Leaving Islam




Support the people of Iran

Melanie Phillips 


While the cartoon jihad raged on, this demonstration in London at the weekend was almost totally ignored by the mainstream media. A disgrace. The only person to record the brave and important stand being taken in Iran against the mullahs by the ordinary people was Nick Cohen in today’s Observer:

Ahmadinejad won the rigged Iranian elections last year with a promise to stand up for the little man against the Islamic Republic's corrupt elite. Faced with a choice between sticking to his word and carrying on with despotism, he showed his true colours by allowing the most ferocious crackdown Tehran has seen since the religious authorities crushed dissident journalists and students in 1999.

The company's managers and Islamic council called in the paramilitary police who arrested the union's six officers and beat workers until they agreed to renounce the strike. Bravely, the majority refused. The state's thugs then targeted their wives and children. Mahdiye Salimi, the 12-year-old daughter of one of the strike leaders, told a reporter that they had poured into her home in the early hours of the morning trying to find her father. When his wife said she didn't know where he was, the assault began. 'They kicked my mum's heart with their boots and my mum had an enormous ache in her heart. They even wanted to spray something in my [two-year old] sister's mouth.'

No one knows how many people the authorities arrested. The highest figure the British TUC has heard is 1,300. International trade union federations and the British embassy in Tehran estimate that somewhere between 400 and 600 people are still in prison...Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the US State Department and British Foreign Office have all protested. Trade unions, Iranian exiles and gay groups have demonstrated. Yet the media have barely noticed. The failure is due in part to my trade's perennial inability to walk and chew gum at the same time: we consider stories one by one and today's story is Muslim anger with cartoonists.

This silence is worse than disgraceful. It is also a symptom of the free world’s tragic and terrifying failure to deal properly with the nuclear crisis in Iran. There are three possible responses to this crisis: appeasement, military strikes and a people’s revolution. We are heavily into the first, are flinching from the second -- but have never properly considered the third. The Iranian people are largely pro America, pro freedom and friendly towards the west. They are heavily against the tyrannical theocracy that enslaves them. America, Britain and the rest of the free world should be putting muscle behind their movement to free themselves by refusing to deal with Iran, treating the regime as a pariah and lending public support and encouragement to the people to overthrow these tyrants. Yet we don’t even report the action they are taking and the reprisals they are enduring.

What’s wrong with us?

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist and author. She is best known for her controversial column about political and social issues which currently appears in the Daily Mail. Awarded the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996.






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