Fundamentals of democracy

Photo essay: Shirin Ebadi speaks to Iranian Americans

by talieshah
Shirin Ebadi Lecture - May 4th, 2008 @Campbell Community Center (Northern California) I have put my notes from this lecture on the photos. The main things I took away from the lecture was that violence will not solve anything, and everyone can help bring about the needed changes. For more information on the one million signature campaign, please visit: Meanwhile a Human Rights Seminar is being held June 20th – 22nd in San Jose, northern California, please visit:, you may remember this article on about the planning of this seminar. Speakers include Mehrangiz Kar, Abdolkarim Lahiji, Ahmad Karimi Hakkak, Iraj Mesdaghi, Mansour farhang, Monireh Baradaran and...


Dissident? Ebadi?

by Free Thinker (not verified) on

Noble peace prize is the most politically motivated of awards in the world. A cursury look at the list of award winners is enough to tell you the story. Among the notable ones are names that you should recognize. From Martin Luther King Jr. to Henry Kissinger, from Menachim Begin to Lech Walesa, from Yasser Arafat to Nelson Mandela, and from Aung San Suu Kyi to Shirin Ebadi, all have had politcal functions of one sort or another. The case of last two awardees, however, makes for an interesting comparison:

The citation for Suu Kyi reads:
"for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights" - note the emphasis on "non-violent struggle." Ebadi's citation is slightly but purposefully different:
"for her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children." - note "efforts for democracy ... "

Two women, nearly the same age, both living under despotic regimes and both working for restoration of democracy and human rights. One, Suu Kyi, is noted for her non-violent opposition to the despotic regime and has suffred six years of imprisonment, hardship, still under house arrest and deprived on contact with the outside world, whereas the other, Ebadi, is only noted for her efforts, was only temporarily detained for six weeks, has collaborated intimately with the law makers of the regime in order to modernize or democratize their laws and make them more appealing to the Western democracies, was welcomed by the President of the regime (Khatami) and reportedly dedicated her award to him, and is allowed to travel around the word, deliver speeches and give interviews and return home without a single nuisance from the authorities?

Now can you tell me if Ebadi is a dissident ? If so a dissident to the US governement or to the Islamic government? Or perhaps the Islamic regime under which Mrs Ebadi is living, is not half as despotic as the regime ruling Myanmar (Burma)? Surely these two women can't both be oppsing two dictatorships and be regarded as dissidents?



Iran is not ready for a European style democracy

by XerXes (not verified) on

Just take a look at the LA based channels and Zionazis around this media to realize that many Iranians aadam besho nistan. Shirin Ebady probably knows that but can't come up and say it that hey LA people, you are so freaking backwards that IR looks like a democratic regime comparing to what you stand for. She is nothing great but she is not a sellout.


She is not perfect but has a few good points.

by Tahirih on

The fact that she believes change has to come from educating people and by changing laws makes sense to me. Also as a Bahai , I am delighted to see her voicing our plight. But I have to say , that helping poor in Iran is just a band aid solution.

All in all she is doing a lot for our country.




well said Anonymous1326

by MRX1 (not verified) on

couldn't have said it better myself. apparently no one can provide examples of her great work for us to admire!!! and what's the point of these useless seminars? she once had perfect opportunity when the eyes of the world was on her and she blew it! instead of talking about Iran and human right in Iran, she talked about Guantanamo, Palestine and the usuall .... share that luny lefties talk about. well her 15 minutes of fame is gone now and no one realy cares what she says.


To Anonymous1326

by Anonymous657 (not verified) on

Thank you very much for the wonderful comment. You said it, so accurate and to the point.


What was achieved here?

by Anonymous1326 (not verified) on

Dr. Shirin Ebadi seems to be more concerned about lectures and human right activities in United States and Europe than inside Iran as she is often touring. That's fine. Everyone, even Shirin Ebadi needs to take care of personal business too but calling that working for Iranian people's huamn right is misleading. Shirin Ebadi has made it clear many times (same in this occasion, slide #76) that she believes Islam (of some sort) is compatible with democracy and human right while insisting that government should be seperate from religion. It is unclear if government should be seperate from religion then why do we need to find a compatibility between a religion and democracy and human right?

