Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Shireen Abadi

Memoirs of a Nobel Peace Prize: Shireen Abadi on Iran Islamic Revolution; (Mar. 10, 2010)

Iranian lawyer and judge, Shireen Abadi, received Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for defending Iranian civil and human rights.

She was a renowned judge during the Shah’s regime and then supported the nascent Iranian revolution in 1979 before it turned fundamental Islamic.

Shireen (Shirine) is banished from Iran and has published in English “Iran awakening: memoirs of revolution and hope, (2006)”.  This manuscript was translated into Arabic by Hussam Itani and published by “Dar al Saki” in 2010.

In autumn of 2000, judge Abadi stumbled on a nerve wracking file: An Iranian information minister had previously ordered the assassination of Abadi.  Before Khomeini returned to Iran after 14 years of absence in February 1979, Shereen was demonstrating in the streets to oust the Shah of Iran.  As Khomeini stepped out the airplane he was asked “How do you feel today?”  He replied “I feel nothing.”  That was a bad omen for a start.

Judge Abadi never wore the veil in her life.

The newly appointed temporary general secretary to the ministry of justice after the revolution asked Abadi to wear the veil.  She refused; he said: “Do it out of faith at least”.

This judge, Fateh Allah Bani Sadr, was the brother of the next President of the Islamic Republic Hassan Bani Sadr.  Fateh Allah was soon demoted and when his brother was elected President,  Fateh Allah offered Abadi the post of the President legal counselor; she declined.  The appointed counselor was executed as soon as Hassan Bani Sadr was deposed!

The next day, judge Abadi parked her car in front of the Justice Palace.  She noticed that motorcycles replaced cars; judges and personnel were wearing dirty robes to prove love for poverty; she could not smell cologne or perfume; the staunchest Shah’s supporters turned staunch Islamic revolutionaries.  People have been changing outfits for a new role in the play.

It is said that Ayatollah Talkani who was appointed to re-write the Constitution shouted “What are those shameful luxury sofas and couches?” He sat on the ground for a couple of hours and then decided that sofas were far more comfortable.

There were strong rumors that women would be banished from judgeship: they were not focused, lacked determination, and are generally lazy.

Abadi refused the higher post of court investigator because she sensed that the intention was to rob her of her chair as judge. She was finally ordered to the position of assistant to research department!

In November of 1979, a group of adolescents took over the US Embassy and took captives for 444 days; Khomeini was jubilant but most Iranians felt that the revolution has deteriorated.

Actually, the Islamic revolution was losing momentum and support until the US ordered Saddam Hussein of Iraq to invade Iran in 1980.

The Iranian people had no choice but to support the existing Islamic regime against the aggressors.

During 8 years of this insane war that left over one million dead and several millions injured the Islamic Revolution felt free to execute thousands of intellectuals and liberal-minded people. Abadi did a simple calculation and figured out from the monthly toll of executed citizens to the number of the population that her turn will soon come within 8 years.

Thousands of adolescents were sent to the front as living mine sweepers.

Every morning, two dozens of martyrs “Shaheed” were prayed upon in front of the Justice Palace.  Abadi finally shut off her windows, even during summer, in order not to hear the prayers and laments and find a corner to cry her eyes out.

Note: I was eye witness to the revolutionary zeal of the Iranians at the university campus of Norman (Oklahoma).

Almost everyday, half a dozen Iranian political parties crisscrossed the campus in demonstrations, discussion groups, and participating in meetings.  An Islamic Republic was not in the agenda of most of the parties: they just wanted the Shah’s regime out and a new regime in.

It is documented that US oil multinationals were displeased with the Shah leading OPEC oil producers for ever higher oil prices to cover his megalomania expenses and military dominance of the Persian Gulf region.

The two most powerful regional powers: Turkey and Iran; (Nov. 10, 2009)

Turkey is the 16th ranked economy and Iran the 17th, with the understanding that Turkey has no oil or gas production while Iran was the second exporter of oil and the second in world’s reserve.

Turkey has a population of 70 million while Iran is about 60 million.

Iran is much larger than Turkey in size, but the two nations are big enough to be considered continent ,self-sufficient and independent nations.

