Fariborz Shamshiri

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Fariborz Shamshiri is one of the authors of the Rotten Gods website and an Iranian blogger. He has been referred as one of the most important voices of the Iranian blogosphere.[1] Rotten Gods was the most visited Iranian English blog during the 2009 Iranian disputed presidential election protests that kept news up-to-the-minute.[2] He has a long online career in standing up for human rights.[3]

Journalism[edit]

There is not much of information available about Shamshiri's Journalism practice except articles that he has written for different websites and papers. i.e. "One way street - Dialogue among civilizations or clash of civilizations?",[4] "Fariborz Shamshiri, Iranain Blogger: I am not sure Iran is running! I would say it is dying",[5] "Iranian Protesters Tortured in Prison"[6] about torturing prisoners in aftermath of post-election protests in 2009 and one of his recent articles "Welcome to Islamic Republic of Sweden".[7]

Blogging & Censorship[edit]

Shamshiri explains his early blogging experience and censorship of his blogs:[8]

I set up my first blog in Persianblog in 2004 and later wrote in my second blog in Blogfa, both are Persian language blogging systems. Authorities blocked both of my blogs and later they deleted them. I wasn't surprised because basically I was passed all red lines by criticizing clergies, their politics, human rights violations, religion and the whole shebang thing. I stopped blogging for awhile [sic] but later I decided to move on and write in Blogger.com that no one might delete my blog for its contents and at the same time I decided to write in English. I had other reasons to write in English language, probably I will discuss it sometime in future.

Later he moved to Mideast Youth[9] and then he titled his new blog Rotten Gods but it was soon blocked (or filtered) by Iranian government:[8]

I chose "Rotten Gods" for this blog because Gods are rotten and only imaginary fantasies that some humans came with it but as you might know, this didn't sit well with Islamic Iran authorities so they have blocked it since the early days of this blog. So my fellow Iranian audience use proxy softwares [sic] and other tools in order to reach out to this blog and other blocked blogs.

A Persian-English forum launched by Freedom House defined Rotten Gods blog as:[10]

This blog focuses on discussing human rights, covering everything from public stonings and floggings to women’s rights in sports.

In April 2008 he founded, Iranians' Blogs a directory of English blogs written by Iranians inside and outside of Iran.[11][12]

About Iranians' Blogs he says:[13]

This directory is an ongoing effort to showcase Iranian's English blogs and bloggers from Iran.

Since July 2008 he started writing in Amnesty International blogs about Human Rights violation in Iran. He called this blog Rotten Gods too.[14]

Plight of Iranian Bloggers[edit]

Fariborz reported on the unfortunate situation of bloggers in the Islamic Republic of Iran, noting execution of Yaghoob Mehrnehad and death of Omidreza Mirsayafi.

Omidreza Mirsayafi was a 28-year old blogger who found dead in Evin prison. He wrote:[15]

Blogging is the last resort for people to express themselves

Yaghoob Mehrnehad (Mirnehad) was Iranian journalist blogger who was executed by Iranian authorities on the charges of terrorism, enemy of God (Mohareb) and corrupt on earth (Mofsed-e-filarz). While some Iranian bloggers were trying to justify execution of Yaghoob Mehrnehad (Mirnehad), Fariborz defended him as a blogger and pointed out the great danger of Islamic Fascism in Iran. [16] [17][18]

Torturing[edit]

In December 2007, he founded Stop torturing us, a blog to watch the situation of torturing in Iran.[19] "Stop torturing us" covers systematic torture in Iran.[10]

Atheism advocacy[edit]

In May 2008 he founded Iranian Atheist but it wasn't active until recently.[20]

In September 2008, he founded Persian Atheist to use reason and science to tackle religious issues and Islamic ideology that he believes, are the root cause of our problems in Iran.[21] In Persian Atheist, he writes about human evolution [22][23] and he translated articles and wrote introduction about scientific topics related to our understanding of nature and animals, for instance "Are animals devoid from conscience and understanding?"[24] In an article titled "Before Islam, Allah was the name of an idol"[25] he researched about history of Allah's name before it called God of Islam and Arabian mythology.

Although in "Iranian Atheist" he argues that it is too dangerous for Iranian atheists to come out of closet[26] but he doesn't come short on asking Iranians that they shouldn't respect religions and beliefs because basically they have failed humans too, only basic ethical human values worth respect.[27] He merely asks that should we draw a line? and accept the fact that not every belief worth our attention and instead we should focus on good values that makes us better family, friend, neighbor and thus human.

He has written a detailed article about Apostasy in Iran[28] and its deadly punishments.

Death threats[edit]

In an interview he stated that he has been receiving death threats since he strongly criticized Islamic republic of Iran’s establishment, Sharia law and Islamic barbaric rules.[2]

In response to death threats that are all over in his comment sections[29] of some of his writings he wrote:[30]

It seems couple of posts on this blog haven't sit well with Islamists and they took it personally, and we all know what happens then. I guess I have to clarify my position once again. I do not restrain myself because you think my thoughts are disrespectful to your religion, faith or whatever you believe in. I think the only valuable things that we, humans have are our free thoughts and reason and I will not let you take away that too.

