Freitag, 31. Juli 2009
Mittwoch, 29. Juli 2009
Dienstag, 21. Juli 2009
Montag, 20. Juli 2009
"The Middle East is changed forever"
Sonntag, 19. Juli 2009
Freitag, 17. Juli 2009
Mittwoch, 15. Juli 2009
18 Tir/July 9 2009
Dienstag, 14. Juli 2009
Ahmadinejad calls Germans “Slave Drivers”
Iranian president Ahmadinejad has referred to the assassination of the Egyptian woman Marwa in a courtroom in Dresden as “preprogrammed”. He accused the West of violating peoples’ elementary rights and called upon the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Berlin.
„The West boasts about their ever functioning security system, but one person enters a courtroom and stabs an innocent woman not once, but eighteen times in front of the eyes of the judge, the jury, and the police”, Ahmadinejad said during a meeting of his cabinet in Teheran as reported by the news agency IRNA.
„Such a crime was definitely preprogrammed”, said the president. Ulrich Wilhelm, spokesman of the German government, said he had taken note of the statement. Everyone who could speak in the name of the Federal Government in the past days had made it clear that in Germany there is no space for hostility against foreigners and against Islam. It was an issue for the judiciary to by means of criminal law bring to justice those who commit such crimes.
Ahmadinejad continued to demand that the UN Security Council should not only condemn Germany, but also impose sanctions on Berlin. “Why do they immediately pass resolutions when in another country a thousandth part of such a crime is committted, while in their own (western) countries the basic rights of the people are ignored”, said the president, whose disputed re-election had lead to protests and unrests due to alleged fraud.
He demanded to bring the judge and the policemen of the Dresden Court to trial. In Tehran, pro-government Iranian students in front of the German embassy protested against the way muslims are treated in Germany. The ultra-conservative newspaper “Kejhan” called for extradition of all German ambassadors in the islamic world.
„When a few people get to the streets of Tehran and burn public property, everyone (in the West) is ready to talk about violation of human rights (when the police intervenes), but when an innocent woman is dismembered in a courtroom, nobody cares”, said Ahmadinejad.
According to Ahmadinejad, Germany behaves like a “slave driver” and has been supporting the interest of the zionists (Israel) for 60 years. “The nations will not forget this crime quickly, we are present, so are the other countries, and we will further pursue this case until there will be justice”, said the president.
(translated by Julia)
Sonntag, 12. Juli 2009
(Translation by Julia – source: “DIE ZEIT # 29, July 9 2009)
“Time is Ripe”
“Make a revolution with Germans? That will never lead anywhere. Before storming a train station they will make sure they have a ticket…” Lenin is said to have mockingly remarked once. Why this should be a crucial obstacle for Germans to take part in a revolution, I never quite understood. Indeed we did not buy tickets, we virtually filed a revolutionary organisation like you do when founding a fishing club. The organisation did not pass, but nevertheless the revolution happened. We were not the only catalysts, there were many movements other than us. But nevertheless, we managed to activate the biggest amount of people. And without the orderly rebellion of an entire population the end of the dictatorship would have been impossible.
We – that was a group of thirty very ordinary citizens of the GDR. Each and every one of the participants of course has their own memories about how it happened that this group on the weekend of the 9th of September 1981 gathered in the house of Robert Havemann, a dissident who had died in 1981 after long house arrest, and composed the appeal “Aufbruch 89 – Neues Forum” (“New Dawn 89 – New Forum”). What I write down here is my own memory of the antecedent.
It was a hot summer, a languid holiday mood. A kind of ceasefire had settled down between the government and the dissatisfied population. The protesting civil rights activists who had debunked the fraud of the communal elections of early May had been temporarily silenced with various kinds of harassment. The politically active were in a state of shock after the bloody abatement of the students’ protests on the Square of Celestial Peace in Beijing.
For months now, civil groups had been forming, debating over reforms. Many were frustrated because the spectacular clashes often were dominated by those who wanted to leave the country and accomplished their wish by means of public protest and the occupation of embassies, whilst those who stayed inside the country and wishing to achieve changes grew demoralized by constant grueling cat-and-mouse-games with the authorities of the Department of Inner Affairs, and received protection and encouragement merely in some churches, but not from the population in general.
Attorney Rolf Henrich from Eisenhüttenstadt in those weeks traveled from place to place to hold speeches in churches and even in students’ clubs about his book “The Custodial State”, which he wrote in 1987 and on conspirative paths smuggled into the West in 1988 where it was lateron published. The response of the powers was adroit; Henrich was excluded from the SED (only significant political party in the GDR, Julia) and replaced as the chairperson of the bar association in the district of Frankfurt (Oder).