Turkey planned to be  the turnpike for most of oil and gas pipelines originating in Russia, Iran, and central Asia and converging to Europe.  (The upheaval in Syria is mainly due to foiling Turkey strategy). Iran has a strategic access to the Straight of Hermouz.

Russia has borders with both nations that dictated the foreign policies of both countries.  Both countries have over 7 States along their borders.

Both nations share the Kurdish problem for self-autonomy: The Kurds are about over 20 millions and live in inaccessible mountain chains and high plateaus in Iraq; they overflow to vast regions in East Turkey, West Iran, and North Syria.

Turkey is mostly Moslem Sunnis and Iran Moslem Shiaa since the 18th century. Turkey has the least number of Christian  in the Moslem world in proportion to the total population, due to successive genocide policies in the last century that forced the minorities to exit this country. Before last century, the Ottoman Empire was the most lenient empire in matter of religious belief.

Since antiquity, Turkey influence reached to the Euphrates River in Syria while Iran to the Tigers River in Iraq. Both large rivers take sources in Turkey. and the Euphrates River crosses Syria and Iraq.

The good news is that these two most powerful regional powers have many interests in common that dwarf any petty political divergences; they are the cornerstone for a new economic and strategic alliance in the Middle East.

Turkey has cultural and linguistic influence in Azerbaijan, the Caucasus regions, Serbia regions, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Iran has the same kinds of influence in most of these regions in addition to Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Brief history:

Throughout antiquity till our modern days 3 main empires dominated the landscape of the Middle East. Turkey, Iran, and Egypt were vast economic and political empires before the advent of Islam. Turkey and Iran managed to enjoy a semi-continuous existence of empires, but Egypt had large vacuums of many centuries in between empires since the Pharaohs.

Egypt enjoyed special status during the Greek, Roman, Arab, and Ottoman empires and was a world apart as wheat basket and the most advanced in civilization.

Turkey and Iran could benefit from stable “national” entities, but Egypt experienced foreign leaders as kings or sultans and relied on foreign officers to lead its armies, the latest dynasty was from Albania with Muhammad Ali.

The former 3 empires are currently mostly Moslems and they were in general lenient with the minority religious sects.

The three empires have vast lands, rich in water, and have currently about the same number of population of about 70 millions and increasing at high rates.

The Iranian empires relied on Afghanistan’s and the central Asian’s tribes for their armies.  As the frequent Mogul raids descended on Persia its armies went on the defensive.

The Turkish and Ottoman empires relied on the Caucasus tribes from current Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia States, and also from Albania and Romania.

As Russia started to expand southward and occupied many of these regions, then Turkey curtailed most of its vast military campaigns and went on the defensive.

The Caucasus triangle of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia is still a hot spot for domination among Russia, Turkey, and to a lesser extent Iran, especially with the oil and gas pipelines that pass through them.  My post “Cursed Cities: Kars” would shed detailed historical accounts on that tragic triangle.

Modern Status:

In around 1920’s, two military dictators ruled over Iran and Turkey.  Rida “shah” in Iran and Mustapha Kemal “Ataturk” in Turkey were attempting to modernize their infrastructure and civil administrations by emulating the European examples.   Ataturk went as far as changing the Turkish alphabet to Latin.  Both dictators confronted the religious clerics for establishing secular States with unequal long-term successes.  Iran has reverted to religious oligarchy after Khomeini came to power.

While Iran was historically more lenient with its minorities, it appears that Turkey is practically taking steps to outpacing Iran in that advantage; for example, Turkey is translating the Koran into the ethnic languages such as Kurdish.  Women in Turkey are prominent in businesses such as Goler Sabanji; 9% of women are represented in the Parliament.

In Iran, Shireen Abadi is Nobel laureate for defending women’s rights; Iranian women represent only 3% in the Parliament though they constitute 65% in universities.

In the 70’s, Iran was flush with oil revenue while Turkey was struggling to establish an industrial infrastructure. It appears that in the long-term, oil in underdeveloped nations is definitely a curse for emerging nations because wealth is not invested on the human potentials and stable modern political structure.

