August 18, 2013 | 11:10 pm
Posted by Karmel Melamed
Back in December of last year I was utterly shocked and disgusted that several American based social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube had permitted Iran’s totalitarian fundamentalist Islamic Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to start his own pages and have a presence on their sites. As an Iranian American journalist, I am horrified on a daily basis to learn about the constant harassment, torture, imprisonment and cold blooded killings of journalists and bloggers in Iran face when they post stories or blog postings that the regime’s leadership in Iran does not approve of or deems “subversive of their reign”. Since 2009 Khamenei and his notorious “Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp” (IRGC)—a terrorist organization have spent millions of dollars to cut the Internet service or purchased software that blocks access to popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for average people in Iran. It is indeed ironic that the very man that has blocked and censored the people of Iran from using American social media sites, is now himself using these very sites to spread his own fundamentalist Islamic propaganda and anti-Semitic rhetoric. Moreover, I am still baffled at how the current Obama administration has continued to permit Khamenei, the leader of the IRGC-- a known terrorist organization, to even have a presence on American social media sites when U.S. federal laws specifically prohibit the use of U.S. servers for the purposes of advancing terrorism! Shame on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and other U.S. based social media websites for not holding Khamenei and his terrorist sponsoring thugs to same standards and rules as any other users who wish to perpatuate their terrorism and radical Islamo-fascist ideology through social media sites.
Since late last year, thousands of individuals have “liked” Khamenei on Facebook in hopes of starting a dialogue with the notorious dictator, but it is obvious to many of us that follow the Iranian regime that he is using U.S. social media sites to only advance his own agenda and spread his message of hate to the West. Since the social uprisings against Iran’s fraudulent election in 2009, student activists and political opposition groups have tried to use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to get their messages out and organize some sort of an organized movement that criticizes Iran’s current dictatorial regime. Yet these bloggers and activists have been shut down by Khamenei’s IRGC that has launched an all-out cyber war against these democracy activists and cracked down on them harshly. According to bloggers and activists in Iran that I am in touch with, the Iranian regime has recently even created a type of “Facebook police,” that is also in charge of searching people’s pages on Facebook for “offensive” comments and even photos of women in Iran who are not wearing the compulsory Hijab or head scarf! Still some activists and journalists in Iran have learned to bypass the censorship through proxy sites and software. But the Iranian regime has not let up on crushing nearly every single voice of opposition using social media sites to oppose them. Late last year, Sattar Behesti, a 35-year-old Iranian blogger based in Iran was allegedly tortured to death by the Iranian regime’s thugs after he continuously criticized the regime on his blog and on his Facebook page. Where was the U.S. and European media’s coverage and outrage over this heinous killing of Behesti who was merely voicing his opinion? How do the major western media outlets and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have the audacity to continue allowing Khamenei to spew his garage on their sites, but fail to uplift and support bloggers and journalists using words to fight an oppressive regime that they live under? It seems as if journalists and bloggers worldwide who enjoy the freedoms of expressing themselves and speaking out when wrongs may have occurred, are now asleep at the wheel when it comes to Iran’s leaders cracking down on journalists and bloggers in Iran!
While some may have thought that Khamenei and his IRGC clowns may have gotten away with spewing their garbage on U.S. social media sites, one sole Iranian human rights activist has kept the spotlight on their hypocrisy. That man is Roozbeh Farahanipour, a former Iranian student activist and founder of “Iranians for a Secular Iran” which is based in Los Angeles. Kudos to Farahanipour who started an online campaign to get Facebook to remove Khamenei's page and circulated a diagram and step-by-step directions in English and Persian on how to report the page to Facebook! It seems as if this sole former journalist and human rights activist is only one willing to hold Khamenei accountable and motivate an online campaign to force Facebook and similar sites to boot this tyrant dictator off U.S. social media sites. Those interested in joining his campaign can visit the “Kick Khamenei Off Faceb00k” page here.
Perhaps once average journalists, bloggers and freedom loving users of Facebook worldwide raise their voices in opposition to Khamenei’s presence of these social media sites, he will finally be booted off Facebook. Until then, we as Americans and those who cherish democracy must not remain silent while such a heinous dictator crushes the voices of opposition who yearn for freedom and denies the people of Iran the use of the same sites to express their desires to be free.
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