............... Sadly - I guess most of the Western world did not even know this man's name.
As a Jew, I gladly call this man a kindred spirit.
May HaShem / Allah embrace him and comfort him.
Please read this........................
PS none of this is ANY reflection on Brittany Murphy - if anything it is a reflection on society.
A shame that a bright, talented actress has passed.
A crime that this brave man never saw his hopes and dream achieved.
Two prominent people died this week. One was a beautiful young woman based in Los Angeles. The other was a very old man based in Iran. The woman was a Hollywood actress. The man was a Muslim cleric. Both were sad losses. Yet if you were to look at the extent of the media coverage dedicated to each of them, you'd be forgiven for thinking that one had made a greater impact on society than the other. Unfortunately, your assumption would most probably be wrong.
The woman, Brittany Murphy, starred in a string of movies, television shows, and music videos. She was never an A-grade star, but famous enough to have made it onto FHM's list of the 100 Sexiest Women in 2006. Her death at 32 is tragic. The Australian media jumped on the story straight away. News bulletins opened up with regular updates and news sites featured her as the main headline along with large photos.
The man, Ayatollah Montazeri, was the only outspoken moderate theologian in Iran. He was a reformist who campaigned for democracy and fought for human rights in a country needing these freedoms more urgently than most. A fierce critic of the hardline ruling elite, Ayatollah Montazeri ramped up his condemnations since the disputed presidential elections in June, rightly saying that the Islamic republic was neither Islamic nor a republic. And yet his death has largely gone unreported in Australia.
On the surface, it's easy to understand why. Brittany Murphy was a celebrity, known by millions. As for Ayatollah Montazeri, this could be the first time you've heard of him. And yet, it is his death that poses the greatest setback for Australia's interests.
He was a scholar with the highest-profile voice of reason in a country speeding towards fundamentalism. Without his frequent criticisms, Iran's opposition is left without an influential advocate. With clampdowns on what journalists can report and the banning of public protests, those fighting the oppressive regime will face a harder – and much more dangerous – task without a senior religious figure on their side.
There are three main reasons why this should concern Australians more so than the death of a pretty screen idol.
First, if Iran attains its unstated goal of building a nuclear weapon and uses it against its sworn enemy, Israel, this would devastate the region and ravage the world. But Israel will not be hit first. Widely believed to have nuclear weapons of its own, Israel will attack any suspected nuclear sites in Iran, in the same way it struck Syria in 2007 using air raids. And Syria's nuclear program was nowhere near as advanced as the one currently under way in Iran. Another conflict in the Middle East will destabilise the global economy and send oil prices soaring.
Second, as Iran continues to meddle in the Middle East, our troops and allies are being affected. In Iraq, opposition militias are being trained and equipped by Iran in addition to covert activities masterminded by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard. Even this week, Iranian troops ventured onto Iraqi soil and engaged in a tense diplomatic standoff with Iraq over an oilwell. And in Afghanistan, where we still have active troops, Iran has invested in infrastructure, presumably less for charitable reasons and more for control. There are suggestions that suicides bombs and weapons are being sourced from Iran, too.
Third, without a moderate figurehead to balance the internal debate, Iran's actions are bound to become more erratic. Right now, there are three young American hikers imprisoned in Iran and charged with espionage. Without a trial date set, Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Manouchehr Mottaki, has already said they will receive "relevant sentences" in what is obviously a power struggle with the US. It could be Australian backpackers that are captured next.
Yet here we are. Twitter and Facebook are ablaze with messages of condolence and words of sympathy for Brittany Murphy. Nothing should be taken away from the attention this talented woman's death has received. But surely something must be said about the lack of attention given to the memory of Ayatollah Montazeri's courage and conviction. One million people were expected to attend his funeral in the city of Qom, but we'll never really know. Iran's media is forbidden to report on it and foreign journalists aren't allowed to travel to the city at all.
In the meantime, while the citizens of Iran are being imprisoned and tortured simply for speaking out, Australians can continue being blissfully unaware. Star struck..