Committee to Protect Bloggers[31] has put together a full report about these threats to Fariborz's life:[32][33][34]

One electronic threat was that someone would “cut his throat.” In another message they wrote “the death is coming to you soon soon.” He says he still doesn’t know who send these messages (they’re all anonymous), but he suspects — based on past experience — range from Basij militia, Revolutionary Guards Corps Cyber Affairs Division and/or some mullahs or students of seminary schools.

Fariborz said: “this is not the first time I am receiving this kind of threats but this is getting out of hand.” He keeps multiple blogs in English and Persian language. “I have been writing for many years, it seems I made more enemies in radical camp both inside and outside of Iran.”

“In order to shut me down, they have targeted me with malicious death threat campaign for sometime,” Fariborz wrote in one post. Later, he said, after examining the IP addresses of the senders, “I think threats to my life comes from Iran’s intelligence agents; it is organized and systematic.”

Curt Hopkins from ReadWriteWeb[35] mentioned death threats to Fariborz's life and wrote: "Iran's lucky to have him. And seriously. Maybe he'll have to explain himself before G-d, but he sure as hell shouldn't have to do so before a mob of sloe-eyed nitwits."[36]

Israel's Channel 10 news program presented a piece about Fariborz blogs and the threats to his life that comes from radical Muslim groups. It said that he has gone hiding and he lives in total anonymity. This program was broadcast on 26 August 2010.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Novac, Adrian (2009-08-14). "Fariborz Shamshiri, Iranain Blogger: I am not sure Iran is running! I would say it is dying". Bucharest: HotNews. 
  2. ^ a b "Rise of Organized Discrimination Against Bloggers in Middle East". Mideast Youth. 2010-07-19. 
  3. ^ "Iranian atheist blogger receives threats". Committee to Protect Bloggers. 2010-07-24. 
  4. ^ "One way street". iranian.com. 2007-07-07. 
  5. ^ Novac, Adrian (2009-08-14). "Fariborz Shamshiri, Iranian Blogger: I am not sure Iran is running! I would say it is dying". Bucharest: HotNews. 
  6. ^ "Iranian Protesters Tortured in Prison". blogcritics.com. 2009-09-02. 
  7. ^ "Welcome to Islamic Republic of Sweden". allvoices.com. 2010-07-21. 
  8. ^ a b An excerpt from his blogger profile
  9. ^ List of his articles in Mideast Youth
  10. ^ a b English Blogestan Archives-Human Rights
  11. ^ Taluy, Tolga (2009-03-08). "Iranians’ Blogs". Glitter fear. 
  12. ^ Taluy, Tolga (2009-03-08). "Iranians’ Blogs". Season18 online Magazine. 
  13. ^ Iranians' Blogs - A directory of Iranian English language blogs
  14. ^ List of his articles in Amnesty International Blogs
  15. ^ Evans, Paul (2009-03-27). "Best of the Politics Blogs". New Statesman. 
  16. ^ "First executed Iranian blogger: Yaghoob Mehrnehad". Rotten Gods. 2008-08-07. 
  17. ^ "Yaghoob Mehrnehad a blogger journalist executed in Iran". STOP TORTURING US. 2008-08-06. 
  18. ^ "World Jewish Diplomatic Corps - Iran - UPR Submission to the Office of the High Commissioner". World Jewish Congress. 2010-02-01. p. 9. 
  19. ^ Stop torturing us
  20. ^ Iranian Atheist
  21. ^ "A price too high". Iranian Atheist. 2010-07-07. 
  22. ^ Neanderthals; extinct humans (Persian)
  23. ^ Is it hard to accept evolution for some? (Persian)
  24. ^ are animals devoid from conscience and understanding? (Persian)
  25. ^ Allah was the name of an idol (Persian)
  26. ^ "A price too high". Iranian Atheist. 2010-07-07. 
  27. ^ "Should you respect religions and beliefs?" (in Persian). Persian Atheist. 2010-01-08. 
  28. ^ Fariborz Shamshiri (2010-07-14). "Apostasy in Iran". Iranian Atheist. 
  29. ^ Muharram postcards
  30. ^ Fariborz Shamshiri (2010-07-18). "Response to Islamists reaction". Rotten Gods. 
  31. ^ Committee to Protect Bloggers
  32. ^ Lyons, Andrew Ford (2010-07-24). "Iranian atheist blogger receives threats". Committee to Protect Bloggers. 
  33. ^ Lucas, Scott (2010-07-27). "The Latest from Iran (27 July): Regime Wavering?". Enduring America. 
  34. ^ "Blogger iraní ateo recibe amenazas de muerte" (in Spanish). meneame. 2010-07-26. 
  35. ^ ReadWriteWeb
  36. ^ "Death Threats Against Iranian Atheist Blogger". ReadWriteWeb. 2010-07-29.