Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Video roundup

  • 'If you build it, they will come...' Well, perhaps not. An anti-American film produced by the Basij students of Sharif University attracted something less than a crowd:

  • Green fliers calling on protesters to join the November 4 rally flew out of a third-floor window at the northern Tehran branch of Azad University. 'It's a green wave,' says one young woman.

  • Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri attacks Leader Ali Khamenei's legitimacy as a religious 'source of emulation' in this undated video. (translation follows)

    Ayatollah Montazeri:
    Let me say that getting four newspapers to launch attacks or rallying four kids in Ghom... the era of these things has passed. Even if they get the Friday prayer leaders to say something, everyone knows that these imams are in their pay. These things don't carry any weight anymore. The newspapers wrote so many things and the people just insulted them. These things must change. We have to tell Mr. Khamenei, 'Issuing religious decrees is not for you.' I've gathered 12 reasons here. We have to act on this, find a solution. What's this talk of marjaiyat? (NB The quality of being a source of emulation for Shiites) You're not on that level! I warned him about this. It was just before Ayatollah Araki's death (NB This senior cleric died in early 1994) and I sent this letter to him by way of Ayatollah Momen, and he received it. I'll just read point 7. I sent him this message and, well, he didn't want to listen.
    I wrote, 'Shiite marjaiyat has been an independent spiritual power. May this independence not be broken by your hands and may the seminaries not be placed under the yoke of the government. This is harmful for the future of Islam and Shiism. And however much your supporters strive, you will not find the scientific knowledge of the late Imam [Khomeini]. Do not allow the sanctity and spirituality of the seminaries to be mixed up with the [political] activities of the state bodies.'
    Who has the right to dispatch four kids to the seminaries to disrupt their work?! 
    'Do not allow the sanctity and spirituality of the seminaries to be mixed up with the [political] activities of the state bodies. In the interests of Islam, the seminaries, and yourself, your office should officially declare that because of your heavy workload in running the country, you cannot answer questions related to religious matters, and from now you will not respond to questions on religious matters. You should henceforth refer all such questions to the seminaries.'
    The date of this letter is the 12th of Aban (NB November 3), when they'd just taken Ayatollah Araki to the hospital. I sent this message through Ayatollah Momen. There were seven points and this was just one of them. And Ayatollah Momen told me about several of these gentlemen who had gone to see Mr. Khamenei to ask some questions. So I said, But he doesn't have any resaleh (NB collection of fatwas or religious rulings issued by a Shiite source of emulation). He said, Well, he says they're fatwas, so they're fatwas of the Imam. Isn't this weakening Shiite marjaiyat? They rallied four kids and brought them to the Association of Teachers [and Researchers of Ghom's Seminaries]. Four kids, on the night of Ayatollah Araki's death. I was in Ghom. They got them to march in the streets, there were no more than seven kids they had brought over from Tehran. They were saying, he [Khamenei] is among the [sources of emulation]. Well, without beating around the bush, he isn't on the level of a source of emulation and he doesn't have the right to issue fatwas! They've weakened Shiite marjaiyat with four Intelligence Ministry kids. These are the tragedies that we see in this country. May God preserve this country's independence.

  • The country's universities continue to simmer in the days leading up to the mass rallies of November 4. The south Tehran branch of Azad University was the scene of protests on Tuesday. Students chanted, 'The Russian embassy is the den of spies' using a term that was used against the American embassy after it was raided by revolutionaries in 1979.

  • Mostafa Kavakebian, former reformist Majlis representative from Semnan and publisher of Mardom Salari (NB 'sovereignty of the people') newspaper, sat down for an interesting debate with conservative Majlis representative from Tehran, Assadollah Badamchian. Badamchian sternly attacked the green movement, but Kavakebian wasn't about to roll over. (translation follows)

    Badamchian goes down memory lane and recounts some of the events surrounding the seizure of the American embassy in 1979, before chiding the green movement's planned slogan for November 4.
    Assadollah Badamchian:
    So what is the slogan? 'Neither eastern, nor western, a green national government.' No, a green Islamic government! Why national? [They say], because it is the day of the regime's nightmare of its own death; November 4 is a day of struggle against religious tyranny. They don't mention America or the den of spies. Why?

    Badamchian then faulted Mir Hossein Mousavi for declaring victory too early during a press conference on the night of June 12. Kavakebia rejoined with his own persuasive arguments.
    Mostafa Kavakebian:
    ...as for his [Badamchian's] comments about him [Mousavi] declaring that night that he was the winner... Well, Mr. Badamchian, go and look at the Islamic Republic News Agency's bulletin at 9:30 PM. It says that Mr. Ahmadinejad is the winner with 63% of the vote. (laughter) Before all the votes were counted! And that's exactly what the final count was: 63%. (applause) No, please, let's not allow this to become emotional. We want to have a debate. And when he [Mousavi] saw these announcements before the fact, he thought, I'm seeing the numbers for Tehran and the current situation, then I'm the winner. [...] Then he [Badamchian] says that the post-election demonstration was illegal. All right. What about Mr. Ahmadinejad's victory celebration in Vali Asr Square? Was that legal? He has the right to celebrate before the Guardian Council has made any announcements, but the people who have grievances should not come into the streets?

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