New Vent: Michelle interviews Iranian democracy activist Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi Updated

posted at 5:13 pm on September 25, 2007 by Bryan

Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi is the English editor of Iran Press News and a lifelong Iranian democracy activist who, along with her family, has been battling the mullahs since they took power in 1979. Like everyone else who isn’t a student of Columbia University, she was locked out of yesterday’s forum on the campus featuring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Had she been allowed to confront Ahmadinejad she might have been able to ask him what the regime has done with her father, who has been a political prisoner since 2001.

Update: The Washington Times’ Robert Stacy McCain quotes Edgar Allan Poe in writing about Shiri Negari, whose image on a poster that we saw across the street from Columbia has haunted the Ahmadinejad trip. That image is at the end of this Vent, because this episode is primarily about the victims of men like Ahmadinejad, from journalists in his jails to beautiful young women torn apart by his bombs. Columbia gave Ahmadinejad the stage on Monday, and along with it a forum to rail at our world. But Columbia didn’t, and won’t, give his victims their turn to speak.

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Hear, Hear!

tickleddragon on September 25, 2007 at 5:36 PM

Another example of Columbia’s “free and open exchange of ideas”.

My eternal compliments to her bravery, and God Bless her father.

Hawkins1701 on September 25, 2007 at 5:43 PM

That was brilliant. President Bollinger needs to have Zand-Bonazzi speak at one of Columbia’s forums.

Buy Danish on September 25, 2007 at 5:44 PM

“spoiled people who aren’t willing to open a newspaper or do proper research”
They would be better to do research but with the denial these people show, the reading of a newspaper could go a long way. They could at least learn to find The United States on a map!
Another great vent Michelle. Thank You for ALL you do.

abinitioadinfinitum on September 25, 2007 at 6:00 PM


csdeven on September 25, 2007 at 6:18 PM

That is a powerful interview. If only our media would allow her to grace our airwaves and repeat exactly what she just said. She is right on the mark about ignorance in this country, either deliberate or a product of our schools and media. Ignorance does kill.

darwin on September 25, 2007 at 6:19 PM

Top notch interview! Relevant questions, time for the subject to answer fully. My favorite question, “…is there hope? YES”

Love it. Thanks.

Zorro on September 25, 2007 at 6:46 PM

After watching this, it’s hard for me to hate President Porky Dinnerjacket more than the left-wing retards that find him acceptable.

Ship the lefties to Iran and, if any return alive, see what they have to say.

thejackal on September 25, 2007 at 7:09 PM

Thank you Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi for standing up to these monsters, your a very brave lady. I’ll remember you in my prayers and also ask my God to duplicate some of your strength in me.

Maxx on September 25, 2007 at 7:47 PM

That last poster shown in the video was very powerful. Seeing that beautiful young woman, Shiri Negari, with a such an innocent and cheerful countenance. Then to realize she was murdered by the monsters of Hamas, funded by Ahmadinejad. And to think Shiri Negari is only one of many thousands. Ahmadinejad, Hamas and similar Islamic jihadist have a river of innocent blood on their hands. They must be stopped at all cost. What will it take before we realize that ?

Maxx on September 25, 2007 at 8:13 PM

Someone should also interview Azar Nafisi, the author of the book Reading Lolita in Tehran. That’ll be great.

mram on September 25, 2007 at 8:23 PM

Maxx on September 25, 2007 at 8:13 PM

Yep a very powerful poster/statement.

Mojack420 on September 25, 2007 at 8:49 PM

Nice interview, Michelle. Thank you for putting this on the blog.

Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi is dead on in what she is saying. Sadly, she is correct that it will take several 9-11 type situations before the rest of America wakes up from its PC comma.

KUMBIYA University will never invite Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi to give a lecture.

Indeed, Kumbiya University needs an enema.

The False Dervish on September 25, 2007 at 10:31 PM

One of the best Vents I’ve seen!

Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi vents very eloquently on the spoiled self-loathing brats who applaud evil.

forest on September 25, 2007 at 10:57 PM

Michelle, you ROCK. Seriously. I cannot for the life of me, figure out why the MSM with all the resources they have at their disposal, cannot report on the issues with the same no-nonsense, insightful and accurate way that you are able to, without even having an Iphone to check your emails on.

KMC1 on September 25, 2007 at 11:05 PM

OH, and I wish more items such as this vent were available for download so I can share them with co-workers / family etc who are not net-savvy.

KMC1 on September 25, 2007 at 11:06 PM

Bryan, Michelle, Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi’s interview was very moving. Her poise and dignity is earned from months and years of bearing despair over the plight of her father, and the resulting commitment to her activism, which deserves amplification by the media — amplification that is instead reserved for the likes of Cindy Sheehan.

The video of Shiri and her family is beyond moving. It is utterly paralyzing in its poignancy and tragedy. Much is made of the emotionalism of the left in this country. And yet, that video turned this callous, irreverant Conservative into a damp, pacing, and deeply angry human being.

Why is there so little news like this coming out of the Middle East for the American people to see. There are thousands of hours of Saddam torture video in existence, and not a fifteen-second snippet has been “leaked” for the American people to get some perspective. So that maybe a clear majority could rally behind our country’s noble undertaking in a region of the world that damn well straight deserves freedom and modernity.

I’m going to have to stop now. Except for one thing. I hope I will meet Shiri one day. Maybe even sing with her behind that microphone, to the smiling faces of her beautiful family that, while left behind today, will tomorrow be present to bask in that blessed, cheerful smile forevermore.

