What an interesting mixed bag of humanity outside Harvard Square today! Lots of folks (150 or so) were there to let Khatami and Harvard University know that they were not pleased about Khatami's invite, particularly on the eve of September 11th. There were Iranians, Harvard students, Jewish organizations, Protest Warriors, local talk show host Michael Graham, and just plain folks. No feminists or gay activists that I could see, despite the horrendous record of Iran against both groups. Lot of local network news stations covered the event. Click on photos below to enlarge.
The highlights for me were Lily Mazahery's speech, which you can download from Publius Pundit, who writes: "She's a prominent human rights activist and lawyer down in Washington, D.C. who has launched many campaigns against the torture, public executions, and death by stoning in today’s Iran." She was an eloquent, passionate speaker.
The second highlight was when Michael Graham spoke after we heard from a number of impassioned Iranian activists. Graham led the crowd in chanting "Shame on Harvard! Shame on Harvard!" Damn straight. Good on Graham for coming out and supporting this. I wish I knew who the Iranian organizations were, I'd gladly publicize them (and donate money).
If you look at the enlarged photo, you'll see the sign has a photo of a man hanging from his ankles with open wounds on his back. One of our commenters below says that photo is not what it seems. He may be right, but brutal torture is alive and well (so to speak) in Iran, under Khatami a few years back, and worse now under Ahmadinejad. Google Images has plenty of material.
Child abuse, as LGF would say.
Apalling photo of a woman in Iran being stoned to death.
September 11th was on people's minds. Harvard has said that the date of Khatami's visit was "unintentional." Doesn't matter, it's still grotesque and insulting.
Publius Pundit has a good review here, and Teresa of Technicalities writes her impressions here (also provides background info on a few things). ABC and NBC local stations had decent coverage of the protests.