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Published in the 1-15 Jan 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Shirin Ebadi is a true-blooded liberal 

The acceptance speech of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi, the first Muslim woman from a Muslim country packed a real surprise for the US/UK capitals and their captive media, who had held the Nobel peace prize award to an Iranian women’s rights activist, as a one more tool to crack down on Iranian Mullahs and prepare her for possible leader to rule Iran after the planned post-regime change in Iran. 

In the event, Shirin Ebadi in her speech did not leave any doubt that she was a true-blooded liberal of the kind that has to make no apologies for Islam, in the subject of either women’s rights, human rights or freedom of religions. 

Standing on the world stage with the international media fully tuned to receive a pro-West and anti-Islamic and anti-Mulla diatribe that could further fuel western propaganda against Islam and Muslim Middle East, she proved that she was nobody’s ‘poodle’. 

A strong person that had gone through life’s ups and downs was not prepared to lose the chance to address the world audience with some very unpalatable truths. 

She directly attacked the US/UK coalition for attacking Iraq and Afghanistan on the pretext of fighting international terror. She pointedly mentioned the horror of Guantnamo Bay prisoners, whose imprisonment was in abject defiance of international human rights and Geneva Convention commitments by the US. 

She brought out the stark Western discriminations when she questioned "why is it that some in the past 35 years, dozens of UN resolutions concerning the occupation of the Palestinian territories by the state of Israel have not been implemented promptly?" and " yet, in the past 12 years, the state and people of Iraq, once on the recommendation of the Security Council, and the second time in spite of U.N. Security Council opposition, were subjected to attack, military assault, economic sanctions, and ultimately, military occupation?".

She proudly registered her multiple identities, as an Iranian, a Muslim and a woman and vowed to work in the cause of defending human rights in Iran as well as all around the world. 

In conclusion, she said: If the 21st century wishes to free itself from the cycle of violence, acts of terror and war, and avoid repetition of the experience of the 20th century - that most disaster-ridden century of humankind, there is no other way except by understanding and putting into practice every human right for all mankind, irrespective of race, gender, faith, nationality or social status.

Post-speech, there is the imminent danger that Shirin Ebadi will be dropped by the US/UK/ISRAEL axis as persona non grata for the ungrateful tone of her speech criticizing the West from one of the most Nobel platform of the world, over the worst of criminal offences that US and UK are inflicting on a hapless world. If she had been as pliable as the US/UK/ISRAEL axis had expected of her, she could have been projected as the next leader of Iran, if and when the axis could manage a regime change in Iran, either through invasion or manipulations.After all they would not have okayed a Nobel Peace prize for anything less than their own grand designs.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai 

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