Sunday, February 12, 2006

 

Bus Drivers Strike in Tehran

Media omissions and distortions

I found this report interesting:
The media have barely mentioned the story, even though it cuts through the nonsense about a clash of civilisations between the 'West' and the 'Muslims'. The Muslims of Tehran are proving themselves to be anything but a monolithic bloc happy to follow the orders of the ayatollahs and their demented President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There are huge class divisions to begin with, and close to the bottom of the heap are the city's bus drivers. The authorities refused to allow them an independent trade union and ruled that an 'Islamic council' in the offices of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company would represent their interests. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the pious have not proved the doughtiest fighters for better pay and conditions. The bus drivers claimed that managers were stealing money from their pay packets. They formed their own union and threatened to strike at the end of January.

Ahmadinejad won the rigged Iranian elections last year with a promise to stand up for the little man against the Islamic Republic's corrupt elite. Faced with a choice between sticking to his word and carrying on with despotism, he showed his true colours by allowing the most ferocious crackdown Tehran has seen since the religious authorities crushed dissident journalists and students in 1999.
Having failed to break the strike through indimidation, the regime has resorted to mass arrests and to roughing up the driver's wives and children.

The article goes on to note:
Even if you take the lowest estimate, there are as many striking bus drivers in prison in Tehran as rioters prepared to play the worn-out game of throwing Molotov cocktails at Western embassies.
The aspirations of Tehran's bus drivers appear to be the same as those of most people on the planet: To be treated fairly and to be allowed a chance to improve their lives.

Cartoon riots or not, this type of repression should always be newsworthy. But the mullahs know how to manipulate the media so that most Americans get a distorted impression of Iranian society, the one the mullahs want to convey.

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