In his book, which secretly circulated in the GDR, as well as in his speeches, Henrich produced a biting criticism of the state of things. He stressed that protests would have to remain within the country, however, had to free itself from the protection of the church in order to take effect. This was not new. Members of the “Initiative for Peace and Human Rights” had been demanding this for quite a while.
What was new was that Henrich adressed “normal citizens in their middle ages and with renowned professions”. He opposed to any of the ostentatively alternative, protest-cultural, anarchic, subversive appearance of the hitherto existing civil movement, against the conspirative production of copied political flyers such as the famous “Grenzfall”. It would be more adequate to found a political movement within the framework of the legislation of the GDR, register it according to the rules and demand participation in the political decisions pursuant to the constitution of the GDR. However, the design of this constitution did not allow the foundation of political parties, so any political party would immediately be declared illegal. However, it was legally allowed to register an association within the framework of the association law, the purpose of which, of course, was the regulation of non-political unions like, for example, a chess club. The foundation of this association could be declared to be a constructive contribution to the beginning party congress discussions; even the law-abiding citizen could refer to the legal procedure, and the powers would be in a dilemma not being able to prohibit their own laws.
Foreigners ask for advice: “what shall we do now?”
In July the physician Erika Drees from Stendal visited me at our weekend home. I knew her from the Organisation of Medics against Nuclear War (IPPNW). She invited me to a meeting at the place of Rolf Henrich to discuss political issues. After a conspirative journey with observer-confusing roundabout ways, my wife Eva and I arrived at the place and found, apart from Rolf Henrich, his wife and Erika Drees, also Bärbel Bohley and Katja Havemann, which I had met at protests of the previous years, although I did not know them personally. They asked me if I was willing to participate in the foundation of a legal “Jacobin Club”. We agreed to meet at the weekend of September 9 at the house of Katja Havemann in Grünheide. Just by word of mouth each of us was supposed to invite some trustable acquaintances, if possible, not too many pastors, not only people from Berlin, not just members of the intelligenzia, not only men, not only left-wings – so to say, a cross section of the society’s mainstream.
So we gathered on Saturday, 9 September, at the house of the Havemann family. We were about 40 people, some knowing each other, some not. All of them were having the same uneasy feeling, since the Stasi was there somewhere for sure. After some mistrustful eyeing we decided to just go for it. Today we know that one whistle-blower had been among us. In 1993, we also found some snapshots in some of our Stasi-files, taken in front of the house entrance: the neighbors of the Havemann family were constant spies, having taken pictures of every visitor for years.
During the weekend we phrased the appeal of foundation. Rolf Henrich and I contributed a draft. I later destroyed mine (unfortunately) because I did not want to have it on me as an evidence to the Stasi in case of my arrest. There was a vivid discussion about both our drafts which finally were merged. I contributed more of a general part, while Henrich provided practical strategies of registering the association. We carefully avoided any political jargon, but described the social stagnation and resignation without referring to a specific political program. After some dispute we decided to not make an explicit statement in favor of the GDR and of socialism; we wanted to let the people decide about the future of the GDR and its social system, the people who we called to join in. We called the thing “New Dawn 89 – New Forum” and finished with the words “time is ripe”. 30 persons (10 women, only 3 pastors, and again 13 from Berlin) signed with their names, address and profession.
Bärbel Bohley and Katja Havemann copied the paper and sent it to newspapers and agencies of the GDR, and also leaked it to some familiar western journalist. The first group forwarded it unanswered to the Secret Police, whereas the second group published it in their newspapers in the west.
The echo from the media was overwhelming. Bärbel Bohley, who was well-known in the west due to her forced exile in the west two years ago, had to give up to 30 interviews per day. And we also were affected , since we had a telephone, and our number was in the telephone directory. In the evenings after returning from work we did not have even one quiet moment since the telephone was ringing constantly.
Lateron I listened again to those interviews or read copies of transcripts in western newspapers. I don’t like them. They sound so tame, so cautious. Due to an indiscretion we knew that our telephone calls were intercepted and recorded. Thus, despite our decision to rise above the parapet, we still were cautious to not provide strong evidence to the Stasi that could be used against us in a possible trial.
The real surprise, however, was not the echo from the west, but the one we received in the east. We were downright buried in affirmation. We received numerous calls, many frome phone booths, courageous ones with names asking for an entry form; also some anxious ones yet without names: “We would be willing to work with you after legalisation”. An anonymous person sent us an encryption technique for producing secret messages: “You are going to need it”.
