Posts tagged iran
For the kids in Tehran’s underground rock scene, the dream was simple: party, make music, and escape to New York, where the life they wanted was legal. By 2011 three bands—the Yellow Dogs, Hypernova, and the Free Keys—had found their way to Brooklyn. 

But as their indie community thrived, one of the band members was sinking fast. Nancy Jo Sales discovers how, on November 11, four young Iranian musicians ended up dead. 

Yellow Dog Days: How Four Iranian Musicians Lived—and Died—in Brooklyn | Vanity Fair

For the kids in Tehran’s underground rock scene, the dream was simple: party, make music, and escape to New York, where the life they wanted was legal. By 2011 three bands—the Yellow Dogs, Hypernova, and the Free Keys—had found their way to Brooklyn.

But as their indie community thrived, one of the band members was sinking fast. Nancy Jo Sales discovers how, on November 11, four young Iranian musicians ended up dead.

Yellow Dog Days: How Four Iranian Musicians Lived—and Died—in Brooklyn | Vanity Fair

SHANE The nightmare began on July 31, 2009. I was living in Damascus, covering the Middle East as a freelance journalist, with my girlfriend, Sarah Shourd, a teacher. Our friend Josh Fattal had come to see us, and to celebrate, we took a short trip to Iraqi Kurdistan. The autonomous region—isolated from the violence that wracked the rest of Iraq—was a budding Western tourist destination.
After two days of visiting castles and museums, we headed to the Zagros Mountains, where locals directed us to a campground near a waterfall. After a breakfast of bread and cheese, we hiked up a trail we’d been told offered beautiful views. We walked for a few hours, up a winding valley between brown mountains mottled with patches of yellow grass that looked like lion’s fur. We didn’t know that we were headed toward the worst 26 months of our lives.
JOSH (July 31, 2009) “You guys,” Sarah says with hesitancy. “I think we should head back.” “Really?” Shane sounds surprised. “How could we not pop up to the ridge? We’re so close.” Shane knows I want to reach the top. “Josh, what do you want to do?” he asks.
"I think we should just go to the ridge—it’s only a couple minutes away. Let’s take a quick peek, then come right back down." Just as we’re setting out, Sarah stops in her tracks. "There’s a soldier on the ridge. He’s got a gun," she says. "He’s waving us up the trail."
I pause and look at my friends. Maybe it’s an Iraqi army outpost. We stride silently uphill. I can feel my heart pounding against my ribs. The soldier is young and nonchalant, and he beckons us to him with a wave. When we finally approach him, he asks, “Farsi?”
How We Survived Two Years of Hell As Hostages in Tehran | Mother Jones

SHANE The nightmare began on July 31, 2009. I was living in Damascus, covering the Middle East as a freelance journalist, with my girlfriend, Sarah Shourd, a teacher. Our friend Josh Fattal had come to see us, and to celebrate, we took a short trip to Iraqi Kurdistan. The autonomous region—isolated from the violence that wracked the rest of Iraq—was a budding Western tourist destination.

After two days of visiting castles and museums, we headed to the Zagros Mountains, where locals directed us to a campground near a waterfall. After a breakfast of bread and cheese, we hiked up a trail we’d been told offered beautiful views. We walked for a few hours, up a winding valley between brown mountains mottled with patches of yellow grass that looked like lion’s fur. We didn’t know that we were headed toward the worst 26 months of our lives.

JOSH (July 31, 2009) “You guys,” Sarah says with hesitancy. “I think we should head back.” “Really?” Shane sounds surprised. “How could we not pop up to the ridge? We’re so close.” Shane knows I want to reach the top. “Josh, what do you want to do?” he asks.

"I think we should just go to the ridge—it’s only a couple minutes away. Let’s take a quick peek, then come right back down." Just as we’re setting out, Sarah stops in her tracks. "There’s a soldier on the ridge. He’s got a gun," she says. "He’s waving us up the trail."

I pause and look at my friends. Maybe it’s an Iraqi army outpost. We stride silently uphill. I can feel my heart pounding against my ribs. The soldier is young and nonchalant, and he beckons us to him with a wave. When we finally approach him, he asks, “Farsi?”

