Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bloggers Are Dying: Join Our Blog Rally (Updated - See Below)

I have never been a person who would stoop to self-censoring and I never will be. I'd rather not write at all if I have to stop being frank and honest in my words. -Omid-Reza Mir-Sayafi

Today Roxana Saberi spends her birthday on a hunger strike in Tehran's Evin Prison, where she has been incarcerated for espionage. According to NPR, "The Iranian Political Prisoners Association lists hundreds of people whose names you would be even less likely to recognize: students, bloggers, dissidents, and others who, in a society that lacks a free press, dare to practice free expression."

Hearing reports like these made me want to do a ribbon campaign. Blue for blogging.  So I've emailed a group of blog friends to ask them to join me, and if you're reading this and have a blog, website, or facebook page, I'd like to ask you to join me as well.

It's been thought of and done before, of course, as I found out soon enough when I did a quick search for blue ribbon campaigns. So I went ahead and borrowed a blue ribbon and am "wearing" it on my blog this week in gratitude for the very fact that I can do so, openly, without fear of suppression, persecution, or death.

Please consider placing a blue ribbon on your blog / website / facebook, myspace, or twitter page this week in honor of the journalists, bloggers, students, and writers who are imprisoned in Evin Prison, nicknamed "Evin University," and other prisons around the world, for speaking and writing down their thoughts.

Omid, incidentally, means hope in Farsi. Omid-Reza Mir-Sayafi is dead. Hope has to live on.


If you would like to join my fellow bloggers and me in this blog rally, please consider posting one of the following (modified as you wish) or an adaptation of the above post on your blog or website with a blue ribbon.

Version 1:

A group of bloggers is holding a blog rally in support of Roxana Saberi (who is spending her birthday on a hunger strike in Tehran's Evin Prison) and of others who have dared to express their thoughts freely only to be imprisoned, abused, or killed.  

Please consider placing a blue ribbon this week on your blog, website, and facebook / myspace / twitter page, and invite others to do the same,  in honor of the journalists, bloggers, students, and writers who are imprisoned in Evin Prison (nicknamed "Evin University") and other prisons around the world for speaking and writing down their thoughts. 

Version 2:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers."

Journalist Roxana Saberi has been incarcerated in Tehran's Evin Prison, where she is spending her birthday on a hunger strike. Around the world, people continue to face similar violations of their rights to freedom of expression, free speech, and a free press. Let's show the international community that we won't be silenced by intimidation and tyranny  - that we won't stop believing in and fighting for these rights.

Freedom of the press is not a luxury.  It lies at the heart of making this world healthier and more just. People without a voice and without a clear line of sight into the things that would threaten or corrupt their societies cannot hope for equitable growth and meaningful change.

A group of bloggers is holding a blog rally in support of journalists, bloggers, students, and writers who have dared to express their thoughts freely only to be imprisoned, abused, or killed.  

Please consider "wearing" a blue ribbon online this week on your blogs, websites, and facebook / myspace / twitter pages, and invite others to do the same.  Get the discussion going, and keep it going!


Free Press Map of the World from Reporters Without Borders:


Suggestions from Amnesty International:


- calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Roxana Saberi as, on the basis of the available evidence, she is a prisoner of conscience;

- calling for her “confessions” to be disregarded as Roxana Saberi may have been deceived into making incriminating “confessions” while held in pre-trial detention.


Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi

c/o Director, Judiciary Public Relations and Information Office

Ardeshir Sadiq

Judiciary Public Relations and Information Office

No. 57, Pasteur St., corner of Khosh Zaban Avenue

Tehran, Iran

Email: (In the subject line write: FAO Ayatollah Shahroudi)

Salutation: Your Excellency

Leader of the Islamic Republic

Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader

Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran


via website: (English) (Persian)

Salutation: Your Excellency



His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The Presidency

Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: + 98 21 6 649 5880

Email: via website:

Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran

Mohammad Javad Larijani

Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh / Office of the Head of the Judiciary

Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhuri

Tehran 1316814737, Iran

Fax: +98 21 3390 4986 (please keep trying)

Email: the subject line write: FAO Javad Larijani)

Salutation: Dear Mr Larijani

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.

