failure was that Gorbachev was unable to realize the extent of the deceit, duplicity and dangers of the forces of imperialism. History will remember the great distance between what he sought and what he actually achieved, and we must learn from this.

*Views expressed are the author’s own. The writer is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now.

Other articles by Bharat Dogra:

A Time to Defend Democracy in India
Corporate tax cuts: Revenue lost could have funded important welfare projects
Himachal Pradesh: Apple growers continue protest over adverse impact of Big Business
80th Anniversary of Quit India Movement
Why the Struggle of Dhinkia Deserves Wide Support

Visionary Gorbachev’s noble ideas failed because he ignored the deceit, duplicity and dangers of imperialism

History will remember the great distance between what he sought and what he achieved, and we must learn from this

Mikhail Gorbachev
Image Courtesy: countercurrents.org

Mikhail Gorbachev set out to reform the Soviet Union and make the entire world a less dangerous place to live in. If he had succeeded, the mad race for weapons of mass destruction would have not only slowed down but, assuming the best possible outcome, there was a real chance of their elimination or the elimination process at least starting. Much better relations of the Soviet Union with the US-led western nations would have been established and the world would have come out of the danger of being divided in two power blocks. The Soviet Union would have got rid of much of its political and economic rigidities, paving the way for more democracy and economic progress.

Ultimately most of this could not be realized, but it was not for lack of sincerity or genuine effort. Anyone who gave top priority to phasing out nuclear weapons and an agenda of disarmament and peace, who also initially made important breakthroughs must be well regarded by history for these aspects at least. The fact that he rose very rapidly within the Soviet Union is evidence as much of his real talents, as it is of the fact that much of what he said appealed to the Soviet people, who realised the need for the openness and restructuring he called for.

Yet the processes started by him actually had very different impacts than what he intended. Within about a decade it was clear that the USSR had dismembered, the condition of the people of Russia had declined rapidly, those who had broken away were not much better off either, hardly any flowering of democracy was visible. There was widespread confusion and low morale, the road ahead was far from clear and above all, powerful interests had started plundering the country and its public assets like never before. At world level, the hold of imperialism had strengthened and it could now be much more arrogant and violent, as seen all too soon in Iraq and then other places. The problems of various countries who had been friends of the Soviet Union increased greatly, at least temporarily.

Gorbachev had seen the emerging serious problem of his own system, and realised that these were only going to become more serious without openness, democracy and restructuring. He was right. But to find the support for this he placed too much hope in the capitalist western countries. If he had looked for hope and answers in the genuine alternative movements, in ecological and peace movements, in other social movements which advocated justice and equality while at the same time rejecting consumerism, then he would have helped in truly giving his people a new future of hope. But he placed too much faith in the friendship and support of those forces of imperialism and capitalism which were basically interested in dismemberment of his country to be followed by its plunder and integration in an exploitative system of global capitalism at a lower level. In his eagerness to get the goodwill of these forces he failed to utilize the bargaining strengths available to him to get written guarantees for the safety, integrity and welfare of his own country and thereby he failed, despite having good and noble intentions, to adequately protect the interests of his own people who had elected him to their highest position with a lot of hope and trust.

The right way would have been for him to first have a few more years of very extensive, free debate among his own people on the path ahead and reforms needed. Thus, after a lot of internal strengthening and consensus building, he could have gone to western world for wider changes and co-operation at that level. However, he tried to push too many things at the same time. He thought that his internal position would be strengthened by the welcome he got from western leaders, forgetting that several of these leaders only wanted to use him for advancing their own narrow objective of weakening and then plundering his country and above all of creating a unipolar world dominated by them. Towards that end they were only too willing to flatter Gorbachev and shower their praise and awards on him.

It soon became amply clear that the changes unleashed by the dismemberment of the USSR had created a world with a larger and more powerful, unrestrained, unencumbered presence of the forces of imperialism. Unintentionally Gorbachev, despite being a visionary and having many noble ideas, had contributed to creating a worse and more dangerous world than the one that he set out to reform. The single most important reason for this failure was that Gorbachev was unable to realize the extent of the deceit, duplicity and dangers of the forces of imperialism. History will remember the great distance between what he sought and what he actually achieved, and we must learn from this.

*Views expressed are the author’s own. The writer is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now.

Other articles by Bharat Dogra:

A Time to Defend Democracy in India
Corporate tax cuts: Revenue lost could have funded important welfare projects
Himachal Pradesh: Apple growers continue protest over adverse impact of Big Business
80th Anniversary of Quit India Movement
Why the Struggle of Dhinkia Deserves Wide Support

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Faced with a rise of extremism within its ranks, the US military has clamped down on racist speech, including retweets and likes

29 Aug 2022
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks at a news briefing at the Pentagon on July 20, 2022. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images


Less than a month after the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin took the extraordinary step of pausing all operations for 24 hours to “address extremism in the ranks.” Pentagon officials had been shaken by service members’ prominent role in the events of Jan. 6.

Of the 884 criminal defendants charged to date with taking part in the insurrection, more than 80 were veterans. That’s almost 10% of those charged.

More remarkable, at least five of the rioters were serving in the military at the time of the assault: an active-duty Marine officer and four reservists.

Service members’ involvement in the insurrection has made the spread of extremism – particularly white nationalism – a significant issue for the U.S. military.


Solving the problem

A blue ribbon committee called the Countering Extremist Activity Working Group was quickly commissioned in April 2021 to evaluate the extent of the problem.

