The world has come to know only one voice from Iran — that of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In his denial of the Holocaust, his threat to wipe Israel off the map and his relentless pursuit of nuclear technology, Ahmadinejad has become to polite international relations what Howard Stern is to broadcast radio. There are other voices from Iran, however, who don't figure so prominently in the news as the Islamic Republic's firebrand leader.
There is the voice of dissident journalist Akbar Ganji. Ganji, like Ahmadinejad, is a former member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Unlike Ahmadinejad, he recognizes that the 1979 revolution that deposed the Shah has metastasized into a corrupt, malignant cancer on the Iranian nation.
In 2000, Ganji published a series of articles in which he implicated Iran's religious leaders in the murder of political opponents. He is now serving a six-year sentence in Tehran's dreaded Evin prison, where Ahmadinejad reportedly acted as a cruel interrogator and ruthless executioner.
Last summer, Ganji issued a letter to the world from his prison cell, rendered in English by Iranian expatriate writer and poet Roya Hakakian:
"My voice will not be silenced, for it is the voice of peaceful life, of tolerating the other, loving humanity, sacrificing for others, seeking truth and freedom, demanding democracy, welcoming different lifestyles, separating the private sphere and the public sphere, religion and state, promoting equality of all humans, rationality, federalism within a democratic Iran, and above all, a profound distaste for violence."
Go read it all, and ask yourself what you can do to help brave Iranians like Akbar Ganji.