Ms. Ebadi says that Hitler was elected through democratic process and from this report, it is not clear what she really means by that. Is democracy bad because Hitler might get elected? Does she want to compare the current situation in Iran with Hitler's government and conclude that Islamic regime at least is better than Hitler's even though Hitler was elected democratically? In another part she speaks about Saddam and how cruel he was and then points at Iraq being rich in oil?! Is that another of one of those comments like she made about Guantanamo detention center another time? What is the point and what is its relation with human rights in Iran and the campaign of 1 million signature?

Ms. Ebadi speaks about fixing unjust laws as basic element to establish democracy and human right in Iran. That is very nice but that does not go far enough as expected from a so called human right activist and lawyer who has also won a nobel prize for that. At this very moment, there are many laws in Iran which can be compared with those in advanced societies but what counts is not law by itself but "respecting the law" by government and implementing it in society in a just manner. The most important problem in Iran is that rulers do not respond to society and are not responsible for their wrong doings. They commit murder, they steal and violate societies rights in every corner and every level. The judiciary system is more corrupt than the rest of them. There is a race in corruption among different portions of the ruling system and the magnitude of corruption has surpassed any reasonable boundaries and limits.

Iranian youths and minors are being executed regularly and poverty and dictatorship has left the door open for violating helpless people's rights in every way. What does speaking to a group of comfortable Iranians in north California do for them? Ms. Ebadi recommends giving charity to needy Iranians inside as a way of dealing with problems in our country and I wonder how is that going to fix anything related to the subject of discussion? In my view, what Ms. Ebadi is doing is just taking advantage of her celebrity status, as a Nobel winner, to advance her own personal status. Attaching any importance to her dull and diplomatic speeches is pointless and waste of time.


Shirin Ebadi

by eimanz on

Shirin Ebadi Rocks my Socks. Enough said. 

Cy of Persia

It has nothing to do with Marjan

by Cy of Persia on

This is a Rogaine commercial.

How many bald guys does it take to watch a token Noble prize winner talk?  I count 7. How many do you see?

Are blad guys same as the other guys?

No! Because,  the more hair your lose, the more head you get!



by EDS on

Who conspired to change the photo on the front page to that of a row of lookalike Iranian men with no hair on their heads. Is Marjan secretly working here!


She is a good ambassodor for

by abc (not verified) on

She is a good ambassodor for all Iranian women. She is not perfect but she is out there and doing something, which is a lot more than us latte drinking so-called liberals.



by Anonymouse on

Did you read the photo essay? If not, please go back, go through ALL photos and then ask again.  If you're going to talk about Ebadi at least find out what she has said most recently in this photo essay.

If she talks to Khamenei, will you give her any credit or will you ask that she slaps someone?!


To Irandokht

by Anonymous657 (not verified) on

Would you please enlighten us and tell us some examples of Ebadie's works that you claimd has done for Human rights. As you said it is easy to sit and start harfe moft zadan va tarafdary beeja kardan as Deegaran, please, gadam ranjeh farmoodeh va bh Iran sary bezaneed, and see that still in Iran people get stoned, hanged and their limbs get cut and Ms. Ebadi make her trips to USA and Europe. She did not do anything for Iranians, for democracy and human rights, of course for propaganda she did a lot. Why she did not try to sit with her hamshary Ali Khamanei and talk about human rights with him. Don't they speak the same language? Believe me they are all Qajars relatives (Pass mandeh Gajarha)who try to destroy Iran and sell it to its enemies. Qajars considered themselves first as muslim, second as turks, third as friends and citizens of all other countries and at the end when something was left then they would consider themselves as Iranian(Iranforosh). IRI does the same thing and Shirin kanoom does not care about it. It is important to be famous and rich everything else is just propaganda!!!!



by Anonymouse on

You said it sister! You go girl!


Merci with all my heart

by grateful viewer (not verified) on

Talieh khanom you are a gem. Thank you so much for all the long hours and hard work you put into your contributions to I really and truly appreciate it.