The group found about 100 substantiated cases of extremism in the U.S. armed forces in 2021.

The latest instance occurred in July 2022, when Francis Harker, a National Guard member with white supremacist connections, was sentenced to four years in prison for planning an anti-government attack on police. Harker, who carried a picture saying “there is no God but Hitler,” was planning to attack police officers in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with Molotov cocktails and semi-automatic rifles.

Worried, Austin has tightened the rules regarding political speech within the military. The new rules prohibit any statement that advocates for “violence to achieve goals that are political … or idealogical in nature.” The ban applies to members of the military both on and off duty.

Also, for the first time, the new rules prohibit statements on social media that “promote or otherwise endorse extremist activities.”

While the intent behind the new rules is laudable, political speech – even of an offensive or distasteful nature – goes to the core of U.S. democracy. Americans in uniform are still Americans, protected by the First Amendment and afforded the constitutional right of free speech.

In light of the stricter policy, it is useful to consider how courts apply the First Amendment in the military context.


Good order and discipline

While soldiers and sailors are certainly not excluded from the protection of the First Amendment, it is fair to say they operate under a diluted version of it.

As one federal judge observed, the “sweep of the protection is less comprehensive in the military context, given the different character of the military community and mission.”

The “right to speak out as a free American” must be balanced against “providing an effective fighting force for the defense of our Country,” a federal judge noted in a separate case.

These and other federal judges point to the military’s need for good order and discipline in justifying this approach.

While never precisely defined, good order and discipline is generally considered being obedient to orders, having respect for one’s chain of command and showing allegiance to the Constitution. Speech that “prevents the orderly accomplishment of the mission” or “promotes disloyalty and dissatisfaction” within the ranks harms good order and discipline, and can be restricted.

In 1974, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that the Army can punish an officer for encouraging subordinates to refuse to deploy.

The officer’s comments included: “The United States is wrong in being involved in the Vietnam War. I would refuse to go back to Vietnam if ordered to do so.”

In 1980, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Army could legally fire an ROTC cadet for making racist remarks during a newspaper interview.

Explaining his political philosophy, the cadet said: “What I am saying is that Blacks are obviously further behind the whites on the evolutionary scale.”

In 2012, a San Diego district court ruled that the Marine Corps can lawfully discharge a sergeant who mocked president Barack Obama while appearing on the “Chris Matthews Show.” At one point the sergeant told the host: “As an active duty Marine, I say screw Obama and I will not follow his orders.”

While each of these statements is protected by the First Amendment in civilian life, they crossed the line in military life because they were deemed harmful to morale and represented what one federal court described as more than “political discussion … at an enlisted or officers’ club.”


The military’s job is to fight, not debate

In deciding these First Amendment cases, courts often hark back to why the military exists in the first place.

“It is the primary business of armies and navies … to fight the nation’s wars should the occasion arise,” the Supreme Court said in 1955.

In a separate case, the Supreme Court declared: “An army is not a deliberate body. It is the executive arm. Its law is that of obedience.”

Dozens of soldiers dressed in uniforms form a square and stand at attention.
U.S. soldiers stand to attention at the United States Army military training base in Germany on July 13, 2022. Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

Quickly following orders can mark the difference between life and death in combat.

On a national level, the degree to which an army is disciplined can win or lose wars. A mindset of obedience does not come solely from classroom training but from repeated rehearsals under realistic conditions.

As a military judge observed in a 1972 decision, while service members are free to discuss political issues when off duty, the “primary function of a military organization is to execute orders, not to debate the wisdom of decisions that the Constitution entrusts” to Congress, the judiciary and the commander in chief.


New policy bans ‘liking’ extremist messages

The U.S. military’s revised approach to political speech prohibits retweeting or even “liking” messages that promote anti-government or white nationalist and other extremist groups.

Does a restriction this broad comply with legal precedent?

As a law professor who has served more than 20 years in the U.S military, I believe the broader rules will probably be upheld if challenged on First Amendment grounds.

The most comparable case is Blameuser v. Andrews, a 1980 case from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals where an ROTC cadet espoused white supremacist political views in a newspaper interview.

Amongst other extremist remarks, the cadet told the reporter: “You see, I believe that in the final analysis, the Nazi Socialist Party will take over America and possibly the whole world.”

Finding that the statements harmed good order and discipline, the Seventh Circuit ruled that the Army did not violate the First Amendment when it subsequently removed him from the officer training program.

The cadet’s “views on race relations draw into question his ability to obey commands, especially in a situation in which he regards the military superior as socially inferior,” the Blameuser decision said.

The military has wide latitude in deciding who is deserving of the “special trust and confidence” that comes with military employment. Military officials are free to consider political and social beliefs that are “inimical to the vital mission of the agency” in making hiring and firing decisions, the Blameuser decision said.

Social media posts expressing support for violent political activities will likely be treated in the same way.

As the Seventh Circuit said in Blameuser, by liking or retweeting an extremist message, a service member’s actions are “demonstrably incompatible with the important public office” they hold.The Conversation


Dwight Stirling, Lecturer in Law, University of Southern California

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Faced with a rise of extremism within its ranks, the US military has clamped down on racist speech, including retweets and likes

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks at a news briefing at the Pentagon on July 20, 2022. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images


Less than a month after the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin took the extraordinary step of pausing all operations for 24 hours to “address extremism in the ranks.” Pentagon officials had been shaken by service members’ prominent role in the events of Jan. 6.

