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Home 2009 May 2009 Iran, Less Tyrannical Than New Hampshire?

Iran, Less Tyrannical Than New Hampshire?

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(This article was originally published on May 20th, 2009. It was written not long after the release of Roxana Saberi had been set free, but Sam Dodson remained in jail.)

I have this problem. I like to express my opinions in commentaries such as the one you´re reading now. I´ve been doing so for a little over three years now and have yet to make a penny from it. I´ve noticed that some people seem to appreciate my opinion more than others. I do my best to remain polite and respectful to all, even those who may not completely agree with the points I am trying to make. Up to this point I´ve had no agenda, no pressure to give other than my honest opinion of the state of our current reality and my honest view of current events as opposed to the propaganda that mainstream media outlets inundate us with. I have no reason to fear loss of income should I say something one of my sponsors might find objectionable and no reason to fear loss of access should I say something some politician or bureaucrat finds displeasing. I wish these things would change a bit as I am looking for employment at the moment, but until they do I remain uncompromised.

Lately, I have been writing quite a bit about a couple of journalists who have been in the custody of different statist regimes. One, Roxana Saberi, was being held in Iran and the other, Sam Dodson, is currently being held in the United States of America in the state of New Hampshire. In one article I compared the two jailed journalists and their plights. The points I wished to make were how hypocritical governments can be when they castigate another government for something that they themselves engage in and how media coverage of similar incidents can be quite selective.

After not having Internet access for about ten days due to a move and AT&T´s inability to quickly and efficiently fix a problem with my connection and provide excellent costumer service, I went online to catch up with my email and to see how much attention my latest article had gotten. I found one blogger who had made an interesting observation about my article. His contention was that Sam could be set free anytime he wanted simply by cooperating with the authorities. He stated that it was too bad Roxana Saberi did not have this convenience.

It is interesting to note that at the time of this writing Roxana Saberi has been set free while Sam Dodson still languishes in jail. While Mr. Dodson has yet to state his name for the record as requested by the court (not required by statute), Ms. Saberi cooperated fully with her captors (likely under a great deal of duress and in fear of the fate that awaited her) and is now on her way home. This prompted me to ask the question which is the title of this piece as well as a few others.

Is Iran less tyrannical than New Hampshire? I highly doubt it. I am fairly certain that the laws and regulations in Iran are far more restrictive and the punishments likely more severe than those in New Hampshire. When comparing the Saberi and the Dodson cases, however, I could be wrong in this assumption. While I would admit that if Ms. Saberi hadn´t received all the media attention and support she did her case might have turned out differently, I have to say that when push came to shove the Iranian government showed that it could be flexible in its judgments and even somewhat admit that it was wrong. Upon review the appeals court decided that Ms. Saberi´s original sentence was too harsh and suspended a two year sentence hence allowing for her immediate release. While they did not absolve her of all wrong doing, they at least showed compassion, leniency and an ability to see reason beyond their own dogma. Public international pressure likely had much to do with this decision.

My opinion is not that Iran is less tyrannical than New Hampshire, but that it is a less powerful nation than the United States of America. They are, in my humble opinion, more likely to succumb to international pressure because they are by necessity more concerned with their image and standing in the world than is any state belonging to the most powerful nation on earth. This coupled by the fact that Mr. Dodson´s case has yet to garner much if any mainstream media attention makes his continued imprisonment likely.

The continued attitude expressed by the above mentioned blogger, that Mr. Dodson could get out if he simply cooperated, is a prevalent attitude, however, and it therefore seems that perhaps many will continue to say "so what?" to Mr. Dodson's plight. I would like to address this concern.

It is true that Mr. Dodson could get out if he would simply tell his captors what they want to know. It is true that his fate lies in his own hands and all he has to do is verbally admit that his name is Sam Dodson to the "authorities" and he will be set free. All he has to do is be a good slave and submit to the masters and his nightmare will end. All he has to do is lick the boots of his oppressors and he can get back to his normal life. All he has to do is relinquish his rights and give up his battle to make government officials abide by their own dictates and respect individual rights as they are supposed to and we can all get on with business as usual, with government officials in their proper place oppressing the masses and demanding obedience without question, or else.

Mr. Dodson isn´t in jail because he wants to be there, he´s in jail because he´s fighting for us all. He´s fighting for government recognition of our rights just as the founders of this nation were, albeit in a much more subtle and peaceful manner. The local New Hampshire courts have shown their total disregard not only to the rights enshrined in the Constitution of the United States of America, but its own state´s constitution as well. Local officials have shown nothing but total disregard for the rule of law as set down in their own statutes. They have shown nothing but a desire for blind obedience much like third world dictators would expect from their populations. It is up to brave souls like Sam Dodson and other civilly disobedient activists to show them that their coercive and potentially violent actions will no longer be tolerated by a free people.

It is my understanding that a writ of habeas corpus has been submitted to the New Hampshire Supreme Court on Mr. Dodson´s behalf and could be ruled on as early as today. We shall soon see if our rights are still respected by government or whether we truly have devolved into a complete police state where human rights are suspended and we are all expected to submit to the demands of civil authorities and bureaucrats without question or face prison terms of indefinite duration. I wish Sam, and by extension the rest of us, the best of luck.

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