In Brussels, Mr Osanloo described the intimidation which union members had faced, with some members having been arrested 10 or more times, and family members, including children, being beaten, detained and subjected to inhumane treatment. Asked how he coped with arrests and harassment, he replied: “We decided it is better to die than to live like this.”
Who amongst us cannot fail to be stirred. Incognito is a member of several Unions, including the Screen Actors Guild. I have one question for her, why can’t Hollywood give us a movie about these heroic people? As she notes:
He’s not the only labour activist in jail: Mahmoud Salehi and Ebrahim Madadi have also been incarcerated. And grocery worker and activist, Majid Hamidi, was recently attacked and shot seven times by several masked assailants. The attack is believed to have been government sanctioned. He is in critical condition.
Although Iran is a member of the International Labour Organization, they have no love or tolerance for labour organizations. Iranian hardliners obviously feel threatened, so are escalating their attacks and persecution of any group/s that might pose a threat to the Islamist status quo, from union activism to the recent student protests.
Regardless of how you feel about Unions, what is happening in Iran is shameful, though not surprising. We are so very fortunate, in the western world, to be able to exercise our right to belong to a Union or not, and to rest easy knowing we won’t risk our lives by making that choice.
If you are a member of a any union you can click here to send an urgent message to the International Labour Organization (ILO) calling on Ahmadinejad and others to stop the persecution, harassment and attacks on workers. As I have.
If you are a Union member click through and help support some of the bravest and most important people in the Middle East. The men and women struggling just to have their members treated as human beings.
Update: For more information on the plight of political prisoners in Iran I recommend the Iranian Political Prisoners Association.
For more on the specific case of Mansour Osanloo you can visit this section of the International Transport workers Federation website filled with ways to help support him and other oppressed Iranians. Here is the video they have prepared for their campaign to pressure the Iranian regime on his behalf.
Spread the word at your blog, on your mailing lists, at your union, wherever we can. Change in Iran, like in the old Soviet bloc, begins with highlighting the plight of those resisting.
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