Iran Freedom Concert

Posted by sepoy on March 16, 2006 · 3 mins read

This Saturday, a coalition of groups will hold an Iran Freedom Concert at Harvard. This concert, the organizers state on their website, "raises awareness of the Iranian government's human rights abuses and expresses solidarity with Iranian students seeking to end these violations. The coalition is non-partisan and does not take a stance on policy issues like foreign intervention."

I find it hard to believe such a visible, political event deems itself non-partisan or has no stance on the _one_ paramount issue facing Iran at the moment. I am not the only one transported to early 2003 with Cheney's recent threats about "meaningful consequences" to Iran.

Mana Kia, a friend and a grad student in History/ME Studies at Harvard, who co-blogs at No War on Iran has written an Open letter to the organizers that raises questions about the facts as presented by the coalition as well as their underlying assumptions and explicit goals. The drumbeat around the blogfires has been overwhelmingly positive about this event [see technorati] with the right-leaning blogs noting that this actually redeems those commie students at Harvard. It is, hence, imperative that questions be asked about this concert. I am excerpting Mana's conclusion but please read the whole thing:

I have two questions: 1) Where does your organization receive its funding? Is any of it, directly or indirectly, from the US government, more specifically, the 75 million recently earmarked by Congress to support "democracy" in Iran? 2) Do you have any actual contact with the student groups in Iran? Which ones? Where do they stand on US military attacks on Iran? And if not, why do you think you know their aims and can speak for them? Have you given a voice or any consideration to the student groups or bloggers that vehemently reject any and all US based activism on the ground that it a) can be appropriated by a jingoistic US government delivering “democracy” from the barrel of hundreds of thousands of guns and bombs that has proven quite bleak in Afghanistan and Iraq; and b) that because of the overwhelming likelihood of that appropriation, such activism will be read as collusion with an imperialist power with a strong and proven will to destruction, domination and exploitation.

Finally, I ask you, what happens to the principles of democracy and a free society when they are implemented through means which undermine their legitimacy? Do you end up with something that isn’t democracy at all?


zp_alabasium | March 16, 2006

How many communists are there at Harvard, senator?!?

tsk | March 17, 2006

ha ha... another reason i'm glad i didn't go there. you would think that these harvard kids would be smart enough to do their homework so mana couldn't eat their lunch. oh well, if it's anything like the tibetan freedom concerts, there should be some killer bud.

Ahmer Azam | March 21, 2006

Now that is what I call a great response! Ahmer Azam

a | April 16, 2006

she starts out with a conspiracy theory. there is no evidence for this claim, she uses it only as a polemical device. why not just say it? "these guys are wrong because i have a premonition that they take gov money!" then, with convuluted writing befitting of an academic in training, she challenges the group's independence; why not just say it? "this group must be in league with the gov, and since the government is wrong, so is this group" well, lets invert the questions. who finances your work? what are your political motivations for blogging so intensely? why are you allowed to claim moral high ground, and intellectual purity, while your opponent is not? and then finish with a leading question: dont you think such methods of debate are irresponsible because they disregard arguments, depending rather on (close to) ad hominem attacks? thats a pretty high horse she's riding. i hope she remembers to duck when she leaves the ivory tower