Monday, November 02, 2009

Gutsy mathematician

This fellow deserves to have his courage widely known:
It was near the end of a meeting Wednesday between Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and a group of university students when the man who is Iran's highest political and spiritual authority asked if there were any other questions.

He spotted a young man in the corner with his hand raised and called on him, asking him to go to the podium to speak through the public address system.

What followed was an extraordinarily candid 20-minute speech by the student, later identified as national math Olympiad winner Mahmoud Vahidnia, in which he publicly and explicitly criticized Khamenei for the government's conduct in the unrest that followed Iran's June 12 elections. * * *

He criticized the violence against protesters during the election. He said Khamenei lived in a bubble, unaware of the sentiments against his rule. He critiqued what he described as Iran's "cycle of power" in which entrenched elites in institutions such as the Guardian Council and Assembly of Experts exert what he described as a stranglehold over the nation's political life.

He criticized state broadcasting and the media, saying their unwillingness to criticize Khamenei deepened Iran's divisions. * * *

On Friday night the Sharif University dormitories erupted with cries of "God is great!" and "Death to the dictator!" in support of their fellow classmate. University activists warned that if any harm comes to the “courageous student" the campus would explode.
Good luck, mister. (Via TNR.)

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