In 2008, foreign investment in Turkey was $14 billions and increasing while it amounted to just one billion in Iran.  Turkey has expanded its representation in Africa by opening 12 new Embassies and 20 new consulates.

Nisreen Ozaimy is from Iran by origin and fled to Turkey; when her family lived in Turkey it was impressed by the confidence that the Turks valued their various ethnic nationalities; they had this implicit feeling that Turkey is in fact a bridge between East and West.  The Turks managed to blend harmoniously the secular and religious inclinations.

Turkey is a member of NATO and has a chance to joining the European Union.  Turkey is out of its 60 years hibernation and is currently very active in Middle East Affairs.  Turkey was on excellent terms with Syria (until 2011): they recently opened their borders to enter without visas and are conducting joint military maneuvers.  Turkey is about to reach a peace agreement with the Kurdish opposition movement.

Iran is struggling to be incorporated in the world community and the nuclear issue is poisoning its relations with the western nations.

Note 1 :  this is a revised and updated version of my post “Turkey and Iran: Same and Different (April 25, 2009)”

Note 2:  Turkey has the potential to normalize its political and diplomatic relations with almost all Islamic and Arab States except Saudi Arabia.  The most obscurantist theocratic and monarchic Wahhabi sect would never forgive Ottoman Turkey to have sent a military expeditionary force in the 19th century that destroyed and erased the Wahhabi Capital in Najd.

The same Wahhabi dynasty would never normalize relation with Shiaa Iran because it is always feeling insecure of this close powerful State that infiltrated the northern regions of Saudi Arabia in the last two centuries.

Turkey and Iran: Same and Different (April 25, 2009)

 

Brief history:  Throughout antiquity till our modern days three main empires dominated the landscape of the Middle East. Turkey, Iran, and Egypt were vast empires and advanced urbanely and economically before the advent of Islam. Turkey and Iran managed to enjoy a semi-continuous existence of empires but Egypt had large vacuums of many centuries in between empires since the Pharaohs. Egypt enjoyed special status during the Greek, Roman, Arab, and Ottoman empires and was a world apart as wheat basket and advanced civilization. Turkey and Iran could benefit from stable “national” entities but Egypt experienced foreign leaders as kings or sultans and relied on foreign officers to lead its armies, the latest dynasty was from Albania with Muhammad Ali. 

The three empires are currently mostly Moslems and they were in general lenient with the minority religious sects.  The three empires have vast lands, rich in water, and have currently about the same number of population of about 70 millions and increasing at high rates. The Iranian empires relied on the Afghanistanis and the central Asian tribes for their armies.  As the frequent Mogul raids descended on Persia its armies went on the defensive. The Turkish and Ottoman empires relied on the Caucasus tribes from current Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia States, and also from Albania and Romania.  As Russia started to expand southward and occupied many of these regions then Turkey curtailed most of its vast military campaigns and went on the defensive.  The Caucasus triangle of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia is still a hot spot for domination among Russia, Turkey, and to a lesser extent Iran, especially with the oil and gas pipelines that pass through them.  My post “Cursed Cities: Karss” would shed detailed historical accounts on that tragic triangle.

 

Modern Status:

 

In around 1920’s two military dictators ruled over Iran and Turkey.  Rida “shah” in Iran and “Ataturk” in Turkey were attempting to modernize their infrastructure and civil administrations by emulating the European examples.  Ataturk went as far as changing the Turkish alphabet to Latin.  Both dictators confronted the religious clerics for establishing secular States with unequal long term successes.  Iran has reverted to religious oligarchy after Khomeini came to power.

While Iran was historically more clement with its minorities it appears that Turkey is practically taking steps to outpacing Iran in that advantage; for example, Turkey is translating the Koran into the ethnic languages such as Kurdish.  Women in Turkey are prominent in businesses such as Goler Sabanji; 9% of women are represented in the Parliament.  In Iran, Shireen Abadi is Nobel laureate for defending women’s rights; Iranian women represent only 3% in the Parliament though they represent 65% in universities.