You can also write to:

His Excellency Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee, 
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran
622 Third Ave.
New York, NY 1007

To read samples of Roxana's reporting, click here.

To contact the White House, use this link/URL


Kirti said...

Great idea, T. I finally posted a blog for Roxana. I mentioned your blog in mine, but I am not sure about how to create a link that will appear on your blog...still new to this! Anyway, hope this helps spread the word and others do the same!

Jo said...

Brilliant idea :-)

I've pinched your words and added to my blog - for some reason blogger won't let me pinch the ribbon as well (I've just spent the last half hour trying to upload it!)

Dave Coulter said...

(hope it helps...I also emailed the UN)

Kirti said...

Hi there,

I just sent an email also...I also copied the contact info you have listed for my blog and noticed that your zip code is not complete...I looked it up--it's 10017...
Thanks, T.

Anali said...

This was a great idea T. Hopefully it will help.

Anonymous said...

Count me in. I will be posting a comment regarding Roxana's plight at my Berea Bits blog site ( I enthusiastically join those -- of every political stripe -- who support Ms. Saberi, and who champion the cause of free speech. --Mike Murray

punditry said...

Good work. I'm linking to this...

Aria said...

I find nothing wrong with letting this play out in court. If she is guilty, then she deserves more than 8 years, if she is not, it will come out in her appeal process. She broke the law by reporting with out a license, now whether or not she was spying is a valid question and we should allow the courts to handle it. Given the history of the US in Iran and the fact that thousands of reporters work in Iran, I don't think it is right to presume she is completely innocent. If she is, then I hope it is proven in court, but there is nothing wrong with what is happening now, that is the law of the land

T. said...

I agree that "whether or not she was spying is a valid question," but I can't agree with the view that there's nothing wrong with the process by which the question is being investigated.

No "law of the land" is at all RESPECTABLE or right that fails to inform an individual she is on trial until the trial is under way, or fails to allow access to defense advocates, if those are indeed occurring as reported.

Further, although we cannot know the facts about her guilt or innocence right now, I think we can all see that this is about much more than that at this point. There's a much larger issue here, as the lives of writers like Omid-Reza Mir-Sayafi reveal. Why are so many prisoners in Evin incarcerated for expressing their opinions? Are people not allowed to use their powers of observation and analysis, and their MINDS, and to share the fruits of their reflections, in countries like Iran? Are governments there and in China and in other nations without freedom of the press so threatened by discourse, by the intelligence of their citizens, by exchanges of ideas - are they so juvenile and insecure - that they cannot see what societal strengths those are, not to mention what human rights violations they perpetrate by trying to suppress them?

Certainly it has occurred to me that there may be truth to the untimely-made charges. Why haven't we heard from Roxana or her lawyers about them? You want to know why? Because the so-called "law of the land" you invoke is sick and twisted enough to deny human beings their right to a real voice and to due process.

TexasHeart said...

Thanks for the info...have used it to beg others to rally around her. Only when we are completely free to say whatever can we lay claim to the mantel of FREEDOM.

I may not like what someone says, but I will do everything to defend their right to say it.

Intelligent discourse can ONLY be accomplished through the ability of every view to be expressed: good, bad, indifferent.

I too cannot use the ribbon. As I am new to this (, it is probably because I am not doing something correctly. Any advice would be helpful as I need to post the ribbon.

Again, thank you for the rallying point!

T. said...

Jo and TexasHeart - I downloaded the ribbon from this site:

If you go to edit your posts and press the "upload-a-picture" button, sometimes it works to place URL addresses directly where it says "URL." Or, you can co to, search for a blue ribbon that's not in "png" format, and download that.

Hope this helps!

Jo said...

Cheers T - unfortunately, I tried both the link to URL and downloading it to my desktop (and then changing the format to jpg, gif, bmp...) - if I linked to the URL, the javascript crashed, and if I tried to upload the picture, I completely crashed Firefox...

Jo said...

Update that you might want to see - breaking news on the BBC website: