Opinion: Ganji’s victory

23 August 2005

Akbar Ganji, terminated his hunger strike after 71 days.

We don’t know the details as to why he decided to suspend his hunger strike nor do we know exactly what took place during the last 3 weeks of being in isolation in the hospital.

Whatever agreement may have reached between Ganji (or Ganji’s family) and the judiciary (if any), he won his first battle!

He brought the world’s attention to Iran’s human right abuses.

He has been in prison for 5 years and because of his hunger strike and his bravery, the world finally took notice. He brought pressure onto the Iranian Regime at a time when it did not need anymore because it was in the spotlight already for its “nuclear” issues with the world.

He united Americans, the EU and the UN by calling for his release. Finally Europe was obliged to acknowledge the human right abuses in Iran.

For years Europe conveniently put this issue aside and enjoyed its economical ties with Iran with no shame. Thus because of Ganji, the EU has been forced to confront the human rights issue with the Mullahs.

Some may call Ganji’s war a “game,” but he has become the most famous voice of dissent in Iran advocating for Khamenie “to go.” Ludwig Wittgenstein once said: "The real revolutionary is someone who can transform him/herself."

I believe Iran has finally found his true revolutionary.

I am glad he decided to live, because this way he will be able to continue his struggle for democracy (assuming his health will be the same as it was before his hunger strike), even though he will probably be put in jail again. Mullahs are not fearful of outside enemies but of internal mutiny; it is Akbar Ganji who will be the force that the Regime will dread the most.

I hope the world will not take their eyes off the ball and will continue to put pressure on Iran.

Ganji is one of many political prisoners in Iran. For example, Manouchehr Mohammadi, a jailed student and movement leader, continues his hunger strike (38 days and counting); and just last weekend he was taken to an unknown location.

Mohammadi was sent to prison 6 years ago after a student protest in Tehran. Other sources report that two Kurdish journalists who were arrested a few days ago started their own hunger strike in a Kurdistan prison. Just past weekend, another journalist, Masoud Bastani, a correspondent for several reformist newspapers, was sentenced to 6 months in prison for writing extensively on Ganji's plight.

As Khallej Times editorial has said, “You target one journalist and you end up on the wrong side of the world media forever.” Ganji’s victory can be attributed to all those who relentlessly advocated for his cause. If no new charges are levied against him, he should be released by March 2006. Ultimatley, Iranian political prisoners are winners in the end.

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