Dr Ebadi's continuous fight for human rights

by IRANdokht on

So many people here are constantly criticizing Dr Ebadi and downplaying her tiredless fight for justice and human rights in Iran. some even go as far as saying if she's really fighting how come she's not dead yet!!!! WOW the boundaries of nonsense is being stretched here every day!!

Funny how most of these critics are not even brave enough to sign on with their IDs (maybe afraid of receiving criticism per personal contact route?)

It's easy to sit outside the rink and yell "lengesh kon", she's too classy to respond to that, but someone ought to tell her critics: gar to behtar mizani bestaan bezan!!!

I wish we had more people like Dr Ebadi and less cowards and harf-moft-zan's (sorry couldn't find the right translation for that!)


Thank you for the report of the seminar. More power to all of you who work so hard for these noble goals.




by Anonymouse on

She talked about all subjects, human rights, women's rights, democracy and the subject that is most near and dear to us at  Islam!


some ? for Ebadi's supporters

by Anonymous7678 (not verified) on

There were many Iranains who have done a lot for Human Rights and freedom in Iran and they were all imprisoned or killed by IRI. Why something like that did not happen to her? When this question was asked by many Iranians, all of a sudden the IRI media claimed that shirin Ebadi was threaten by some unknown people and the president Ahmadynejad had ordered protecting her!!!!!! . Does'nt sound suspicious and funny?
Many people believe that when she was arrested many years ago(for one week) she made a deal with IRI to collaborate with them and not to wrok against the goverment and that was the reason why she became free.
Faribours said in his comment that Ebadi considers herself as a muslim because "She is a well educated Diplomate. Promisses everybody everything. For a diplomate it is nothing wrong with this atitute". Dear fariborz didn't Ayatollah Komeine give the same promisses to the people about getting everything for free or sharing the money from selling oil with all Iranian? Do you consider Komeine as a good diplomate and well educated? That was a fraud(Hogeh va Kalak) in the same way like Shririn Ebadi promisses. If she is well educated why the hell she believes in Islam? Did she read the Quran? Does she know the meaning of Quran verses that starts with Oqtello(kill) and end with Oqtello?
P.S. Please don't try to fool the people with your propagandas.


Mission Statement :)

by Professor Danesh, Preparing for Retirement (not verified) on


Mission of Man on Earth

With only one mission in mind
And that mission is
To loot and plunder the earth
As his country's arch enemy
To its last fiber
To accumulate wealth
Where ever he goes
And whatever the opportunity avails itself to him
Before closing his eyes
To say good bye

--Prof. Dr. Abol Danesh


She has done a lot and will be an inspriation

by Alborzi (not verified) on

She has defended most political prisoners and people condemned to death, she is the firs Iranian woman to have achieved so much and she keeps doing what she believes in. Its really a mistake to compare her to a promiscuous woman in LA, that she is not and falls short. But she is an inspiration for people who fight for human rights in Iran and have some Iranian values.


Ungrateful bunch

by EDS on

In every way.

Talieh, thank you very much for putting this together. It was great. I enjoyed it.

And thank you Shirin Ebadi for your work to improve life in Iran for many.


