Tagged Repression

What Abba Eban Said of the Palestinians Could Also Be Said of the Cuban Regime

They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity: The Cuban artist Tania Bruguera, who splits her time between the United States and Havana, traveled to Cuba in recent days seeking to pull off a bold experiment. She called on Cubans from all walks of life to meet at Havana’s iconic Revolution Square on Tuesday at 3 p.m., where they would take turns at a microphone to outline their vision for the new era in the country. Word of the event, which was billed as both a performance and a street protest, was shared on social media using the hashtag #YoTambiénExijo, which means “I also…

“Moderate” Governments Don’t Jail People Over Facebook Postings

Just thought I’d throw that opinion out there: An Iranian court has sentenced eight people to jail terms ranging from seven to 20 years for crimes including anti-regime propaganda posted on Facebook, an opposition website has said. Kaleme, which did not cite a source for its report, said the sentences were delivered last week giving the eight Facebook users a combined 123 years in jail. They were charged with “insulting the supreme leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) and the authorities, anti-regime activities, sacrilege and spreading lies,” Kaleme said. There was no official confirmation of the court ruling and AFP could not…

Behold the “Moderate” Iranian Government

In all of its glory: An Iranian court convicted on Sunday the editor and a contributor of a banned newspaper over a series of charges, including lying about Islam and spreading anti-regime propaganda, reports said. The media watchdog banned the reformist Bahar daily in October 2013 after it published an article the authorities deemed as an insult to Shiite Islam for questioning one of its core beliefs. Its editor-in-chief, Saeed Pourazizi, who was detained and released on bail following the closure, was on Sunday convicted of “propaganda against the establishment and spreading lies and rumours,” ISNA news agency reported. The…

Reform Cannot Come Fast Enough to Iran

I’m sure that Iranians will be the first to tell you as much: In a rare expression of regret by an Iranian official, President Hassan Rouhani has said that he is sorry for any troubles with the distribution of a food ration to the poor, following reports that three people have died waiting for the goods in subzero weather. Local media have reported that the three died in recent days while standing in line in freezing temperatures. Authorities were quoted as saying that they had pre-existing heart problems. Most provinces in Iran have experienced unusually low temperatures in recent days. Rouhani told…

Surprising–and Unsurprising–News from the First Round of Iran’s Presidential Election

First, the surprising news: The leading moderate candidate for the presidency has emerged as the strongest of all of the candidates after the first round of voting:  Early results from Iran’s presidential election put the reformist-backed candidate, Hassan Rouhani, in the lead.With 2.9m ballots counted, the cleric had 1.46m votes, or 49.87%, well ahead of Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, with 488,000 votes, or 16.65%.If no candidate wins more than 50%, a run-off will be held next Friday. It remains to be seen if a second round can be avoided. If we end up having a second round, my fear…

Political Freedom–Or the Lack Thereof–in Iran

I really look forward to the day when I don’t have to read stories like this one.  But I fear that day won’t arrive for a very long time: A senior Iranian diplomat linked to Iran’s reformists, who has been detained at Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison for three months, has been denied access to his attorney for the entire time, sources familiar with the case told Reuters on Monday.Bagher Asadi, who was previously a senior diplomat at Iran’s U.N. mission in New York and most recently a director at the secretariat of the so-called D8 group of developing nations in…

What the Chinese People (Shockingly) Don’t Know

June 4th was the 24th anniversary of the Tienanmen Square massacre. NPR reports  that thanks to Chinese government censorship, a lot of people know very little about the history of the massacre: . . . it’s important to remember that a lot of people here have some familiarity with what happened 24 years ago, but a lot of people aren’t that clear on it. For instance, I’ll just give you an example. Back in 1997 when I first came to Beijing, I met a number of young women – they were in their 20’s – and they were chatting with some…