Of the 884 criminal defendants charged to date with taking part in the insurrection, more than 80 were veterans. That’s almost 10% of those charged.

More remarkable, at least five of the rioters were serving in the military at the time of the assault: an active-duty Marine officer and four reservists.

Service members’ involvement in the insurrection has made the spread of extremism – particularly white nationalism – a significant issue for the U.S. military.


Solving the problem

A blue ribbon committee called the Countering Extremist Activity Working Group was quickly commissioned in April 2021 to evaluate the extent of the problem.

The group found about 100 substantiated cases of extremism in the U.S. armed forces in 2021.

The latest instance occurred in July 2022, when Francis Harker, a National Guard member with white supremacist connections, was sentenced to four years in prison for planning an anti-government attack on police. Harker, who carried a picture saying “there is no God but Hitler,” was planning to attack police officers in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with Molotov cocktails and semi-automatic rifles.

Worried, Austin has tightened the rules regarding political speech within the military. The new rules prohibit any statement that advocates for “violence to achieve goals that are political … or idealogical in nature.” The ban applies to members of the military both on and off duty.

Also, for the first time, the new rules prohibit statements on social media that “promote or otherwise endorse extremist activities.”

While the intent behind the new rules is laudable, political speech – even of an offensive or distasteful nature – goes to the core of U.S. democracy. Americans in uniform are still Americans, protected by the First Amendment and afforded the constitutional right of free speech.

In light of the stricter policy, it is useful to consider how courts apply the First Amendment in the military context.


Good order and discipline

While soldiers and sailors are certainly not excluded from the protection of the First Amendment, it is fair to say they operate under a diluted version of it.

As one federal judge observed, the “sweep of the protection is less comprehensive in the military context, given the different character of the military community and mission.”

The “right to speak out as a free American” must be balanced against “providing an effective fighting force for the defense of our Country,” a federal judge noted in a separate case.

These and other federal judges point to the military’s need for good order and discipline in justifying this approach.

While never precisely defined, good order and discipline is generally considered being obedient to orders, having respect for one’s chain of command and showing allegiance to the Constitution. Speech that “prevents the orderly accomplishment of the mission” or “promotes disloyalty and dissatisfaction” within the ranks harms good order and discipline, and can be restricted.

In 1974, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that the Army can punish an officer for encouraging subordinates to refuse to deploy.

The officer’s comments included: “The United States is wrong in being involved in the Vietnam War. I would refuse to go back to Vietnam if ordered to do so.”

In 1980, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Army could legally fire an ROTC cadet for making racist remarks during a newspaper interview.

Explaining his political philosophy, the cadet said: “What I am saying is that Blacks are obviously further behind the whites on the evolutionary scale.”

In 2012, a San Diego district court ruled that the Marine Corps can lawfully discharge a sergeant who mocked president Barack Obama while appearing on the “Chris Matthews Show.” At one point the sergeant told the host: “As an active duty Marine, I say screw Obama and I will not follow his orders.”

While each of these statements is protected by the First Amendment in civilian life, they crossed the line in military life because they were deemed harmful to morale and represented what one federal court described as more than “political discussion … at an enlisted or officers’ club.”


The military’s job is to fight, not debate

In deciding these First Amendment cases, courts often hark back to why the military exists in the first place.

“It is the primary business of armies and navies … to fight the nation’s wars should the occasion arise,” the Supreme Court said in 1955.

In a separate case, the Supreme Court declared: “An army is not a deliberate body. It is the executive arm. Its law is that of obedience.”

Dozens of soldiers dressed in uniforms form a square and stand at attention.
U.S. soldiers stand to attention at the United States Army military training base in Germany on July 13, 2022. Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images

Quickly following orders can mark the difference between life and death in combat.

On a national level, the degree to which an army is disciplined can win or lose wars. A mindset of obedience does not come solely from classroom training but from repeated rehearsals under realistic conditions.

As a military judge observed in a 1972 decision, while service members are free to discuss political issues when off duty, the “primary function of a military organization is to execute orders, not to debate the wisdom of decisions that the Constitution entrusts” to Congress, the judiciary and the commander in chief.


New policy bans ‘liking’ extremist messages

The U.S. military’s revised approach to political speech prohibits retweeting or even “liking” messages that promote anti-government or white nationalist and other extremist groups.

Does a restriction this broad comply with legal precedent?

As a law professor who has served more than 20 years in the U.S military, I believe the broader rules will probably be upheld if challenged on First Amendment grounds.

The most comparable case is Blameuser v. Andrews, a 1980 case from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals where an ROTC cadet espoused white supremacist political views in a newspaper interview.

Amongst other extremist remarks, the cadet told the reporter: “You see, I believe that in the final analysis, the Nazi Socialist Party will take over America and possibly the whole world.”

Finding that the statements harmed good order and discipline, the Seventh Circuit ruled that the Army did not violate the First Amendment when it subsequently removed him from the officer training program.

The cadet’s “views on race relations draw into question his ability to obey commands, especially in a situation in which he regards the military superior as socially inferior,” the Blameuser decision said.

The military has wide latitude in deciding who is deserving of the “special trust and confidence” that comes with military employment. Military officials are free to consider political and social beliefs that are “inimical to the vital mission of the agency” in making hiring and firing decisions, the Blameuser decision said.

Social media posts expressing support for violent political activities will likely be treated in the same way.