Miss/Mrs(?) EBADI in America, comments on comments

by Faribors Maleknasri M.D. (not verified) on

1. She is not doing enough......
**Comment: She is. She has allready earned millions, she makes nice holiday in the United states. are all these stil not enough? Besides I think she is stil young enough to multiply her wealth. we must just give her time. she will do it.
2. She belongs to those categories who believe in reform **Comment: I think she does not. But doing so as if she does makes her possible to earn even more money without gettin in conflict with the rules and being accused being enemy of the constitution.
3. As some quote, she is Muslim first
** Comment: She is not. Otherweis she had put on her scarf.
4.A non-iranian tradition in Iran for the last 1000 years!
**Comment: Hier is somehow the dress-code meant? Ebadi without scarf? In fact a non Iranian Tradition.
5. Whom should we trust?
**Comment: GOD in whom we trust.
6.In one of her speechs she mentioned that she considers herself first as a Muslim
**Comment: She is a well educated Diplomate. Promisses everybody everything. For a diplomate it is nothing wrong with this atitute. But how about her scarf?
7. women's freedom
**Comment: In western countries women`s freedom teaches them: take your breasts under yozur arms or throw them over your shoulder and go to the struggle for life. take these weapons with you. apparently Islam has no idea what women`s freedom is. I for my part hope that it remains so.
8. She has done very little and she will do very little
**Comment: I think she has done a lot and she will stil do more. Just lokk how much money she has earned. very much. and we "IRANIAN"s? Most of us in the diaspora live from social helps. I think it is we who have done little. The most weighty thing we have done was leaving Iran without having a logical reason for it. Now we are searching for formidability by reading about and hearing to likewise unpersons as Miss/mrs. ebadi. Unfortunately it does not give us any satisfaction. Unfortunately.
9. Many Iranians,men and women have done much more than Shirin Ebadi
**Comment: here are again those 30 million who are named in west as fanatic moslems meant who throw the TAGHUT out of Iran 1978/79 once for ever. They count today 7ty Million. They have done a lot and are continuing to do even more.
10.were just looking for an Iranian woman simply to embarass the Iranian government.
**Comment: may be to embarace the honorable Iranian nation? I think so. No difference betweenIranian government/Iranian nation. "They" know it. a government without being powered by nation can be very easy brought to fall.
11. She just wants a little more freedom.
**Comment: Impossible. she has allready maximum Freedom to perform her job, earning money.
12. there is a vaccum. Calling all intellectual Iranian women to fill in.
**Comment: May be it is so. But the intelectual Iranianfemales - they are all intelectual - are busy at home. well dressed, they are helping their country to achieve more and they are busy with protecting what they have achieved allready in the last 30 years. Greeting


A Source of Pride

by Jaleh Alami (not verified) on

I am so very proud of Dr. Ebadi and all that she has done for Iran and Iranians.

It is so easy for you guys to sit outside of Iran and judge this remarkable woman by made-up standards of what? Hollywood?!! I challenge each and every one of you to go back to Iran and do for one day, for one hour, what she has done on a tireless basis for decades in Iran. I challenge you to fear your life and that of your loved ones, and still show up to court houses, defending those no one dares to defend. I challenge you to put your actions where your mouth is, and to do what she continues to do for Iran and Iranians.

She is plenty brave, for all of us women and all of you men put together. She doesn't need to prove anything to anyone. She is who she is and continues to be--the voice of the silenced and disadvantaged in Iran.


She is not doing enough......

by Kurdish Warrior (not verified) on

She belongs to those categories who believe in reform within IRI system. They are either blind to see the truth or just IRI apologists. I wish some one with more charisma, character who truly believes in freedom would've won the price. As some quote, she is Muslim first and Iranian second and that would fit the Mullahs just fine.


A non-iranian tradition in Iran for the last 1000 years!

by Anonymous945 (not verified) on

The political and social situation of Iran is very similar to the time of Qajars. Just look at the fundament of the IRI and compare it with the Qajar dynasty then you will see the same pattern of mismanagement, mafia, vatan foroshy, crime etc.


Whom should we trust?

by Anonymous7678 (not verified) on

In one of her speechs she mentioned that she considers herself first as a Muslim woman and then in second place as an Iranian. Which one has priority, being Muslim or being Iranian in regard of being a decent person/decent Iranian? If she fight for human right in Iran then she should know that Islam, which she is proud of being one of its followers, is against Human Right specifically against women's freedom.


She has done very little and she will do very little

by Concerned Iranian (not verified) on

Many Iranians,men and women have done much more than Shirin Ebadi has ever done for the rights of Iranians. And none of these people won the Noble prize. Why did they give her that to her anyway? I suspect someone knew someone and they were just looking for an Iranian woman simply to embarass the Iranian government. Well, the plan did not work. She is not really against the government. She just wants a little more freedom. As you see, there is a vaccum. Caling all intellectual Iranian women to fill in.