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.