>Translator’s Note: The following is a English translation of a portion of the speech given by Shirin Ebadi, Noble Prize Laureate during a conference that took place in London on March 13th, 2011 entitled “Post 25 Bahman (March 1st)”. I decided to translate Mrs. Ebadi’s statements as she took the words out of my mouth… I couldn’t agree with her more. As Iranians we must try to express our demands in terms of specific, legal and attainable goals. As Mousavi has stated on so many occasions, the Green movement is a peaceful movement that does not wish “death” upon anyone… Expressing our demands in terms of statements such as “death to dictator” ,though might serve to make us feel better in the short run, will not get us any closer to democracy. Like Mrs. Ebadi I believe that we should make our demands based on tangible, democratic principles such as “Freedom of Expression”, “Freedom of Religion”, “Freedom of the Press” etc. These are the principles upon which we should base our demands. The form the government takes that respects our demands and implements them and what we call that government, whether it be an Islamic Republic, a Christian Republic, a Secular Democracy, etc. becomes less relevant, as long as we have achieved our democratic goals….
Shirin Ebadi London 13th March 2011
With regards to the arrests of Mr. Karroubi and Mr. Mousavi, I wrote a letter immediately to Mr. Ban Ki-Moon the Secretary General of the United Nations and I also presented a report to the Council of Human Rights. I didn’t do this because I was a supporter of Mr. Mousavi or Mr. Karroubi. I would have done the same thing for anyone arrested under the same circumstances. This was also not my first letter to the In the past two years alone, I have sent more than 150 letters. Every time I witnessed [human rights] violations, I felt it my duty to write a letter and present a report. By the same token, I felt it my duty to report on the violation with regards to the supposed “house arrest”, better stated the “incarceration” of Mousavi and Karroubi. In my opinion “house arrest” is not the correct definition here, as in reality they have been incarcerated. A prison is an enclosed room. The individual incarcerated is not allowed to leave the room. He/she is denied all communication with the outside world and not even permitted to prepare their own meals. We can call this prison Evin; we can call it Heshmatiye, or we can call it a house… [applause] Specifically, I view these acts as violations and reported them to [human rights organizations] because these gentlemen were imprisoned despite the fact that no charges were filed against them, in the absence of a trial and against the legal provisions of the Islamic Republic, in other words, the government did not abide by its own laws.
Let us now examine the difference between civil aspirations versus political aspirations. When we make claims such as, “death to this person or the other”, or we state that we want a democracy, or we say death to dictator, that we do not want a dictatorship, or statements such as “we need to completely eliminate the current Constitution or eliminate the Valayat-e-faqih” [supremacy of the jurist]; when we make these type of significant statements, in other words statements that are legally vague and difficult to quantify, what does that mean? Let us define our demands more specifically and simply. I want freedom of expression. I want the freedom of religion. I want the freedom to have free and fair elections. I want to have the same rights as that of my brother. These are my demands. Any government that grants me these rights is acceptable and good in my eyes, whether it be called an Islamic Republic, whether we call it a Monarchy, or whether its called a Christian Republic… call it what you wish… that is not of importance… these are my demands… I view any government that grants me these rights as acceptable and good… What’s the point in saying I want democracy? Do you recall the mistake we made during the Shah’s era? Do you recall the statement “… let him go… the rest will be fixed…” Yes, we witnessed his departure, but nothing changed…. [applause]…..