As the Seventh Circuit said in Blameuser, by liking or retweeting an extremist message, a service member’s actions are “demonstrably incompatible with the important public office” they hold.The Conversation


Dwight Stirling, Lecturer in Law, University of Southern California

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Journalist Union Slams US Journalist Angad Singh’s Deportation as ‘Vendetta’

Singh’s family has alleged that he was deported because of the documentaries on the Shaheen Bagh protest and videos on the Delta wave he produced for VICE News.

27 Aug 2022

Angad Singh
Journalist Angad Singh.Image Courtesy: Twitter/@Angadgsingh
 

New Delhi: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has strongly condemned the deportation of Emmy-nominated India-origin American journalist Angad Singh back to New York within three hours of his flight landing at Delhi’s IGI Airport on Wednesday night as government “vendetta and harassment”.

Terming the “gravely disturbing” episode as part of the “ongoing trend of government authorities harassing and intimidating journalists”, IJU president and former Press Council of India member Geetartha Pathak and secretary general and International Federation of Journalists vice-president Sabina Inderjit said in a statement on Friday: “The action of the Union home ministry smacks of vendetta and harassment."

Singh, employed with VICE News, has made several documentaries on the 2020 Shaheen Bagh protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and published a video on the 2021 Delta wave that won him the Emmy nomination recently. His family alleged that Singh was recently denied a visa he needed to make a documentary film about Dalits in the country.

“It is his award-winning journalism that scares them. It is the stories he did and the stories he is capable of. It is the love for his Motherland that they can’t stand. It is the cutting edge reporting of #ViceNews that gets to them,” Singh’s mother Gurmeet Kaur posted on Facebook on Wednesday.

Demanding reasons from the ministry for the “ad hoc deportation, which is “unacceptable in any free society”, the IJU said that Singh, who is with VICE News, was “only doing his job and should have been allowed to visit his family as it was a personal visit”.

Linking the incident with the “ongoing trend of government authorities harassing and intimidating journalists,” the IJU said: “Recently, two Kashmiri journalists Aakash Hassan and Sanna Matoo were prevented at the IGI Airport from flying to Sri Lanka and Paris, respectively, due to their work. In both cases, no reason was given and exceptions are becoming a rule!” 

Singh’s family members in Punjab told The Indian Express that authorities didn’t provide any reason for his deportation. He had come to India for a family reunion, they claimed. Immigration officials are yet to respond to questions asked by the newspaper.

The US Embassy spokesperson told The Hindu that he was unable to comment “due to privacy concerns” regarding US citizens.

Mentioning how Singh’s back hurts during long flights, Kaur posted on Facebook: “He is 6’5” tall. His back hurts from riding long rides in such small spaces. He must be wanting to lay down.”

Explaining how one has to pay a price for speaking truth, Singh mother posted: “It’s not easy to be a Sikh, a Gursikh on top, a journalist, a warrior of truth and justice. Speaking truth has a price. We must pay it. I am comforting your back. See you in the land of free. Ps: So which story do you think pissed them off?”

Singh had shared several VICE videos exposing flaws in India’s COVID-19 response—from overwhelmed crematoriums to the oxygen shortage during the Delta wave.

On July 28, Singh tweeted that VICE’s coverage of the Delta wave had been nominated for an Emmy: “Emmy nominated for our coverage on India’s deadly delta wave. What a recognition to more than a dozen brave, and talented reporters, producers, camera ops, editors and assistants that made our reporting possible.

Singh also produced a video on the country’s farm distress earlier his year. “India’s farming is on the brink of collapse,” he tweeted in February.

 


Courtesy: Newsclick

Journalist Union Slams US Journalist Angad Singh’s Deportation as ‘Vendetta’

Singh’s family has alleged that he was deported because of the documentaries on the Shaheen Bagh protest and videos on the Delta wave he produced for VICE News.

Angad Singh
Journalist Angad Singh.Image Courtesy: Twitter/@Angadgsingh
 

New Delhi: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has strongly condemned the deportation of Emmy-nominated India-origin American journalist Angad Singh back to New York within three hours of his flight landing at Delhi’s IGI Airport on Wednesday night as government “vendetta and harassment”.

Terming the “gravely disturbing” episode as part of the “ongoing trend of government authorities harassing and intimidating journalists”, IJU president and former Press Council of India member Geetartha Pathak and secretary general and International Federation of Journalists vice-president Sabina Inderjit said in a statement on Friday: “The action of the Union home ministry smacks of vendetta and harassment."

Singh, employed with VICE News, has made several documentaries on the 2020 Shaheen Bagh protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and published a video on the 2021 Delta wave that won him the Emmy nomination recently. His family alleged that Singh was recently denied a visa he needed to make a documentary film about Dalits in the country.

“It is his award-winning journalism that scares them. It is the stories he did and the stories he is capable of. It is the love for his Motherland that they can’t stand. It is the cutting edge reporting of #ViceNews that gets to them,” Singh’s mother Gurmeet Kaur posted on Facebook on Wednesday.

Demanding reasons from the ministry for the “ad hoc deportation, which is “unacceptable in any free society”, the IJU said that Singh, who is with VICE News, was “only doing his job and should have been allowed to visit his family as it was a personal visit”.

Linking the incident with the “ongoing trend of government authorities harassing and intimidating journalists,” the IJU said: “Recently, two Kashmiri journalists Aakash Hassan and Sanna Matoo were prevented at the IGI Airport from flying to Sri Lanka and Paris, respectively, due to their work. In both cases, no reason was given and exceptions are becoming a rule!” 