Like all the others whose addresses were easy to track, we received hundreds of postcards and letters every day – not only reluctant ones, no, some sounded relieved and determined: “We can not bear it any longer, everybody just talking of leaving the country - we have to do something right here!” Our doorbell was ringing constantly. Strangers demanded to be asked inside, wishing a short talk for advice: “What shall we do now?”
Every day a post van leaves baskets full of letters at Bärbel Bohley’s house
The authorities tried to quell the flow of support for the New Forum. News agencies and TV reported that an application, signed by two people, was handed in, considered, and defeated. Aims and concerns of the association applied for contradicted the constitution and formed a subversive platform. According to our experience, this was the first step towards arresting and charging the “ringleaders”.
Being exposed, though, to problems assailing the government from all sides, the powers could not decide to take action. In Prague, thousands of people had occupied the embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany (BRD) and demanded to be allowed to leave to the west. Inside the GDR, the movement grew into an avalanche. The leadership attempted to bolster the protests by giving in step-by-step.
We had decided to collect lists of signatures from all over the GDR with names and addresses of supporters at Bärbel Bohley’s place in order to apply the necessary legitimation to the registration of our association at the Ministry of Interior. Within a short period of time this had lead to baskets full of letters being delivered to Bärbel Bohley’s house by a post van every day. On September 20 we already had 2500 signatures, and by late October it should be 200 000 declarations of accession including names and addresses – by far outnumbering the growing quantity of requests for departure.
At the same time, more and more people were taking courage and attended the first larger demonstrations in Leipzig. The crowd was no longer chanting “We want to leave” but “We are staying”, “admit the New Forum” and “We are the people”. When finally the powers decided to apply force, which in the beginning of October lead to orgies of clubbing and arrests in Dresden, Leipzig and Berlin, it was already too late. A non-violent movement of the people step by step dismantled the formerly concrete-solid system, enforcing a democratic reshaping and the opening of the Wall.
In all places groups of the New Forum were forming. The founders were known throughout the country due to their signatures on the countrywide circulating appeal, and they participated in uncounted organized discussions; however, they had become a rather small, if active part of the movement.
The time between autumn of 1989 and the beginning of 1990 was marked by an anarchic rebellion. History today focuses on some big events and key dates, losing sight of the rebellion being partly unorganized, in parts loosely coordinated by groups of the New Forum and other civil movements and spreading across the country like a large fire, entirely paralyzing the ruling class which was dependant on centralized orders.
The 30 founding members of September 9 did not have any premonition of the avalanche they would kick off. We had acted without any heroic emotions, driven by our feeling that it was high time to act against the gradual decay. The peoples’ rebellion accidentally put us on the stage of historical change.
Today it seems to become a fact-like conviction that the autumn civil movement served as an ignition and then became useless, lost support and was overrun by the ongoings because they representet utopistic goals. This judgement is not correct. The peoples’ rebellion generated the first victorious and peaceful revolution in German history, has established political freedom and democratic civil and human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, free movement, destruction of the whistle-blower system and free elections.
It was a strategic necessity not to put the reunion of Germany on top of the agenda. Everyone who did not forget 17. June 1953, the Hungarian October of 1956, the end of the Prague Spring of 1968 and the civil war against Solidarnosc of Poland in the eighties clearly knew this. We by no means wanted to provide a pretext for pushing the button of the ejection seat Mr Gorbachev in Moscow was sitting on. Two years after that, the mossbacks in Moscow attempted overturn him and turn back the wheel. But with us in Germany it was already too late for that.
Samstag, 11. Juli 2009
Freitag, 10. Juli 2009
(translated into German most likely from Farsi, this is not indicated in the source)
Report of an Iranian blogger
"Mark the Faces of Your Friends!"
The situation of anti-regime-protests in Iran is about to move out of the world's focus of attention - regardless of continuing massive intimidation, arrests, and censorship. An Iranian blogger living in German "exile" reports on the day-to-day repressions in his home country. All names have been changed. The name of the author, due to concerns about his and his family's safety, is not being released.
Some time has passed now since the elections in Iran. Again and again I was tempted to return to my home country, and again and again my mother pleaded on the phone not to do it: "Stay there, it is safer". She is right. Most of my friends have been released on bribary or are still in detention, their families still remaining without notice from them.
Numerous chats are being monitoredWhile I am here in Germany I get notice of Ashkan - a friend from Sweden - having returned to Iran. I call him. On recognizing my voice on the phone, he says: "Dear Poorya, I still have your books but will return them to you soon." Then the connection breaks. I e-mail him, and we arrange a chat meeting. I remind him that neither yahoo messenger nor skype are safe, so we use google talk.
