Iran,  The Left

Marg Bar Diktator: general strike In Iranian Kurdistan, silence In the West

Cross-posted from Terry Glavin

Iranian Kurds have launched one of their largest strikes in recent years, closing shops and bazaars in nearly all Sunni Kurdish cities and towns in eastern Iran to protest the execution of five people, including four Kurdish activists, on Sunday. Among the lynched was teachers’ union activist Farzad Kamangar.

Sunday’s executions brought the total for the weekend to 11. Six men convicted of drug smuggling were hanged on Saturday, but the executions are clearly intended to discourage people from rallying against the government on June 12, the anniversary of the “re-election” of the Khomeinist puppet Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

This morning we learn that the regime’s thugs have now arrested Ejlal Qavamai, spokesman for Kurdistan Human Rights Organization. His arrest appears to be connected with his interview with the media regarding the general strike.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, about 1,000 protesters demonstrated against the Tehran regime’s ill-treatment and execution of Afghan refugees. The protesters threw eggs on the gate of Tehran’s consulate in the eastern city of Jalalabad and burned an effigy of Iran’s clerical dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

And yet all is quiet on the western front. Barely a word about any of this in the mainstream press. No marches in the streets in solidarity with our Iranian sisters and brothers. Why?

“In the West, the Left sees only the Ahmadinejad propaganda — death to the U.S., death to imperialism. It claims it is anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, but the people in Iran know that this is baloney,” says Mehdi Kouhestaninejad, a senior officer with the Canadian Labour Congress. “We have to challenge our attitudes. We have to recognize that there is no connection between the Left in the West and the Left in Iran.”

We could start by exposing the regime’s apologists and the Khomeinist crackpots that have found such a welcoming roost for themselves in certain “anti-war” circles. We could also leave off with the inane “Hands Off Iran” and “Israel Apartheid Week” mumbo-jumbo and acknowledge how deep the rot has spread.

As Samira Mohyeddin’s bravely observes: “The United Nations have now enshrined my right to be stoned, they have enshrined my judicious right to be half a person; my right not to divorce or child custody, my right to no freedom of mobility, my right not to higher education after marriage without permission of my husband. The country that guarantees my subjugated role in society is now sitting on the women’s council of the United Nations.”

Talk like that will get you killed in Iran. Lynched, to be more specific, by the state. There are more than 130 offences punishable by the death penalty in Iran. They include “sex crimes” such as adultery and homosexuality, apostasy, heresy, blasphemy, having a civilized affection for alcoholic spirits, and possession of drugs.

The crime committed by teacher and trade unionist Farzad Kamangar? “Enmity against God.” After a trial that lasted a mere seven minutes, Kamangar languished in prison for nearly five years before he was hanged last Sunday. In his last letter from Evin prison, he wrote: “Is it possible to be a teacher and not show the way to the sea to the small fish? Is it possible to stare into the eyes of the children of this nation and remain silent? Is it possible to accept the responsibility of being a teacher and informing the people, but not say anything?”

Never forgive. Never forget. Farzad Kamangar: