I am certain that this night of darkness will not last long. The moon of freedom will finally step out from behind the clouds of religious tyranny, and will shine rays of joy upon us all.
—from Akbar Ganji's letter written on July 22, 2005, his 43rd day of hunger strike in Evin Prison.
I admire Akbar Ganji, despite things I don't like in his letters from the prison. His self-sacrificing revolutionary tone of voice is outdated, and his presentation of himself as a martyred hero (a hero who supposedly "wakes up the masses later in the future") is something I don't like, and his constant quoting from Carl Popper reminds me of religious people quoting from the Bible or Qur'an. But I still admire Ganji. His courage to speak out his mind and his dedication to non-violent ways of opposing the system is beyond anyone else in the Iranian politics.
I don't think he was right in his decision on beginning the hunger strike. I don't think any idea is worthy enough to die for. Ganji is a great journalist and a lively activist. I don't know how he justifies his own death. Even for fighting for democracy and human rights he should to be alive. His death is the best the Iranian regime can wish for. It cannot change anything, except the names of a few schools and streets in a far future, and probably a few pages in the history books—lamenting over his unjust "martyrdom."
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Ganji nears death. What can we do?
Visit here and here for more on Ganji. In case you want to sign the online petitions for his freedom click here and here.
Cartoon by Davoud Shahidi.