Monday, June 13, 2005

Mr Penn goes to Tehran 

Yesterday, I brought you the news that the actor and anti-war activist Sean Penn has decided to do some more journalism, and is writing from Iran in the run-up to the presidential election for "The San Francisco Chronicle". Today, I'm happy to report on the latest developments in the Penn saga:
Several hundred women at a sit-in outside the entrance to Tehran University demanded rights revoked after the 1979 Islamic revolution. As chants and taunts arose, police and plainclothesmen surrounded the demonstrators, pushing away those trying to join the group. Officials also cut off cell phone service in the area, and challenged reporters nearby.
Penn, who must have been close enough to the protest (more about it, including photos, at Publius), has had his camera briefly confiscated by the authorities.

Jokes about entertainers-turned-activists aside, I will be genuinely interested to read what Penn has to say about the situation in Iran. This time, unlike during Penn's previous trip to Iraq, there is no - or at least should not be - an anti-Bush axe to grind; despite Penn's interest in Iran being piqued by the rising tensions between Washington and Tehran, outside the realm of international moonbatery there is no imminent, or even not so imminent, threat of American military attack on Iran. There are only the mullahs with nukes versus the people, who by all accounts are sick and tired of the ongoing Islamic Revolution and want to replace theo with demo.

Now, journalists, of course, are supposed to be impartial recorders and reporters of fact. Penn, despite his latest official stint, is not one. This is not a condemnation; I wouldn't be either in these circumstances, should somebody send me with a notepad and a camera to Tehran. Penn has always had his political agendas, but I do hope that this time he will side with the people against their government (David Horowitz is not so hopeful on this point). This will be the ultimate test for Penn, and the last opportunity to prove that he's motivated by humanitarianism, however misguided, rather than anti-Americanism of the kind officially approved by Iran's rulers.


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