The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A million rapes is a statistic. This one speaks for all of them.

This morning (3/25) I heard an hour of tragedy. We're aware of the tragedy already, but its just that, a tragedy, something about which we think we can do little, largely because our own government says they're telling those responsible to stop it.

Simin Behbahani's story told me how close this particular tragedy is to Rapid City. Read and listen to her story on WBUR's morning program, "On Point," consistently one of the best news and commentary programs you can find on radio.

I see some parallels between her story and those of some folks in the United States.

While I was listening to On Point, I found a previous story that had been run on NPR's Morning Edition. I Excerpted some of the text. You can read the whole thing here.

Tehran Halts Travel By Poet Called 'Lioness Of Iran'
by Mike Shuster

Morning Edition
[4 min 46 sec]
March 19, 2010
Listen to the Story

Iranian authorities recently confiscated the passport of Iranian poet Simin Behbahani (shown here at a press conference in Tehran in 2007), who was scheduled to travel to Paris to read her poetry at a conference. No charges have been filed against Behbahani; her passport has not been returned.

The authorities in Iran continue to block the travel of the nation's most prominent poet.

Last week, as she was about to board a flight to Paris, police seized the passport of Simin Behbahani, who is 82 and nearly blind.

Behbahani was interrogated all night long and then sent home — without her passport.

So far, she has not been charged with any crime. Neither the police nor the Revolutionary Court has asserted any legal basis for taking her passport.

'We All Thought She Was Untouchable'

Known as the "lioness of Iran," Simin Behbahani has been writing fierce poetry for decades, during the reign of Iran's Shah, during the Islamic Revolution, during the reign of the ayatollahs, and over the past year's political turmoil.

Read all of it.

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