[Marxism] Christian Parenti: support the hikers jailed in Iran
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jul 20 09:33:38 MDT 2011
Call to Help the Hikers
Contributing editor, The Nation
If you care about solidarity activism, independent reporting and
the ability of progressive journalists to work on the frontlines
of world events, I encourage you to make a simple phone call to
the Iranian Interests Section in Washington D.C. on behalf of the
two American hikers who are still being held in a 10' x 14' cell
Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal have been locked away for almost 2
years. Recently, after repeatedly denying them visits with their
lawyer and failing to produce them in court at the last hearing,
Iran announced that it will resume their espionage trial on July
31. In reality, Shane and Josh were merely vacationing, and went
for a beautiful hike along a river valley. Shane and his fiancé
Sarah Shourd had been living in Damascus, Syria. Shane was
studying and writing. Sarah was teaching English to Syrian
students, and Iraqi and Palestinian refugees. Their friends Josh
and Shon Meckfessel were visiting. Sarah had time off from
teaching, so the four traveled together to Northern
Iraq/Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region where tourism flourishes,
and which the Kurds, with the help of a U.S. Political Relations
firm, a former U.S. Ambassador, and Fox News, had touted as safe.
Everyone they met told them to hike to the waterfall. The problem
was, they continued up the same trail, having no idea how close
they were to the completely unmarked border with Iran. Somewhere
along that border, and it is unclear on which side of it, Shane,
Josh, and Sarah were arrested -- or more accurately abducted -- by
an Iranian patrol. (Their other friend, Shon Meckfessel, was sick,
and had stayed at the hotel.) Sarah was released after 14 months.
Now, the other two face trial on espionage charges.
Shane Bauer has reported from Iraq, Ethiopia and Syria. He has
written acclaimed articles, highly questioning of U.S. foreign
policy for the Nation magazine where I am a contributing editor.
Recently, Shane won high praise for his journalism from the
inimitable Robert Fisk. (See "Is Shane Bauer Really an Enemy of
Iran," U.K. Independent, May 6, 2011.) Josh is an avid
environmentalist and teacher. Though I have never met Shane or
Josh, we have close friends and extensive community in common.
The espionage charges against Shane and Josh are absurd on their
face, and Iran knows it. As Sarah's chief interrogator informed
her two months into her detention, Iran knew they were innocent
but their case had become political. Two years later, Shane and
Josh are still being held as political pawns, caught between two
nations who refuse to talk to each other directly. If the Iranian
political class has read any of Shane's, Josh's, or Sarah's works,
which are widely available on the internet (see
FreeOurFriends.eu/), it would be evident to them that the hikers
are the exact opposite of U.S. spies.
But the Iranians have not acted on this reality as a result of
their own inner turmoil and tension between political factions.
Meanwhile, their continued detention of these two young men, in
isolation, in a cramped cell, and without affording them even the
process they are due under Iranian law, further corrodes their
image around the world.
The competing Iranian power brokers need to be reminded
collectively that their continued incarceration of the hikers is a
stain on Iran's honor. This is the purpose of the phone blitz
leading up to Shane and Josh's trial on July 31. Please make a
simple phone call between July 25 and July 29, and politely but
clearly let the Iranian Interests Section in Washington D.C. know
that your eyes, and the eyes of the world, are on them.
Here are the details:
Week of Action Call Everyday For Their Release!
Starting Monday July 25th until Friday July 29th
Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Washington D.C.
For more information: www.twoyearsistoomuch.wordpress.com
More information about the Marxism