How We Survived Two Years of Hell As Hostages in Tehran | Mother Jones

Here’s our list of a dozen nations where it can be dangerous to be gay.
Nigeria: Nigeria is the most homophobic country in the world, according to a 2013 poll, which found 97 percent of citizens think society should not accept homosexuality. The laws reflect that: Same-sex couples face up to 14 years in prison and even public displays of same-sex affection are illegal.
Uganda: The spotlight has been focused on Kampala recently for its anti-LGBT policies. A law passed this week makes homosexuality punishable by up to life in prison, gay rights activists have been murdered, and gay citizens are widely discriminated against.
Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe has made a crusade out of homophobia – with widespread public approval. Last year, Mugabe threatened to behead gay Zimbabweans and described them as “filth.”
Saudi Arabia: Basing its law, it says, on a strict interpretation of Islamic law, the current Saudi regime has made gay sex punishable by death by the lash. But according to some reports from inside the Kingdom, that doesn’t mean homosexuality isn’t common.
India: Thought of as a highly tolerant society, it came as a surprise earlier this year when the country’s highest court reinstated a colonial-era law criminalizing gay sex. But the decision has been met with protests and the court’s decision is being challenged.
Honduras: There have been a spate of anti-LGBT hate crimes here in recent years. More than 80 LGBT people have been killed in anti-LGBT hate crimes since 2009 and LGBT-rights activist say they are shunned by their families and communities.
Jamaica: Sex between men is illegal, hate crimes are alarmingly common and the government seems reluctant to protect gays from violence. Senegal One of the most anti-gay countries in the world, according to a 2013 Pew poll, which found 96 percent of Senegalese think society should not accept homosexuality, only surpassed by Nigeria at 97 percent. Gay sex is illegal and discrimination is commonplace.
Afghanistan: It may no longer be under the rule of the Taliban (at least in much of the country), but harsh views toward homosexuality still remain. It’s still news when an Afghan comes out as gay, even from Toronto. Yet its male homosexual culture is widespread but rarely commented on.
Iran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s last president, famously told Americans: “We don’t have homosexuals in our country like you do.” His successor, Hassan Rouhani, elected last June, hasn’t made gay rights – or anti-gay legislation – a priority, but it’s already on the books. Homosexuality is illegal in Iran and can even be punishable by death in certain cases.
Lithuania: The Baltic state’s parliament is considering a law similar to Russia’s notorious anti-gay anti-propaganda law. And while homosexuality isn’t illegal, it has many opponents. Last year’s second-ever gay pride parade was interrupted by homophobic protesters.
Sudan: Homosexuality is punishable by death and even attempts at arranging a homosexual act can lead to a prison sentence. The good news is that there have been stirrings in recent years of a pro-LGBT rights movement.
The United States: We have undoubtedly made great strides in LGBT rights in recent years, from same-sex marriage to equality in the military. But Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and several other states have laws on the books that resemble Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws. And anti-LGBT hate crimes remain frighteningly common, especially against transgender people.
Photo: Gay rights activists hold placards during a protest against a verdict by the Supreme Court in New Delhi December 15, 2013. (Photo credit: Adnan Abid/Reuters)

Here’s our list of a dozen nations where it can be dangerous to be gay.

Nigeria: Nigeria is the most homophobic country in the world, according to a 2013 poll, which found 97 percent of citizens think society should not accept homosexuality. The laws reflect that: Same-sex couples face up to 14 years in prison and even public displays of same-sex affection are illegal.

Uganda: The spotlight has been focused on Kampala recently for its anti-LGBT policies. A law passed this week makes homosexuality punishable by up to life in prison, gay rights activists have been murdered, and gay citizens are widely discriminated against.

Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe has made a crusade out of homophobia – with widespread public approval. Last year, Mugabe threatened to behead gay Zimbabweans and described them as “filth.”

Saudi Arabia: Basing its law, it says, on a strict interpretation of Islamic law, the current Saudi regime has made gay sex punishable by death by the lash. But according to some reports from inside the Kingdom, that doesn’t mean homosexuality isn’t common.

India: Thought of as a highly tolerant society, it came as a surprise earlier this year when the country’s highest court reinstated a colonial-era law criminalizing gay sex. But the decision has been met with protests and the court’s decision is being challenged.

Honduras: There have been a spate of anti-LGBT hate crimes here in recent years. More than 80 LGBT people have been killed in anti-LGBT hate crimes since 2009 and LGBT-rights activist say they are shunned by their families and communities.

Jamaica: Sex between men is illegal, hate crimes are alarmingly common and the government seems reluctant to protect gays from violence. Senegal One of the most anti-gay countries in the world, according to a 2013 Pew poll, which found 96 percent of Senegalese think society should not accept homosexuality, only surpassed by Nigeria at 97 percent. Gay sex is illegal and discrimination is commonplace.

Afghanistan: It may no longer be under the rule of the Taliban (at least in much of the country), but harsh views toward homosexuality still remain. It’s still news when an Afghan comes out as gay, even from Toronto. Yet its male homosexual culture is widespread but rarely commented on.

Iran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s last president, famously told Americans: “We don’t have homosexuals in our country like you do.” His successor, Hassan Rouhani, elected last June, hasn’t made gay rights – or anti-gay legislation – a priority, but it’s already on the books. Homosexuality is illegal in Iran and can even be punishable by death in certain cases.

