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On Tombs and Rage

On Tombs and Rage

Written by Nir Boms and Ido Mizrahi Wednesday, 31 March 2010 10:30

Once again, these are “Days of Rage” in Jerusalem and the TV news is replete with those fanning the flames of Arab and Muslim anger over the supposed new threat to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This time, the pretext appears to be the renovation and rededication of a ruined Synagogue located quite a ways from holy site on the background of the ongoing dispute regarding construction in East Jerusalem. And it might be only the beginning. “Do not fear a religious or nonreligious war,” declared Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, since Jerusalem will “always remain Islamic.”This recent escalation was preceded by a separate round of violent protests in Hebron and elsewhere following a dispute over another holy site.

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Another Week in Geneva

I returned from Geneva last week and made a few notes on this peaceful place that was so full of politics….

The peaceful white mountaintops remained unscathed by the heat of debate that took place within United Nations corridors. The mountains, I thought, are indeed a fitting background. Full of frozen splendor and  high enough not to be touched by the realities on the ground. Such was another week of deliberation at the UN Human Rights Council that this time debated on Iran and Egypt . You  will find some more in the post below

Another Week in Geneva
By Nir Boms, 3rd March 2010

Last week, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva concluded a week of deliberations with Iran and Egypt topping the agenda. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a process which involves the review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States. This recent UN tradition started in 2006 following growing criticism regarding the lack of attention given to human rights at the UN. The process, which allows for input given by NGO’s as well as other states, was meant to change that. To say the pace of change has been slow is an understatement.  More like a Swiss glacier.

“Human rights violations in Egypt are widespread and routine, including arbitrary detention, torture, and unfair trials before state security and military courts” wrote Human Rights Watch in one of the submissions on Egypt.  The government habitually invokes the ‘state of emergency’ laws, in place since 1981, to suppress peaceful political activities and critics.  Security officials routinely arrest bloggers and journalists for their writings, and Egypt’s laws allow for an extremely broad definition of an “illegal organization” that are subject to special trials conducted by military and state security courts.  Torture is also allowed under article 126 of Egypt’s penal code.

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Digital Graffiti in Teheran

By Nir Boms and Shayan Arya

Iran Times International

Many pictures that make their way from the streets of Teheran. You might have seen some of them; those of besieged revolutionary guards; those of burned military bicycles or helmets or those of dying protestors who lost their life for the sake of their call for a different future. And there are also those  graffiti’s on the wall. “Death to the dictator,” or “Down with Khamenei” they say, accompanying the protesters as they serve as silent witnesses to this current round of cruelty and violence. And this reminded us of another wall in another part of the world.

A famous graffiti entitled “Curriculum Vitae” is still visible on the remaining segment of the Berlin Wall. This resume is short and simple. Black numbers cover the gray wall that start in 1961. The following years are added, painted black on gray until the year 1989 brings it some color. The artist, Susanne Kunjappu, is proud at her creation that can be found, along with others at the East Side Gallery where some of the yearning expressions for freedom from those years are still kept. Art is a message and a good reminder that the freedom to paint did not always exist there. But new walls have been erected since, some of which appear to be more sophisticated than those of Berlin. Continue reading


Dare to be different

Nir Boms and Shayan Arya

Roxana Saberi was finally released from Evin prison and allowed to leave Iran. Although her ordeal may have come to a happy ending, the fate of many other innocent prisoners in the Islamic Republic of Iran is uncertain.  Among them you will find juveniles, political prisoners and many prisoners of conscience whose only crime is to believe in a different religion other than Shiite Islam. President Obama, himself a symbol of diversity and minority rights, will hopefully not miss their plea as he prepares his notes for engagement with Iran.

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