RushBaby on September 25, 2007 at 11:15 PM

Ever wonder why you dont have Americans overseas doing the same thing? Ever wonder why Americans aren’t “escaping” or fleeing to other countries for jobs? The liberal press would be all over it if they were out there. You know it’s true, especially the BBC.

I did run into a homeless American hotty in Italy (in 2000 i think). I made the mistake of asking her “why are you, an American, homeless and sitting on the corner with a begging bowl?” After several minutes of hearing how she hated America, I asked why she was living off the streets if Italy was so much better? She cussed at me, so I blew her off and went onto the next bar. ooorah!

El Guapo on September 25, 2007 at 11:58 PM

President Porky Dinnerjacket

Truer words have never been spoken.

flyawaybird on September 26, 2007 at 7:34 AM

Great vent Michelle! I liked the point Banafsheh made of the self-loathing Americans, and how their noise is deafening the cries the rest of the world is making for help, ( I think that was the jist of it.) . That struck a chord. Uninformed, was another word she used, also incredibly true. I’m so sick of these self-centered a-holes, it seems all they really want is attention, and sadly the media is giving it to them.

4shoes on September 26, 2007 at 8:44 AM


Great piece. Keep finding the truth to set us free. Those on the left are actually out of touch with reality and your interviewee highlighted it well, “the protesters take our eye off the ball and make us ripe for targeting again” by an enemy that does not wear a uniform (unless you consider a turban or habib an enemy uniform).

MSGTAS on September 26, 2007 at 10:04 AM

very nice interview, thanks mm :)

trailortrash on September 26, 2007 at 10:12 AM

At Columbia, the faculty and student body is so far to the left that President Bollinger is considered a conservative. President Bollinger said the point of the invitation was to have an open discussion but not one Iranian student who opposed Ahmedinejad was allowed to ask questions to Ahmedinejad. No Israelis were allowed to question Mr. Ahmedinejad. Most of the questions were sycophantic.

Larraby on September 26, 2007 at 12:14 PM

Another excellent Vent. Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi is an amazing woman, God bless her and all her work.

Shelly on September 26, 2007 at 5:04 PM

“spoiled people who aren’t willing to open a newspaper or do proper research”
They would be better to do research but with the denial these people show, the reading of a newspaper could go a long way.

Guess that may depend on which newspaper they read…

Great vent. She is a very brave woman.

Aggie85 on September 26, 2007 at 6:02 PM

Was that an anti-Bush bagpiper in the background?

Imagine fighting Iranian fascism for twenty-nine years and watching it go from Ahmadinejad and his classmates beating Jimmy Carter, to getting away with murdering two-hundred US Marines, to funding global terrorism, to now having Carter’s political party in alliance and becoming a nuclear power.

What’s it going to take for change? Nuclear exchange in the Mid-East and more American lives sacrificed to the Lesbian, turkey basting Goddess of Liberalism than one can imagine.

Hening on September 26, 2007 at 7:50 PM

Just a thought.
Wasn’t the Holocaust a main reason that the U.N. was established?
So, the initial reason for the creation of the UN inadvertently gives armamadjihad reason to enter the US many decades later and go on to spew anti-semitic and anti-American hate, lies and world threats while at Columbia, and at the UN… while he and his radical islamic ways are trying to duplicate another holocaust?
Believe this woman, Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi , she tells the truth.

shooter on September 26, 2007 at 10:55 PM


the UN was created for the post war division of europe which did also include creating Israel and hopes to prevent another world war from another country hungry for power, conquest, and evil ideology. But we all know what happened when the russia didnt want to give up their new land, NATO was created and the cold war began.

then in 1979 or earlier the UN (and Carter) failed again when it did nothing to stop the islamic revolution in Iran which the nutbags in Iran specificallly said their goal was to conquer westward until the caliphate was re-established.

Funny, if i were to stand on a soap box on a corner of a busy intersection and say i am going to kill as many members of a certain race as i can i will probably be arrested. but when dictators speak out to the world (as Hitler warned) and the UN (as Ahmad-jihad is now ranting) and say they are going to do the same thing, most turn a complacent, disbelieving, deaf ear. Of course it also helps to have key people in the UN in your pockets and your own people in key UN positions (like hte IAEA) that are supposed to be looking over you and keeping you in check.

culture of corruption and our tax $$ is supporting it.

El Guapo on September 26, 2007 at 11:58 PM

I think those who are members of both UN and NATO need to quit the UN due to its corruption and its blind eyes to genocides in Africa. They would lose all their money since all the richest countries are NATO members.

El Guapo on September 27, 2007 at 12:01 AM

Good stuff, El Guapo.

RushBaby on September 27, 2007 at 12:52 AM

Thanks. It’s funny how no one remembers it was the US leading the charge and NATO soon joining the saving of countless muslim lives in Albania & Bosnia.

The UN and all arab nations snubbed their fellow muslims.

El Guapo on September 27, 2007 at 1:54 AM

I remember seeing Iranian exiles in European cities in 1986 collecting money and spreading the word about Iran and the Khomeini government, in other words, fighting for freedom. Where was the coverage of their plight?

Yet a bunch of two-bit baathist-islamist-nutjob terrorists rebel against the new Iraq and the freedom fighter label is so easily rolled out of the MSM garage.

f****** b&&&s### is what it is.

silverfox on September 27, 2007 at 6:11 AM