Singh’s family members in Punjab told The Indian Express that authorities didn’t provide any reason for his deportation. He had come to India for a family reunion, they claimed. Immigration officials are yet to respond to questions asked by the newspaper.

The US Embassy spokesperson told The Hindu that he was unable to comment “due to privacy concerns” regarding US citizens.

Mentioning how Singh’s back hurts during long flights, Kaur posted on Facebook: “He is 6’5” tall. His back hurts from riding long rides in such small spaces. He must be wanting to lay down.”

Explaining how one has to pay a price for speaking truth, Singh mother posted: “It’s not easy to be a Sikh, a Gursikh on top, a journalist, a warrior of truth and justice. Speaking truth has a price. We must pay it. I am comforting your back. See you in the land of free. Ps: So which story do you think pissed them off?”

Singh had shared several VICE videos exposing flaws in India’s COVID-19 response—from overwhelmed crematoriums to the oxygen shortage during the Delta wave.

On July 28, Singh tweeted that VICE’s coverage of the Delta wave had been nominated for an Emmy: “Emmy nominated for our coverage on India’s deadly delta wave. What a recognition to more than a dozen brave, and talented reporters, producers, camera ops, editors and assistants that made our reporting possible.

Singh also produced a video on the country’s farm distress earlier his year. “India’s farming is on the brink of collapse,” he tweeted in February.

 


Courtesy: Newsclick

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Malayalam writers, artists condemn the attack on Salman Rushdie

23 Aug 2022

Salman Rushdie

We, the undersigned, are deeply saddened and shocked by the brutal attempt to assassinate acclaimed writer Salman Rushdie, during a literary event in Chautauqua, western New York. We strongly condemn this heinous act and express our solidarity with the writer.

Salman Rushdie has been under the shadow of death threats for decades for what he once wrote. The call to kill him was, by itself, a condemnable move against freedom of expression. The fact that Rushdie was spending many years of his life in hiding, unable to experience even the simple comforts of life, yet was active in writing, reveals his passion for creativity. The present incident was intended to completely silence the writer, and to punish him for what he wrote. This despicable act, we see, as a great crisis faced by creative pursuits in recent times.

The attack on Salman Rushdie, who is a man of peace, and dealing only in words, is yet another example of the violent intolerance of dissent that is dangerously gaining momentum. We think, it is the need of the hour for writers, artists, art-lovers and readers to protest against this dastardly act and its dangerous implications.

Wishing Salman Rushdie a speedy recovery and a quick return to writing.

  1 M.T. Vasudevan Nair 41 Madhupal  
  2 Adoor Gopalakrishnan 42 C.S. Chandrika  
  3 T.J.S. George 43 Unni R.  
  4 K. Satchidanandan 44 P.F. Mathews  
  5 Anand 45 Venkitesh Ramakrishnan  
  6 Sashi Kumar 46 S. Gopalakrishnan  
  7 Zacharia 47 Gracy  
  8 N.S. Madhavan 48 K.C. Narayanan  
  9 KGS 49 Sunil Ashokapuram  
  10 M. Mukundan 50 Abdul Kalam Azad  
  11 K.P. Kumaran 51 Ambikasuthan Mangad  
  12 T.V. Chandran 52 J. Raghu  
  13 M.N. Karasseri 53 O. P. Suresh  
  14 M.A. Baby 54 Pramod Raman  
  15 Khadeeja Mumtaz 55 Paul Kallanode  
  16 Balan Nambiar 56 K.S. Venkatachalam  
  17 Sadanand Menon 57 Chelavoor Venu  
  18 Sara Joseph 58 Mangad Ratnakaran  
  19 Rafiq Ahmed 59 N.K. Ravindran  
  20 C.P. Aboobacker 60 K. Rekha  
  21 Shaji N. Karun 61 Jolly Chirayath  
  22 Sunil P. Elayidom 62 Echmukutty  
  23 Asokan Charuvil 63 C.S. Venkiteswaran  
  24 K.P. Mohanan 64 A.K. Jayashree  
  25 Anwar Ali 65 Murali Kannampilly  
  26 P.T. Kunjumohammed 66 Murali Nagapuzha  
  27 E.P. Unni 67 Shylaja Natak  
  28 Subhash Chandran 68 Ashraf Padanna  
  29 Boney Thomas 69 Dr. I. Rajan  
  30 Rose Mary 70 V.K. Joseph  
  31 Shahina K. Rafiq 71 Sister Jesme  
  32 Neelan 72 Prakash Bare  
  33 Bose Krishnamachari 73 Koya Mohammed  
  34 Riyas Komu 74 Chandrika Ravindran  
  35 S. Harish 75 E.M. Radha  
  36 Benyamin 76 Jayan Pakaravur  
  37 E. Santosh Kumar 77 Tathagathan  
  38 Kamal 78 C.R. Rajeev  
  39 Joy Mathew 79 N. Rajan  
  40 O.K. Johnny 80 M.P. Surendran  

Statement issued by the Chinta Ravindran Foundation.

Malayalam writers, artists condemn the attack on Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie

We, the undersigned, are deeply saddened and shocked by the brutal attempt to assassinate acclaimed writer Salman Rushdie, during a literary event in Chautauqua, western New York. We strongly condemn this heinous act and express our solidarity with the writer.

