| Tuesday, July 25, 2006
| REAL HEROES OF THE MIDDLE EAST
|"Its the dissidents, not the terrorists, who speak for the people" -- Tom Melia, Freedom House.
During the Cold War, dissidents like Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa put a human face on the struggles of millions of freedom in Eastern Europe. Today, it's in the Middle East where thousands are agitating for basic human rights. "It is not the unelected rulers or terrorists who speak for the people," says Tom Melia of the humand-rights group Freedom House. "Advocates for democracy are the true voices of the Middle East."
In many nations, holding a political meetings is grounds for torture. In Lebanon, intellectuals are assasinated by the Syrian regime. In Egypt, judges are jailed for questionaing election results. In Iran, demonstrators for women's rights are arrested. Here are some of the heroes in this struggle for freedom:
1). OMID MEMARIAN,
32 years old, a former city council candidate in Tehran, was arrested for "conveying a dark picture of Iran and stoking women's issues" on his Internet blog. He was placed in solitary confinement for 55 dyas and repeatedly beaten. He has found refuge in the U.S.
2). NEILA CHARCHOUR HACHICHA
50 years old, founded the Liberal Mediterranean Party, which is seeking political freedom in Tunisia. Her husband has been jailed and her daughter harassed by security agents.
3). AYMAN NOUR
41 years old, challenged President Mubarak in Egypt's 2005 election and was runner-up. Aftererward, Nour was convicted of forging documents, although him main accuser later recanted. Nour is now serving a five year jail term.
4.) ANWAR al-BUNNI
a lawyer and human rights activist, was arrested for criticizing Syria's conduct in Lebanon. His family members have spent a total of more than 60 years in Syrian prisons.
5.) HAMZA al-MAZAINY
58, years old, a university professor, wrote about the spread of "fanaticism" in Saudi Arabia and extrmism in the schools. He was sentenced to 200 lashes and four months in jail but spared following international protests.
6). FATHI ELJAHMI
65 years old, spent 18 months in prison after calling for free speech in Libya. He was arrested again for supporting a constitution. He has life threatening health conditions but is allowed little contact with his family.
7). RANA HUSSEINI
38 years old, is an outspoken activist for women's rights in Jordan. She reports on violence against women such as "honor killings" by relatives of those accused of aultery.
(SOURCE: Intelligence Report by: Lyric Wallwork Winik/visit:parade.com)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 3:35 PM