Intercepted at the airport
Ashkan tells me that one week after the election he decided to travel to Iran. On arrival at Tehran airport, his passport is confiscated. The officers provide him with an address which he is supposed to call for his passport. When doing so, he is checked all over his body, and he has to deliver personal items and his mobile phone. In a waiting room he joins dozens of other people who are in a similar situation.
"How many demonstrations did you attend?"Several hours later he is called in. In room 34 two officials wait for him. One asks "How many demonstrations did you attend abroad?" Ashkan replies: "None!". The younger officer says "You are very stupid!" They present him with photos of a demonstration in front of the embassy in Stockholm, many of them showing Ashkan's face marked with a red circle. "Now take this pen and mark the faces of your friends, and tell us their names."
"Did you say farewell to your mother?"
Ashkan says he went there on his own, whereupon one of the men punches his knee into Ashkan's back, says: "Did you say farewell to your mother and father before coming here?" Another officer says: "Listen, boy, much tougher nuts than you have told us everything here. We stop at nothing when it comes to preserving law and order in this country, so don't waste our time, and don't put your health at risk".
"Tell us your password!"
Ashkan marks seven faces on the photo and writes down their names. Suddenly one of the officers asks: "Why did you change your name and photo on facebook?" He shows him some prints of the closed facebook page. The officers demand that he reveals the password of his facebook account; then he has to leave the room.
"You don't know your best friend?"
Half an hour later he is called in again. They present him with prints of facebook pages containing lists of photos and names of his facebook contacts. Ashkan has to write down their names and everything else needed for their identification. 15 persons are marked in red, the officers want more information about them. One of them is Ashkan's best friend in Iran. He tries to just skip this face, but an officer notices his attempt: "You honestly want to tell me that you don't know your best friend?".
Aiming at body and soul
Ashkan tells me in our chat that in the 20 years of his life he has never been humiliated like that. At this point, our chat connection suddenly breaks down. Since then, Ashkan has disappeared and does not respond to my e-mails. I often think of him - is it his fault that the regime was able to identify some of their opponents? He is not to blame - it is the system which relentlessly smashes Iran's youth. In the streets they aim at their heads, but in secluded rooms they go after their bodies and souls.
Intimidation by all meansThe far reaching effects of intimidation are obvious when you look at the latest publications of the Iranian news agency "Fars". Fars supports Ahmadinejad and is controlled by a group tightly interwoven with the Revolutionary Guard. They took close-up pictures of protesters in Tehran and published them under the headline "Pictures of some of the troublemakers"! The Website "Gerdab", belonging to the Revolutionary Guard, uses exactly these pictures, marks the faces and encourages visitors to the site to provide information to help identifying those persons. Other pictures are captioned "identified".
Encountering sites and pictures like that in the net, I always think of Ashkan and of how people in Iran at present are indoctrinated with fear and intimidation. I try in vain to call Ashkan on his mobile phone. There seems to be no connection. At his home, his sister answers the phone. "So you are Mr....?", she asks cautiously. And then she tells me in a very low voice that Ashkan was arrested while taking part in the protests.
Samstag, 4. Juli 2009
(Translation by Julia – source: http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/684/479178/text/)
EU and Iran
03. July 2009, 07:46
Possible Immigration Ban for Representatives of Regime
The European Union is apparently considering to impose an immigration ban on members of the Iranian government. According to reports of Financial Times Deutschland which refer to diplomats, the EU committee for politics and security policy is going to advise on this measure.
The measure mainly aims at people implicated in violence against demonstrators, attempts of intimidation towards diplomats, and possible fraud during the presidental election on July 12. A decision about the immigration ban can be expected by next week. According to the report, the decision will depend on the country’s situation.
The EU has imposed immigration bans before, e.g. for President Alexander Lukaschenko of Belarus and members of his administration. At that time, the EU had also assumed an electoral fraud.
In addition, the EU issued warnings of diplomatic consequences in case the Iranian authorities will not release all of the arrested employees of the British Embassy. “We are ready to act”, says a spoksewoman of the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt. However, the EU, since last week under Swedish presidency of the council, is interested in maintaining their relations with Iran.
Great Britain had suggested to temporarily recall the ambassadors of all EU-members from Tehran. Some of the members, however, hope to be able to achieve a release of the arrested employees by mere diplomatic pressure. Two of the nine arrested employees of the British Embassy are still being detained.