Salman Rushdie has been under the shadow of death threats for decades for what he once wrote. The call to kill him was, by itself, a condemnable move against freedom of expression. The fact that Rushdie was spending many years of his life in hiding, unable to experience even the simple comforts of life, yet was active in writing, reveals his passion for creativity. The present incident was intended to completely silence the writer, and to punish him for what he wrote. This despicable act, we see, as a great crisis faced by creative pursuits in recent times.

The attack on Salman Rushdie, who is a man of peace, and dealing only in words, is yet another example of the violent intolerance of dissent that is dangerously gaining momentum. We think, it is the need of the hour for writers, artists, art-lovers and readers to protest against this dastardly act and its dangerous implications.

Wishing Salman Rushdie a speedy recovery and a quick return to writing.

  1 M.T. Vasudevan Nair 41 Madhupal  
  2 Adoor Gopalakrishnan 42 C.S. Chandrika  
  3 T.J.S. George 43 Unni R.  
  4 K. Satchidanandan 44 P.F. Mathews  
  5 Anand 45 Venkitesh Ramakrishnan  
  6 Sashi Kumar 46 S. Gopalakrishnan  
  7 Zacharia 47 Gracy  
  8 N.S. Madhavan 48 K.C. Narayanan  
  9 KGS 49 Sunil Ashokapuram  
  10 M. Mukundan 50 Abdul Kalam Azad  
  11 K.P. Kumaran 51 Ambikasuthan Mangad  
  12 T.V. Chandran 52 J. Raghu  
  13 M.N. Karasseri 53 O. P. Suresh  
  14 M.A. Baby 54 Pramod Raman  
  15 Khadeeja Mumtaz 55 Paul Kallanode  
  16 Balan Nambiar 56 K.S. Venkatachalam  
  17 Sadanand Menon 57 Chelavoor Venu  
  18 Sara Joseph 58 Mangad Ratnakaran  
  19 Rafiq Ahmed 59 N.K. Ravindran  
  20 C.P. Aboobacker 60 K. Rekha  
  21 Shaji N. Karun 61 Jolly Chirayath  
  22 Sunil P. Elayidom 62 Echmukutty  
  23 Asokan Charuvil 63 C.S. Venkiteswaran  
  24 K.P. Mohanan 64 A.K. Jayashree  
  25 Anwar Ali 65 Murali Kannampilly  
  26 P.T. Kunjumohammed 66 Murali Nagapuzha  
  27 E.P. Unni 67 Shylaja Natak  
  28 Subhash Chandran 68 Ashraf Padanna  
  29 Boney Thomas 69 Dr. I. Rajan  
  30 Rose Mary 70 V.K. Joseph  
  31 Shahina K. Rafiq 71 Sister Jesme  
  32 Neelan 72 Prakash Bare  
  33 Bose Krishnamachari 73 Koya Mohammed  
  34 Riyas Komu 74 Chandrika Ravindran  
  35 S. Harish 75 E.M. Radha  
  36 Benyamin 76 Jayan Pakaravur  
  37 E. Santosh Kumar 77 Tathagathan  
  38 Kamal 78 C.R. Rajeev  
  39 Joy Mathew 79 N. Rajan  
  40 O.K. Johnny 80 M.P. Surendran  

Statement issued by the Chinta Ravindran Foundation.

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Sabrang

Progressive Muslims and leading members of Secular Civil Society condemn the dastardly attack on Salman Rushdie!

22 Aug 2022

Salman Rushdie

imsd

The IMSD condemns the murderous attack on Salman Rushdie in the strongest possible terms. There cannot be any doubt that the assault on the world-renowned writer is due to the Iranian fatwa in 1989 which pronounced that Rushdie should be killed for blaspheming against the prophet of Islam. Despite the apology tendered by Rushdie for ‘hurting the sentiments of Muslims’, the fatwa against him remained in force; the bounty on his head was doubled. In Islamic theology, an apostate can be forgiven if he apologizes but the blasphemer against the prophet is not to be given any such quarter; he has to be summarily executed. That a young Muslim man, Hadi Madar, who was not even born when Satanic Verses was published, willed to execute the fatwa, only goes on to prove the extraordinary sway of such a theology.

Any such attack is designed to create a regime of fear. Translators of Satanic Verses were killed, discussions on the book were violently repressed and bookstores were forced to take the novel off their shelves. The regime of fear made sure that very few stood with Salman Rushdie, except for those Islamophobes who delighted in telling the world that this thuggery was ‘real Islam’. Thirty-three years later, we hear the same loud silence from Muslim countries and organizations. None of the prominent Indian Muslim organizations have condemned this barbarous attack on a prominent writer. It is this silence that emboldens the Islamophobes to paint the religion as a creed of violence and terror.

The recent murder of Kanhaiya Lal for another case of Blasphemy by two Muslim fanatics, is another case in point of the intolerance within sections of the Indian Muslim community. Though all major Muslim organizations condemned the murder, but did do so under the pretext of a hate-crime, but refused to acknowledge the fact that it was a murder for blasphemy. Such is the blatant hypocrisy, which only serves to weaken and further isolate the Muslim community due to it's dual standards.