In the 70’s Iran was flush with oil revenue while Turkey was struggling to establish an industrial infrastructure. It appears that in the long term oil is definitely a curse for emerging nations because wealth is not invested on the human potentials and stable modern political structure.

In 2008, foreign investment in Turkey was 14 billions dollars and increasing while it amounted to just one billion in Iran.  Turkey has expanded its representation in Africa by opening 12 new Embassies and 20 new consulates. Nisreen Ozaimy is from Iran by origin and fled to Turkey; when her family lived in Turkey it was impressed by the confidence that the Turks valued their various ethnic nationalities and they implicit feeling that Turkey is in fact a bridge between East and West.  The Turks managed to blend harmoniously the secular and religious inclinations.

Turkey and Iran: Same and Different (April 25, 2009)

 

Brief history

hroughout antiquity till our modern days, three main empires dominated the landscape of the Middle East. Turkey, Iran, and Egypt were vast empires and advanced urbanely and economically before the advent of Islam.

Turkey and Iran managed to enjoy a semi-continuous existence of empires but Egypt had large vacuums of many centuries in between empires since the Pharaohs.

Egypt enjoyed special status during the Greek, Roman, Arab, and Ottoman empires and was a world apart as wheat basket and advanced civilization. Turkey and Iran could benefit from stable “national” entities but Egypt experienced foreign leaders as kings or sultans and relied on foreign officers to lead its armies, the latest dynasty was from Albania with Muhammad Ali

The three empires are currently mostly Moslems and they were in general lenient with the minority religious sects. 

The three empires have vast lands, rich in water, and have currently about the same number of population of around 70 millions and increasing at high rates, especially Egypt (90 million).

The Iranian empires relied on the Afghanistanis and the central Asian tribes for their armies.  As the frequent Mogul raids descended on Persia its armies went on the defensive.

The Turkish and Ottoman empires relied on the Caucasus tribes from current Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia States, and also from Albania and Romania.  As Russia started to expand southward and occupied many of these regions then Turkey curtailed most of its vast military campaigns and went on the defensive. 

The Caucasus triangle of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia is still a hot spot for domination among Russia, Turkey, and to a lesser extent Iran, especially with the oil and gas pipelines that pass through them.  My post “Cursed Cities: Kars” would shed detailed historical accounts on that tragic triangle.

 

Modern Status

In around 1920’s two military dictators ruled over Iran and Turkey

Rida “shah” in Iran and “Ataturk” in Turkey were attempting to modernize their infrastructure and civil administrations by emulating the European examples.  Ataturk went as far as changing the Turkish alphabet to Latin and abolishing the Caliphate in Islam. 

Both dictators confronted the religious clerics for establishing secular States with unequal long term successes.  Iran has reverted to religious oligarchy after Khomeini came to power.

While Iran was historically more clement with its minorities it appears that Turkey is practically taking steps to outpacing Iran in that advantage. For example, Turkey is translating the Koran into the ethnic languages such as Kurdish. 

Women in Turkey are prominent in businesses such as Goler Sabanji; 9% of women are represented in the Parliament.  In Iran, Shireen Abadi is Nobel laureate for defending women’s rights; Iranian women represent only 3% in the Parliament though they represent 65% in universities.

In the 70’s Iran was flush with oil revenue while Turkey was struggling to establish an industrial infrastructure. It appears that in the long term oil is definitely a curse for emerging nations because wealth is not invested on the human potentials and stable modern political structure.

In 2008, foreign investment in Turkey was 14 billions dollars and increasing while it amounted to just one billion in Iran.  Turkey has expanded its representation in Africa by opening 12 new Embassies and 20 new consulates.

Nisreen Ozaimy is from Iran by origin and fled to Turkey; when her family lived in Turkey it was impressed by the confidence that the Turks valued their various ethnic nationalities and they implicit feeling that Turkey is in fact a bridge between East and West.  The Turks managed to blend harmoniously the secular and religious inclinations.

The current crisis in the middle-east is changing the landscape: Turkey has alienated most of the Arab world by getting involved and engaged in “Arab” spring upheavals, siding with the Moslem Brotherhood movements, while Iran is heading the resistance front against extremist islam.


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