Lithuania: The Baltic state’s parliament is considering a law similar to Russia’s notorious anti-gay anti-propaganda law. And while homosexuality isn’t illegal, it has many opponents. Last year’s second-ever gay pride parade was interrupted by homophobic protesters.

Sudan: Homosexuality is punishable by death and even attempts at arranging a homosexual act can lead to a prison sentence. The good news is that there have been stirrings in recent years of a pro-LGBT rights movement.

The United States: We have undoubtedly made great strides in LGBT rights in recent years, from same-sex marriage to equality in the military. But Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and several other states have laws on the books that resemble Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws. And anti-LGBT hate crimes remain frighteningly common, especially against transgender people.

Photo: Gay rights activists hold placards during a protest against a verdict by the Supreme Court in New Delhi December 15, 2013. (Photo credit: Adnan Abid/Reuters)

In her latest project “Our House Is on Fire,” Iranian artist Shirin Neshat examines the brutal aftermath of the failed Egyptian revolution by overlaying photos of the victims with poetic text. 

The project, on display in New York City starting Jan. 31, will also help some of those victimized by the revolution: The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, a humanitarian arts organization, commissioned Neshat to create the series and as part of the arrangement, proceeds from some works will be donated to charities in Egypt. (SEE Shirin Neshat’s Photos of the Egyptian Revolution)

In her latest project “Our House Is on Fire,” Iranian artist Shirin Neshat examines the brutal aftermath of the failed Egyptian revolution by overlaying photos of the victims with poetic text.

The project, on display in New York City starting Jan. 31, will also help some of those victimized by the revolution: The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, a humanitarian arts organization, commissioned Neshat to create the series and as part of the arrangement, proceeds from some works will be donated to charities in Egypt. (SEE Shirin Neshat’s Photos of the Egyptian Revolution)

When leading neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander found himself in a 7-week coma in 2008, he experienced things he never thought possible - exclusively excerpted from his upcoming book Proof of Heaven, he shares his journey to the afterlife in this week’s Newsweek. Also, Michael Tomasky previews Thursday’s veep smackdown where Biden will be gunning for the right’s boy wonder and Dan Ephron looks at what an Israeli attack on Iran would mean for the United States. Pickup the issue on newsstands Monday and for your iPad today! http://bit.ly/RnwKNT
When leading neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander found himself in a 7-week coma in 2008, he experienced things he never thought possible - exclusively excerpted from his upcoming book Proof of Heaven, he shares his journey to the afterlife in this week’s Newsweek. Also, Michael Tomasky previews Thursday’s veep smackdown where Biden will be gunning for the right’s boy wonder and Dan Ephron looks at what an Israeli attack on Iran would mean for the United States. Pickup the issue on newsstands Monday and for your iPad today! http://bit.ly/RnwKNT
This is not about some abstract concept, but a genuine concern. The Iranians are, after all, a nation whose leaders have set themselves a strategic goal of wiping Israel off the map.
Ehud Barak, Israeli defense minister, discussing the reasoning behind discussions whether his country ought to launch a pre-emptive attack against Iran.
After almost a year since my release, in October 2009, I still receive threatening phone calls from Iran. The callers tell me that I should be silent about what I saw and endured in prison. “Otherwise you will be brought back in a bag to Iran,” they say. I am not sure what threats Sarah Shourd received in the days leading to her release, but I am sure she’s been threatened that if she talks … she would jeopardize the release of her fiancé and her friend.
Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari, in a plea for journalists to leave Sarah Shourd alone

I have been deeply supportive of Iran’s Green Movement. I wrote glowingly about it, highlighted it on television, and showcased its advocates. But I do not think there is much evidence that it was likely to overthrow the Iranian regime. To believe that, one has to believe the government in Tehran is deeply unpopular with a majority of Iranians, holds onto power through military force alone, and is thus vulnerable to a movement that could mobilize the vast majority in Iran who despise it. None of this is entirely true.

The Iranian regime has many, many opponents, but it also has millions of supporters. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may have actually lost the presidential election of 2009, but it was a close contest in which he got millions of votes. What little polling has been done in Iran, coupled with the observations of people who have been there, all suggest that the regime has considerable public support in rural areas, among the devout, and in poorer communities.

Iranians have a word, roozmaregi, which means in essence “to live one day at a time.” It’s an apt description for Khamenei’s style of leadership. He is a skillful tactician. But he appears to have no long-term plan for the country, or even for his own political survival. If he thinks he has defeated Iran’s Green Movement because there are no more protests, he’s wrong. The fact that Iranians are prevented from publicly demanding their rights does not mean they’ve forgotten their ideals.