Human Rights Book Review – ‘Death to the Dictator! – A Young Man Casts a Vote in Iran’s 2009 Election and Pays a Devastating Price’ by Afsaneh Moqadam

Posted on June 20, 2010. Filed under: Books, Events, Human Rights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Iranian Elections 2009, June 12th. Mohsen Abbaspour, a typically youthful fellow in his 20’s — not especially politically opinionated, or driven to great successes, or sophisticated — takes part in the very first election of his lifetime in Iran’s 10th presidential vote in Tehran.  Sick and tired with soaring joblessness and rising cost of living, he supports the reformist party and their nominee, Mir Hossein Mousavi. Mohsen feels his vote can make a difference.

Death To The Dictator - Afsaneh Moqadam

Death To The Dictator - Afsaneh Moqadam

It won’t. Practically the moment the poll closes, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declares himself the winner with a clear majority (supposedly 62%)  and therefore President. As the West moves quickly to comprehend the brazen fraudulence involved in the election, Abbaspour, together with his relatives, acquaintances and neighborhood friends, shall go through a feeling of complete despair, and after that another thing: an ever more clearer and perhaps more raw human emotion—the beginnings of fury. They march and protest, just like millions of other Iranians who streamed onto the street,  protesting loudly yet peacefully with words such as, “Down with the tyrant!” and  “Death to the Dictator”. Mohsen Abbaspour shall be embroiled within the irrepressible and eventual disastrous sequence of occurrences. Moshen himself is imprisoned, brutally beaten and raped.

Along the lines of Phillip Gourevitchs ‘We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families’ and Ryszard Kapuscinski’s insightful dispatches, Death to the Dictator! shocks the reader using its tragic and heart wrenching  propinquity. The author, who goes by a pseudonym to safeguard his real identity,  became an eager and extremely brave eye witness to the events in Tehran throughout these tumultuous times of 2009 and after. Within this courageous and genuine accounts pages, we view what we’re not meant to view, and discover what we aren’t presumed to be aware of.

For those who were so shocked by these events on the nightly news and wish to know more of the human rights abuses, which add to Iran’s already appalling record, you will find this a compelling read.

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Human Rights Book Fair, New York.

Posted on December 3, 2009. Filed under: Books, Documentaries, Events, Human Rights | Tags: , , , |

Hello to all our New York supporters out there and any of our supporters that happen to be in New York. We have just returned from this event and you gotta get down there. Great event worth supporting. Hurry though – only a few hours left. Sorry we never posted advance notice.

Co-sponsored by Human Rights in China and the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School, the Human Rights Book Fair celebrates Chinese, Tibetan, Uyghur, and English-language writers and artists who are currently in prison, under threat, or whose works have been censored or banned in China.
The interactive, multi-media program includes readings, documentary screenings, multi-media presentations, and a panel discussion.
We are going back for a reception later on in the evening, so say hello if you bump into any of the team down there.

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2009 Human Rights Awards – Literature/Non-Fiction shortlist announced

Posted on November 23, 2009. Filed under: Books, Events, Human Rights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2009 shortlists have just been announced for the prestigious Australian Human Rights Awards conducted annually by the highly regarded Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

The AHRC’s President, Catherine Branson, commented that the shortlists were judged from more than two hundred high quality entrants nominated from across Australia.

“The shortlists selection is always an inspiring and difficult process for the judging panels due to the extraordinary effort and achievement displayed in the entries,” Ms Branson said.

“I congratulate all those who entered the Awards for their outstanding commitment to protecting and promoting human rights in Australia and, in particular, I congratulate these entrants who have been shortlisted.”

The full shortlists can be found at, but we have included the Literature Non-Fiction Award shortlist below for relevance to this blog.

Award winners will be presented with their trophies at the annual gala luncheon at the Grand Ballroom, Sheraton on the Park Hotel, Sydney, on Thursday, 10 December 2009. Winners of the prestigious 2009 Human Rights Medal and Young People’s Human Rights Medal will also be announced on the day, which will have ABC Television personality and 2009 Andrew Olle Media lecturer Julian Morrow, as MC.

The Human Rights Book Review finds it quite strange that Julian Morrow of Chaser infamy can be included as MC on the day particlularly after the controversy surrounding a recent skit in his show which made fun of sick and dying children. If the commission are serious about childrens rights, and they seem to be based on recent media releases, do they honestly think it wise appointing Mr Morrow with his teams black mark on human rights so recent? Something to ponder. Here is the offendiing skit. You be the judge and decide whether having Julian Morrow as MC is still too soon after the Chasers ‘Make a realistic wish’ clip.

All information about the 2009 Human Rights Medals and Awards can be found on the website at, including the Award categories, the judges criteria, winners from previous years and how to get your ticket to the Human Rights Awards 2009 ceremony.

Literature Non-Fiction Award Shortlist

The Native Title Market by David Ritter
avaliable from Amazon US, EU/UK, Canada

Black Politics: Inside the complexity of Aboriginal political culture
Sarah Maddison

Culture is… Australian Stories Across Cultures: An Anthology
Anne – Marie Smith (Editor)
The Multicultural Writers Association of Australia

Blind Conscience
Margot O’Neill

Navigating Teenage Depression: A guide for parents and professionals
Gordon Parker and Kerrie Eyers

All these titles are avaliable in Australia and New Zealand from

The Nile -Australia's Largest Online Bookstore - Over 1.5 Million Book Titles

The Nile - New Zealand's Largest Online Bookstore - Over 1.5 Million Book Titles

Postscript: 11th December, 2009. The winners were announced yesterday by the AHRC and the Literature/Non-Fiction prize was awarded to Margot O’Neill for Blind Conscience.

Blind Conscience by Margot O’Neill - this years Literature Non-Fiction Award winner conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission

In the Commissions own words “Blind Conscience tells the stories of the people who struggled to get asylum seekers out of detention and to change government policy. It looks at what was the tipping point that made both well-known and ordinary Australians decide to become involved with asylum seekers. The book is a heartfelt, moving and inspirational examination of the point when doing nothing ceases to become an option. Margot is from Coogee, NSW.”

The Human Rights Book review would like to commend Margot on her prize and we look forward to reading her book at some point in the very near future.

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