Silence on MEHR
There is an Iranian human rights organization called MEHR, founded many years ago in Los Angeles by Dr. Mohammad Parvin, an adjunct professor at California State University. On Sept 2, 2003, MEHR had a conference in LA about Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI)'s Crimes against Humanity. Sept 1st is the day of commemoration of massacre of prisoners of conscience in Iran and all over the world.
MEHR's Press Release of Sept 2, 2003 announced "the filing of a lawsuit against the Islamic Regime of Iran (IRI), the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, and Ali Akbar Fallahian Khuzestani." The lawsuit filed by the San Francisco-based Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA), charges that "agents of the Islamic Regime of Iran tortured the plaintiff, Gholam Nikbin, who served three years in jail for his conversion to the Mormon faith and for permitting dancing at his wedding."
Dr. Parvin is quoted as saying "This is our first lawsuit against the Islamic Regime of Iran but will certainly not be the last. We seek justice for the victims of the Islamic Regime of Iran because we believe peace cannot be achieved without justice. We also believe it is an effective way to stop the legitimization of the Islamic Regime of Iran by the interest driven western governments."
The day after the Conference, on Sept3, 2003, Los Angeles Times reported from MEHR's meeting that "Nikbin told hundreds of Iranian Americans gathered at the Furama Hotel near Los Angeles International Airport that he hoped his lawsuit would make his homeland 'ashamed, and they will hear my voice. I want to free my country from these terrorists,' he said to a standing ovation."
Personally I know a number of victims of IRI tortures who had been political prisoners in Iran for years, and by some miracle were freed and escaped from Iran, and still suffer from the injuries and live in the United States, but have not said a word about it in public. We know of many Iranian dissidents who were murdered by IRI terrorists even when living in the West. As written so eloquently by Steven Emerson, the Islamists' terrorist networks are not limited to the Middle East and soldiers of Islamist God proved it with their heinous crime on Sept 11th. What MEHR and Mr. Nikbin have done takes a lot of dedication and courage.
MEHR has spoken for human rights issues in Iran for many years. What is surprising is that Iranian and American progressive press did not say a word about MEHR's Sept 2nd conference and the historic lawsuit! Even Los Angeles Times reported the event but they have ignored it. The Iranian Persian and English press abroad did not say a word. And as far as the international progressive press, Whatreallyhappened, Indymedia, and others were silent and did not write about this historic event!
Is it just an accident or it is all part of what I have noted before as why leftists have ended up supporting Saddam and Islamists? I know they do not want me make waves but if in all their honesty they sit and ask themselves about how they treat any person or organization that seriously challenges IRI atrocities, they will see that they are effectively supporting Islamists by their silence about IRI atrocities and only mentioning news admitted by IRI government reformists, and by censoring those like MEHR, who are actually risking their lives to speak up about real human rights violations in Iran, issues that should be the focus of progressive press. Can they explain this away as a personal issue with Jack and Jill or this case proves that they are censoring the news of crimes against humanity by IRI and are silent about the serious challenges to IRI atrocities.
Some try to make rumors that MEHR is a supporter of MKO because MEHR has spoken up not to deliver MKO members to IRI. The allegation about MEHR being an MKO supporter cannot be further from the truth. MEHR as a thorough human rights organization defends the human rights of people irrespective of party affiliations. MKO tries hard to show the work of honest human rights activists as their front. As I have noted in the past, it is true that MKO has made front organizations but they are basically unsuccessful, and Iranian genuine activists do not support such organizations, *and* MEHR definitely is not a supporter of the MKO fascist cult.
On the opposite end, the IRI lobbyists and apologists try to show the works of honest human rights groups like MEHR as related to MKO or monarchists to discredit these genuine human rights groups, so that these independent groups do not find support among Iranians. These are all false allegations and MEHR is not related to MKO or monarchists and is an independent progressive and democratic human rights organization working on shoe strings to help the victims of IRI atrocities and MEHR has been working hard in the recent years to create a pro-human rights voting block of Iranian.
Creating a pro-HR (human
rights) voting block is a very important undertaking to get
Iranian-Americans to form a real lobby force of Iran and Iranians, to counter
the pro-IRI lobbyists who are on the payroll of Islamic Republic of Iran,
calling themselves as so-called "Iran lobby", but in reality being a lobby for
interests of IRI, and against the interests of Iran and Iranians, who are
victims of IRI. The pro-IRI lobbyists try to shed crocodile tears for Iranians
who are victims of discrimination in the West, to gather support for IRI, but
they do not say that even the discrimination against Iranians in the West is
because of the terrorist activities of IRI.
MEHR's efforts to create a pro-HR Iranian voting block and lobby is a very progressive goal and I hope anybody who is able to support their activities, to give them a helping hand in their great efforts and I also hope the progressive press to break their silence about MEHR and not believe the rumors of pro-IRI lobbyists and go and visit MEHR people directly and assess this tireless team themselves. MEHR has acted on human rights principles by being an important force for creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) all these years.
Hoping for a Futurist, Federal, Democratic, and Secular Republic in Iran,
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor
Sept 9, 2003