Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What would Reagan do? Human rights in Iran edition

Michael Rubin notes how Ronald Reagan fought for freedom in Eastern Europe and contrasts that with the current Bush administration's handling of human rights abuses in Iran.

On April 9, 2007, Iranian security forces arrested Mahmoud Salehi, the former president of the Bakery Workers' Association in Saqez, a town in the Kurdistan province of northwestern Iran. They transferred him to prison in Sanandaj, the provincial capital, where he remains.

. . .

What a contrast there is between the silence greeting Salehi's pleas and those of Polish trade unionist Lech Walesa, who in August 1980 led a strike that the autocratic government in Warsaw deemed illegal. Rather than ignore the striking workers, U.S. president Ronald Reagan and various European leaders spoke out on Walesa's behalf. In 1983, Walesa won the Nobel Peace Prize and, upon communism's crumble, assumed Poland's presidency. Rather than enable history to repeat in Iran, though, U.S. and European silence condemns a new generation of Iranian Walesa's to rot in prison.

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