Thursday, February 21, 2013

Science in Iran

It's no secret that Iran is far from perfect when it comes to human rights, but the real problem is that the situation does not appear to be improving. Since Khomeini began the Islamist Revolution in the 1970s, Iran has been plagued by oppressive, even extremist governments. The administration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is no exception.
Recently, a physics graduate student at the University of Texas - Austin was sentenced to 10 years in Iranian prison on heavily trumped-up charges of espionage. The really unfortunate part is that the student, Omid Kokabee, was afforded neither his right to a fair trial nor his right to legal counsel. The Iranian government, it seems, is free to imprison anyone it likes for any reason, no questions asked. The word has gotten out, however, and Kokabee is far from without support.
As has become the case in the last few years, the internet is playing a huge role in this human rights case. There is a petition going around asking for a fair trial for Kokabee; it can be found here. The group of Robin Hood-esque hackers Anonymous, while not officially active on this case, is known for bringing justice to those who do not get it from the state. (They have been especially involved in taking down the Westboro Baptist Church). Of course, who knows whether this petition will bring any aid to Omid Kokabee, but it is a way to give EVERYONE the chance to help, or feel like they helped.
In the 1990's, when genocide was ravaging Rwanda, a majority of the world stood by and let it happen, either because they did not know it was going on, or because they could not be bothered to come to the aid of fellow human beings. Now, however, technology is omitting ignorance as an excuse for inaction. Within minutes of anything happening anywhere (with the exception of probably North Korea), it is on the internet for the entire world (except for, again, North Korea) to see. Now that you know, you should act!

A website for Omid Kokabee can be found here.
The article I used can be found here.

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