07/24/09 - 6:00am
by Chas Danner

the Power of Mom

8:30am update: Transcript added below the jump

Parvin Fahimi, the mother of Sohrab Aarabi, was reportedly told by the Iranian authorities not to make a scene at her 19 year old son’s funeral a few weeks ago. Plainclothes officers then attended to hear her ignore the warning and rage against the death of her son in a gut wrenching speech that ended with “No one can stop me! No One!” Since then no one has, and she seems to be daring them to try. Parvin FahimiWithin days of the funeral she was visited by Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard (another powerful woman in her own right) and footage of their meeting was made widely available across the internet. She also spoke with BBC Persian that week, a satellite network who’s broadcast the Iranian authorities routinely try to scramble.

Yesterday Parvin resurfaced to meet with the Tehran City Council and spoke at length about her ordeal, asking why her son was killed and who killed him (Videos: Part One & Part Two – transcript below). Her outspoken criticism of the circumstances of her son’s death may be setting her up for a dangerous confrontation with the regime, but with the attention she has drawn it might be very difficult for them to try silencing her without risking an even greater public relations disaster. It is reasonable to assume that if she were to be arrested she would instantly become one of the most famous prisoners in the country, and critical international attention would quickly focus on her captors, probably even resulting in a solid media hit.

Americans will remember a few years ago when another mom, Cindy Sheehan, spent her every waking moment stalking President Bush (W) over the death of her son in the Iraq War. She became the effective face of the anti-war movement for much of the country. While it remains to be seen how the grief-powered courage of Parvin Fahimi will play out, she should be watched closely by the international media, and if they’re smart the opposition inside Iran will work to raise her profile as high as they can. One mom might not be able to bring down a government, but this one seems like she might be willing to try. Mothers of murdered children simply have nothing left to lose.

***Fahimi was also already a member of an activist group called Mothers for Peace, a group of Iranian mothers who have spoken out in the past about the danger of Iran’s nuclear ambitions***

THERE'S MORE…..click.here…………

07/16/09 - 2:55am
by Chas Danner

The Sohrab Effect

Perhaps there are no protests in the streets during the day, or at least none that we are able to see. But where Sohrab lived people were apparently in the streets last night singing and chanting.

There are multiple reports that there as many as a hundred or more bodies still in the morgues of Tehran, which means hundreds of family members still don’t know if their loved one is alive or dead, their pressurized worry and confusion undoubtedly now close to breach. When the bodies are identified there could be hundreds of small funerals, hundreds of unforgettable speeches by livid and distraught mothers, hundreds of neighborhood blocks where candles are lit and chanting comes down from the rooftops to the street.

What started with Neda at her moment of death will now continue one by one with each hidden-away corpse, each family in a government office with a stack of gruesome photographs, each unstoppable mother in grief, each living snapshot of each dead child on a poster, a blog, a foreign newspaper…. one by one the logs of revolution are buried under the nervous eyes of plainclothes officers, yet still they are set ablaze. There is a reason genocidal killers use mass graves; it is how you remove the emotional ammunition provided by the mourning of individuals. In a place like Iran, even by word of mouth, even without the funerals themselves… each death has its consequence. Imagine hundreds of these videos exploding onto YouTube in the coming weeks….

How can they stop them all?

07/13/09 - 11:00pm
by Chas Danner


Sohrab AarabiTwo videos to see regarding Sohrab Aarabi’s death. The first is a long movie I made today compiling the 5 videos I have so far seen of his funeral, as well as the prior video of his mother outside Evin Prison inquiring about his whereabouts when she had not yet learned of his death. I added some still images and some textual explanations so that the narrative makes a little more sense. You can watch it here. (download here)

This kind of compilation is something I am going to try to do more of, focusing not on adding music or anything hyper-dramatic but just combining footage together so it takes less effort for the average person to see more footage and understand it better. I will add text where it seems appropriate and do my best to confirm that anything that gets written is accurate.

In addition a video of Sohrab’s candlelit neighborhood that has emerged is here. I included this video in the July 13th entry for the Rooftop Project.