Friday, August 28, 2009

Tavab TV

Laura Secor comments on show trials that only Seamus Milne and Hugo Chavez could love:
The nefarious plotters engaged in “exposing cases of violations of human rights,” training reporters in “gathering information,” and “presenting full information on the 2009 electoral candidates.” Apparently, the Iranian citizen is meant to consider it self-evident that the country’s national interest depends on concealing human-rights abuses, censoring the news, and obfuscating the electoral process.
Recalling echoes of the 1980s:
Ervand Abrahamian, the author of “Tortured Confessions: Prisons and Public Recantations in Modern Iran,” quotes a witness who said of the night a major leftist recanted, “Something snapped inside all of us. We never expected someone of his reputation to get down on his knees. Some commented it was as revolting as watching a human being cannibalize himself.”
But Secor concludes optimistically:
Iran was a radical place in the eighties. Both the regime and much of its opposition were absolutist, utopian, messianic, apocalyptic. Forced confessions, so effective in that climate, convey little more than illegitimacy when they are used against an opposition that is asking for the counting of votes and the rule of law. Today’s show trials are a sign of how much Iran has changed in the past thirty years, and how poorly its regime has kept pace.

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