As I celebrate the New Year peacefully with my family, two people that I met in my life are jailed with trumped-up charges. One is Mansour Osanloo, whom I spent ten days together in 2007. The other shall remain anonymous for security reasons.
In 2010, I lost several friends and colleagues yet again. One was a great buddy that I worked with for more than ten years. Another former co-worker dragged me into the world of photo journalism a long time ago. An old mate that I spent several years together as impressionable teenagers with our love of music also left me and suddenly. We were like a wildfire out of control then (listen to Bob Seger’s Against the Wind). He kept his wreck-less life long after I dropped out of it and died that way.
And although we never met each other, I also count Farzad Kamangar as a friend I lost in 2010. He was only 32 years old when Iranian authorities executed him for the crimes that he did not commit. He said “how can you remain silent as a teacher whose duty is to spread the seads of knowledge”? I concur with that belief.
Car accidents took away lives of my colleagues in Turkey and Guinea Conakry; the latter in some mysterious circumstances.
In Istanbul and Izmir, we continue to campaign for the reinstatement of UPS workers who were dismissed for joining a trade union. I met many of them at the picket-line that they have been sustaining in the heat of the summer and now in the bitter winter weather. In Thailand, six rail unionists from Hat Yai lost their jobs for protesting against unsafe working conditions. And it is not just the workers in the developing countries where trade union rights are increasingly under attack.
Over this Christmas holidays, we managed to save a life of a student activist in Iran through local and international and protests. Another good news is that two unionists from the independent bus workers’ union in Tehran were released although Osanloo and three others continue to be detained.
I hope that the new year will bring more good news but the bottom-line is that we have to fight back to these oppressions and do so collectively. At the end of the day, an injury to one is an injury to all.
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See below the slide-show of the selected photos from my 2010 collection. Hope you like it. It is less than five minutes long!