It is rather rich on the part of Muslim organizations that they only remember human rights when they are being attacked but do not extend the same rights and dignity to others, Muslims or not, who differ from them on matters of religion. This is plain hypocrisy which does not help the Muslim cause. Being a minority, Indian Muslims should be championing a rights-based discourse on the importance of free speech and dissent. It is unfortunate that despite living in a political democracy for 75 years, Muslim organizations today are demanding a national blasphemy law. Muslims do not need the Hindu right wing to argue that Islam and human rights are incompatible; they themselves have been advertising this position for long.

Satanic Verses was one of the first novels to inquire into the nature of Muslim immigration into Europe. And yet the irony is that Muslims burnt it to proclaim a politics of distinction and separateness. The IMSD firmly states that without free speech, freedom to read, write and dissent, we cannot uphold the freedoms enshrined in our constitution. And we believe that only by investing in these freedoms can we uphold the values of our republic. In this hour of grave crisis, we stand firmly with Salman Rushdie and wish him speedy recovery. We once again appeal to all Muslim organizations to rethink their position on blasphemy; a form of politics which is doing Muslims more harm than good.


Endorsed by:

1. Prof. Ram Puniyani, Author, Mumbai

2. Medha Patkar, NAPM, Mumbai

3. Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam, Delhi

4. Prof. Zeenat Shaukat Ali, Islamic Scholar, IMSD, Mumbai

5. Yogendra Yadav, Swaraj Abhiyaan, Delhi

6. Anand Patwardhan, Documentary Filmmaker

7. Dr. Sunilam, Farmer's Leader, Indore

8. Prof. Shamshul Islam, Delhi

9. Zakia Soman, BMMA, Ahmedabad

10. Irfan Engineer, CSSS, Mumbai

11. Anjum Rajabali, IMSD, Film Scriptwriter, Mumbai

12. Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Award, Lucknow

13. Justice Kolse Patil (Retd), Pune

14. Ghulam Rasool Delhvi, Classical Islamic Scholar, IMSD, Delhi

15. Adv. A J Jawwad, IMSD, Chennai

16. Amir Rizvi, Designer, IMSD, Mumbai

17. Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, Delhi

18. Bilal Khan, IMSD, Mumbai

19. Shabana Dean, IMSD, Mumbai

20. Ali Bhojani, IMSD, Mumbai

21. Sheeba Aslam Ferhi, Researcher, Delhi

22. Aziz Lokhandwala, IMSD, Mumbai

23. Salim Sabuwala, IMSD, Mumbai

24. Saleem Yusuf, IMSD, Mumbai

25. Askari Zaidi, IMSD, Mumbai

26. Masooma Ranalvi, IMSD, Mumbai

27. Muniza Khan, IMSD, Mumbai

28. Hasina Khan, Bebaak Collective, Mumbai

29. Taizoon Khorakiwala, IMSD, Mumbai

30. Akbar Sheikh, IMSD, Sangli

31. Muhammad Imran, USA

32. Sadique Basha, IMSD, Mumbai

33. Mansoor Sardar, Bhiwandi

34. Nuruddin Naik, IMSD, Mumbai

35. Kasim Saif, Chennai

36. Prof. Qamarjahan

37. Lata P. M., Researcher, Bahujan Feminist, Mumbai

38. Prof. Rooprekha Verma, Lucknow

39. Prof. Rakesh Rafique, Moradabad

40. Prof. Rajiv, Lucknow

41. Jagriti Rahi, Gandhian, Varanasi

42. Prof. Ajit Jha, Swaraj Abhiyan, Delhi

43. Geeta Sheshu, Journalist, Free Speech Collective, Mumbai

44. Thomas Matthew, Delhi

45. Adv. Arun Maji, Dalit Human Rights Defender, Kolkatta

46. Shekhar Sonalkar, Writer, Sholapur

47. Adv. Lara Jesani, IMSD, Mumbai

48. Putul, Sarvodaya, Varanasi

49. Varsha Vidya Vilas, Social Activist, Mumbai

50. Guddi S L, Social Activist, Mumbai

51. Jyoti Badekar, Social Activist, Mumbai

52. Ravi Bhilane, Ex-Editor, Journalist, Mumbai

53. Vishal Hiwale, Save Constitution Movement, Mumbai

54. Prof. Om Damani, Mumbai

55. Prof. Vasantha Raman

56. Prof. Dipak Malik

57. Prof. Cyrus Gonda

58. Yashodhan Paranjpe, IMSD, Mumbai

59. Shalini Dhawan, Designer, Mumbai

60. Neelima Sharma

 

Progressive Muslims and leading members of Secular Civil Society condemn the dastardly attack on Salman Rushdie!

Salman Rushdie

imsd

The IMSD condemns the murderous attack on Salman Rushdie in the strongest possible terms. There cannot be any doubt that the assault on the world-renowned writer is due to the Iranian fatwa in 1989 which pronounced that Rushdie should be killed for blaspheming against the prophet of Islam. Despite the apology tendered by Rushdie for ‘hurting the sentiments of Muslims’, the fatwa against him remained in force; the bounty on his head was doubled. In Islamic theology, an apostate can be forgiven if he apologizes but the blasphemer against the prophet is not to be given any such quarter; he has to be summarily executed. That a young Muslim man, Hadi Madar, who was not even born when Satanic Verses was published, willed to execute the fatwa, only goes on to prove the extraordinary sway of such a theology.

