This year's Nobel Peace prize was awarded to an Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi in recognition of her courageous efforts in defending political prisoners.
Ms. Ebadi has emphasized that she shares this prize with a multitude of other Iranian human rights activists, many of them imprisoned by the Iranian regime. She has also said that this prize belongs to the whole Iranian Nation for their one hundred years of struggle to achieve democracy in Iran.
Ms. Ebadi has come under criticism from several sources. The most severe of these came from Islamic fundamentalists within Iran who see in this award a threat to their hold on power. Their criticism revolves around Islamic symbols such as head cover and hand shaking with men. As usual these issues are chosen to enrage the most fanatic Muslims whose understanding of Islam revolves around superficial issues. At the other end of spectrum she has been severely attacked by members of ultra-leftist "Workers Communist Party of Iran" ostensibly for statements made by her on the possibility of reconciling Islam with human rights and democracy. In between there are petty criticisms directed against her by amateur politicians using the internet. In effect, the most fanatic friends and enemies of Islam have united in their opposition to Ms. Ebadi and the whole issue that Nobel Peace prize represents.
The New York Times in its December 10 edition, in reaction to Ms. Ebadi's reception speech, slams her for not directly criticizing the Islamic regime in Iran and for her remarks on the situation of US prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Angry about the latter, it refers to a demonstration organized against Ms. Ebadi by one Azar Majedi who is introduced as a founder of London based "Organization of Women Liberation in Iran". In fact Azar Majedi is a founding member of "Workers Communist Party of Iran" whose membership is believed not to exceed 100 and whose main occupation is to disrupt meetings of Iranian exile groups. Much of this is pretended to be in opposition to the Iranian regime, but actually many of these actions have benefited the Iranian regime.
The views expressed by the New York Times represent those of US Establishment. Any criticism of Ms. Ebadi by US Establishment would be welcome by the Islamic Regime of Iran who is desperate to damage Ms. Ebadi's image and credibility. A very large responsibility rests on her shoulders and every word uttered by her is being scrutinized by her enemies and enemies of Iran to be used as excuse to discredit her. Ms. Ebadi cannot single-handedly confront every criticism directed against her nor is she in a position to take issue with complex matters of international politics. It is for the Iranian community and Iranian intellectuals to defend her against malicious criticism and not abandon the arena to her enemies. It would be useful if she chooses a team of advisors to consult with on political issues with which she may inevitably get involved.
... Payvand News - 12/18/03 ... --