Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Criminal Activity?

Criminal Activity?
Photo & Text Copyright 2009 Seattle Daily Photo. All rights reserved, including reproduction or republishing.
Could I be arrested for taking and posting photos here? Two days ago fellow CDPB photoblogger Amir Sadeghi was arrested in Tehran by Iranian government authorities in what seems to be a further concerted action to suppress and intimidate journalists and bloggers from sharing information or images of anti-government demonstrations. Amir was picked up at his place of work, a newspaper, on February 8th because of photos he took of the violent government crackdown on a December 27 demonstration and published on his personal blog, He also publishes Tehran 24. He had previously been arrested and released last June after a number of days in prison. At that time he had been randomly picked up while out in the streets photographing the huge public demonstrations after the controversial presidential election. 65 journalists and bloggers are currently reported to be held by the Iranian government, and others have fled the country seeking asylum in France. Internet bandwidth, use of satellite dishes and other media access is being severely limited in the lead up to the 31st anniversary observances of the 1979 Iranian revolution on February 11.

In the USA I still have the hard won rights of free speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press that our own revolution secured. That is not to say that my own government hasn't been sorely tempted to limit these rights for some or to allow chummy big business entities to buy up all the media outlets, or that it has been perfect in its toleration of political dissent. Several of its branches have been shown to have engaged in highly questionable covert practices over many years to disrupt and destroy dissenting groups, the most notorious and damaging to civil rights being the McCarthy era red baiting and the secret anti left Cointelpro efforts of the 60s through 80s.

Still, I can go out on any public sidewalk or street in my city and take a photograph of what's going on, even of police actions and political demonstrations, and post that photo to my blog without being hassled. People in disagreement with my views on things are still likely to defend my right to express those views, and I their opposing views. I am not afraid that a photo I post will bring someone to the door to arrest me. Amir is now in very grave danger for doing just that. Foreign journalists previously detained by the Iranian government for many months before being released confirm that they were beaten and coerced by Iranian authorities into making false confessions. We can support Amir's release through spreading the word to our friends, our government officials and the UN. Please keep him and his parents in your thoughts and prayers. He's just a young photographer and systems administrator who had the hobby of photoblogging his beautiful city and sharing his culture with us one day at a time. He and many other ordinary citizens have been overtaken by historic events in their country. They need our support, to know the world is watching. At some other time it could be you or me thrown into prison and facing who knows what consequence for doing what we do every day, taking photos. We ask for his safety and immediate release, along with the other 64 journalists and bloggers being held.

iPhone Wednesday #30: The Counter


It's bonus day, being iPhone Wednesday. Since Petrea of Pasadena Daily Photo is sharing an iPhone shot of the build it yourself gourmet burger restaurant, The Counter, in her fair city, I thought I'd show you the new Seattle installation next to Trader Joes in the Ballard Blocks complex that surrounds Edith Macefield's little house. The actual counter is beyond that divide, with full bar service and sports TV viewing. As you can see, the fries are well thought of :-). I had a veggie burger, and it was house made from identifiable veggies, and very yummy. 


Maya said...

He's been arrested again? Oh, this makes me so sad! I hope he gets out soon.

A well written post. We should be really grateful to be able to do what we do without being persecuted for it!

Kate said...

I'm a little confused about the photos, Kim. Should there be 2 or 3? I see two and then a huge empty space.

Luis Gomez said...

Really sorry to hear that Amir has been arrested.

Ming the Merciless said...

Sorry I didn't get a chance to post an iPhone photo this week. Because of work schedule and trying to be more organized, I have been uploading my photos on weekends and post-dating them.

I will try to remember to post an iPhone photo for next week.

Virginia said...

Kim, Is Amir the one that was arrested a few months ago? This all seems so familiar and happening with too much regularity. So very sad.

Jilly said...

Yes, when I saw Meead's blog I said out loud, 'Oh no, not again!' It's hard to imagine how life is for him. How terrifying for him and his family. I'm sure we all pray for him and by joining the Facebook page at least show support. You are so right, how easy we have it.

Good for you reminding us all, Kim.

brattcat said...

Thank you, Kim, and to all others in the CDP community for keeping us informed.

Don and Krise said...

I hope he is released sooner than last time. We can only pray for his safety right now.

Chuck Pefley said...

Fear of truth and public opinion seem to be the issue. That a government could and would act in this manner is not surprising. Light on darkness is shunned by those not proud of their actions.

We are fortunate indeed to be able to stand with this woman at Kerry Park and exercise our constitutional rights. My hope would be the extension of these "civil liberties" to all of mankind.

Thanks for your public stand on this issue, Kim!!

Nathalie said...

Yes thank you for letting me know Kim - international pressure is a fantastic lever, we must use it!

Janet M Kincaid said...

Kim: Thanks for alerting us to this. With my new blog build, I've been out of the loop with a lot of other blogs, but hope to get reconnected with many soon.

What we do here--as writers and photographers--is about more than just art or a hobby. It's about making our voices heard in ways that are revolutionary, in and of themselves. I hope Amir is released soon and can continue his work.

Bibi said...

Yes, I'd heard this through another blog. I am thinking of him. Along that line, though Belgrade is far from Iran both geographically and culturally, I am occasionally watched when I pull out my camera with anything more than a shorter lens.

Re: the cafe; another place to hit next time!

Louis la Vache said...

«Louis» applauds you for posting about the situation in Iran. We need to support the Green Revolution in Iran. The silence from the current administration is appalling.

Today is 11 February. The thugs running Iran have promised a 'telling blow to the West' today. «Louis» fears that many participating in the Green Revolution in Iran will die today.

Louis la Vache said...

More about what is going on in Iran HERE and HERE.