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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A dying man's cry for freedom in Iran

Los Angeles Times:

Investigative journalist Akbar Ganji has been on a hunger strike since June 11 to protest his unwarranted imprisonment over the last five years for the crime of criticizing the theocratic thugs who have hijacked his country. Recently, he has been moved from prison to a hospital, where he is said to be at death's door. His condition is so perilous that even his advocate — lawyer and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi — has urged him to end his fast, but he has so far refused. Having lost a great deal of weight, he is apparently being kept alive only by intravenous fluids. Ganji deserves to become as famous as Nelson Mandela, Andrei Sakharov, Vaclav Havel, Aung San Suu Kyi and other dissidents who put their lives on the line against injustice. Yet, while Ganji's mistreatment has been protested by the U.S. and by every major international human rights organization, the only U.S. newspaper regularly covering his ordeal is the tiny New York Sun. According to LexisNexis, there have been more than 1,000 media mentions in the last month of Natalee Holloway, the teenager who disappeared in Aruba, and fewer than 400 of Ganji. One could argue that the fate of one man doesn't matter much compared with the larger issue of whether Iran will go nuclear. But the two are intertwined. The reason why the United States and even the European Union are so concerned about Iran's weapons is the nature of its regime.
It is disappointing that Ganji's story isn't being told by more media. It seems plenty dramatic enough, and Iran is certainly topical. Hopefully the media will change it's mind and give this story more air. It would be a worthy contribution.


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