A Mensch

Now, to stop messing around and being so silly for a moment – don’t miss this blog about Ramin Jahanbegloo’s case. It’s full of useful information, which saves us the trouble of looking via Google news. But it’s all pretty alarming.

A prominent Iranian-Canadian arrested in Tehran, reportedly under accusations of espionage, is being held under circumstances similar to those of murdered Montreal photojournalist Zara Kazemi because Iran is loath to let foreign diplomats meddle in domestic cases, government officials and those connected to the Kazemi case warned yesterday. Ramin Jahanbegloo, an internationally known human rights advocate, was arrested around April 27 when he stopped at the Tehran Airport on his way from India to attend a conference in Brussels…When the former University of Toronto professor failed to arrive in Brussels on Saturday, his colleagues contacted Canadian officials. Ottawa has already made inquiries of Iranian officials in Tehran and in Canada. Even with reports last night that Mr. Jahanbegloo has already been placed under medical care, Ottawa has been unable to secure a visit with the Canadian citizen…Mr. Jahanbegloo is reportedly being held in the notorious Evin prison, where many political prisoners have reported being tortured until they confessed to crimes…A friend of Mr. Jahanbegloo, Shahram Kholdi, said the academic has already been transported to hospital for unknown medical treatment, CBC reported yesterday.

I do not like the sound of that at all. Or of anything else in that article. It’s very very worrying. Don’t do it, Iran.

I’m outraged,” said Mohamed Tavakoli, a professor of Near and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Toronto who worked with Mr. Jahanbegloo and invited him to Toronto for the 25th anniversary of the Iranian revolution in 2004. “He represents a political trend in Iran that focuses on the civilization of dialogue, respect for difference and calls for tolerance,” Mr. Tavakoli said in an interview. “As an intellectual, he takes pleasure in conversing with people of various political cultural persuasions. His love for difference should not be a political charge against him.”…Mr. Tavakoli called his colleague, “charismatic, a mensch of a guy” and “a global intellectual, a truly cosmopolitan intellectual.”

Cosmopolitan intellectuals are just the kind we want to hold onto for dear life. Plus he’s a mensch. (I do love it when guys named Mohamed call a friend a mensch. It makes me get all chokey. It’s so cosmopolitan.)

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