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Sakineh's Son Arrested: The Great Silence of Conformist Thinkers

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Sajjad, the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, was arrested three days ago in the office of her attorney, Houtan Khian, who was detained as well -- and scarcely anyone is talking about it.

That day, the young ticket-taker on the buses of Tabriz who courageously defended his mother, incessantly pleading her cause before global public opinion, was in the middle of what may well prove his last interview, with a German magazine, when he was brutally reduced to silence -- and hardly anyone seems to care.

A State led by fanatics that, tomorrow, may well be equipped with an atomic weapon is behaving like a gang, a mafia, by committing on its soil and without a shadow of scruple, a kidnapping, a hostage-taking and, perhaps tomorrow, while they're at it, an extra-legal execution -- and everyone, or nearly everyone, is acting as though this were normal.

No one knows, of course, how to react when faced with an act that makes a mockery of all the principles of law, simply defying comprehension and leaving one stunned.

But we would like to hear, at least, the reaction of those who -- starting with Nicolas Sarkozy -- stated that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was France's "responsibility".

We would at least expect a strong diplomatic reaction from a government -- that of Germany -- which is directly implicated in this affair, since it is with two of its nationals, journalists at Bild, who were also arrested, that Sajjad was in the midst of conversation when the paramilitaries broke in.

And as for the human rights organisations that have campaigned for Sakineh for months, as for the feminist associations that have spared neither time nor effort to make her face and her cause familiar to the public, as for the hundreds of thousands of individuals who, the world over, have spoken, marched, signed petitions in her favour, they must find the means to demonstrate again and express the horror they feel at the relentless persecution of this family and its martyrdom.

We can write to presidents, prime ministers, and foreign affairs ministers of our respective countries (as well as the commissioners in charge of European diplomacy or to the Secretary General of the United Nations) to implore them to intervene.

As Mina Ahadi and the International Committee Against Stoning in London and Berlin suggest, we can address letters of protest to the Iranian judicial authorities (Head of the Judiciary, Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qaaiyeh, Pasteurt Sont., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran, 131 681 47 37, Iran).

We can and we should find all means, even the most humble, to refuse that the wall of silence and oblivion descend upon a woman who, with the arrest of her son and her attorney, has just seen herself cut off from the last thread that linked her to the world and prevented her from being assassinated, like so many others, in silence and indifference.

One single thing would be unthinkable: to remain inactive, voiceless, in the face of this insane escalation.

A world in which we resign ourselves to the idea of justice governed by this ancient, scarcely updated form of collective guilt, filial guilt, would be one devoid of hope.