Any such attack is designed to create a regime of fear. Translators of Satanic Verses were killed, discussions on the book were violently repressed and bookstores were forced to take the novel off their shelves. The regime of fear made sure that very few stood with Salman Rushdie, except for those Islamophobes who delighted in telling the world that this thuggery was ‘real Islam’. Thirty-three years later, we hear the same loud silence from Muslim countries and organizations. None of the prominent Indian Muslim organizations have condemned this barbarous attack on a prominent writer. It is this silence that emboldens the Islamophobes to paint the religion as a creed of violence and terror.

The recent murder of Kanhaiya Lal for another case of Blasphemy by two Muslim fanatics, is another case in point of the intolerance within sections of the Indian Muslim community. Though all major Muslim organizations condemned the murder, but did do so under the pretext of a hate-crime, but refused to acknowledge the fact that it was a murder for blasphemy. Such is the blatant hypocrisy, which only serves to weaken and further isolate the Muslim community due to it's dual standards.

It is rather rich on the part of Muslim organizations that they only remember human rights when they are being attacked but do not extend the same rights and dignity to others, Muslims or not, who differ from them on matters of religion. This is plain hypocrisy which does not help the Muslim cause. Being a minority, Indian Muslims should be championing a rights-based discourse on the importance of free speech and dissent. It is unfortunate that despite living in a political democracy for 75 years, Muslim organizations today are demanding a national blasphemy law. Muslims do not need the Hindu right wing to argue that Islam and human rights are incompatible; they themselves have been advertising this position for long.

Satanic Verses was one of the first novels to inquire into the nature of Muslim immigration into Europe. And yet the irony is that Muslims burnt it to proclaim a politics of distinction and separateness. The IMSD firmly states that without free speech, freedom to read, write and dissent, we cannot uphold the freedoms enshrined in our constitution. And we believe that only by investing in these freedoms can we uphold the values of our republic. In this hour of grave crisis, we stand firmly with Salman Rushdie and wish him speedy recovery. We once again appeal to all Muslim organizations to rethink their position on blasphemy; a form of politics which is doing Muslims more harm than good.


Endorsed by:

1. Prof. Ram Puniyani, Author, Mumbai

2. Medha Patkar, NAPM, Mumbai

3. Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam, Delhi

4. Prof. Zeenat Shaukat Ali, Islamic Scholar, IMSD, Mumbai

5. Yogendra Yadav, Swaraj Abhiyaan, Delhi

6. Anand Patwardhan, Documentary Filmmaker

7. Dr. Sunilam, Farmer's Leader, Indore

8. Prof. Shamshul Islam, Delhi

9. Zakia Soman, BMMA, Ahmedabad

10. Irfan Engineer, CSSS, Mumbai

11. Anjum Rajabali, IMSD, Film Scriptwriter, Mumbai

12. Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Award, Lucknow

13. Justice Kolse Patil (Retd), Pune

14. Ghulam Rasool Delhvi, Classical Islamic Scholar, IMSD, Delhi

15. Adv. A J Jawwad, IMSD, Chennai

16. Amir Rizvi, Designer, IMSD, Mumbai

17. Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, Delhi

18. Bilal Khan, IMSD, Mumbai

19. Shabana Dean, IMSD, Mumbai

20. Ali Bhojani, IMSD, Mumbai

21. Sheeba Aslam Ferhi, Researcher, Delhi

22. Aziz Lokhandwala, IMSD, Mumbai

23. Salim Sabuwala, IMSD, Mumbai

24. Saleem Yusuf, IMSD, Mumbai

25. Askari Zaidi, IMSD, Mumbai

26. Masooma Ranalvi, IMSD, Mumbai

27. Muniza Khan, IMSD, Mumbai

28. Hasina Khan, Bebaak Collective, Mumbai

29. Taizoon Khorakiwala, IMSD, Mumbai

30. Akbar Sheikh, IMSD, Sangli

31. Muhammad Imran, USA

32. Sadique Basha, IMSD, Mumbai

33. Mansoor Sardar, Bhiwandi

34. Nuruddin Naik, IMSD, Mumbai

35. Kasim Saif, Chennai

36. Prof. Qamarjahan

37. Lata P. M., Researcher, Bahujan Feminist, Mumbai

38. Prof. Rooprekha Verma, Lucknow

39. Prof. Rakesh Rafique, Moradabad

40. Prof. Rajiv, Lucknow

41. Jagriti Rahi, Gandhian, Varanasi

42. Prof. Ajit Jha, Swaraj Abhiyan, Delhi

43. Geeta Sheshu, Journalist, Free Speech Collective, Mumbai

44. Thomas Matthew, Delhi

45. Adv. Arun Maji, Dalit Human Rights Defender, Kolkatta

46. Shekhar Sonalkar, Writer, Sholapur

47. Adv. Lara Jesani, IMSD, Mumbai

48. Putul, Sarvodaya, Varanasi

49. Varsha Vidya Vilas, Social Activist, Mumbai

50. Guddi S L, Social Activist, Mumbai

51. Jyoti Badekar, Social Activist, Mumbai

52. Ravi Bhilane, Ex-Editor, Journalist, Mumbai

53. Vishal Hiwale, Save Constitution Movement, Mumbai

54. Prof. Om Damani, Mumbai

55. Prof. Vasantha Raman

56. Prof. Dipak Malik

57. Prof. Cyrus Gonda

58. Yashodhan Paranjpe, IMSD, Mumbai

59. Shalini Dhawan, Designer, Mumbai

60. Neelima Sharma

 

Related Articles


Theme

Campaigns

Videos

Archives

IN FACT

Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcasts

Analysis

Archives

Podcasts

Subscribe to World