The Birth of Democracy… Or An Abortion?

I want to take back what I said in my previous post about North Korea. I said that the situation in Iran is not important. It is. In fact, it’s vitally important. I find it extremely encouraging that those people who feel disenfranchised by a theocratic regime are taking to the streets to protest the injustice of their government. I fear that more lives will be lost as the protests continue, and I also fear that this movement will result in no measurable political change for the Iranian people. I hope my fears are unfounded.

Since Grand Ayatollah Khamenei has already sided with Ahmadinejad and has the declared that the election must stand, it seems to me that further protests will lead to further violence as the government cracks down harder on the protesters. If this happens, it will be a sad day for peaceful protest because all the reports that I’ve read have characterized the protesting as non-violent and intergenerational.

It’s interesting that politicians in the US (especially Republican ones) want to take this turn of events as an opportunity to declaim (very solemnly) the virtues of democracy in action. I’m not sure how many of them criticize the dictatorial regimes with whom we have cordial relations (e.g., Saudi Arabia). After all, the seedbed of Wahhabism–you know, that virulently fundamentalist form of Islam promoted by Osama bin Laden–is Saudi Arabia. Of course, we don’t criticize the Saudis too much because we need to be on polite terms with them because of our addiction to oil. We’re like crack addicts who don’t mind the gang banging as long as we can get our fixes. But I digress. I guess what I’m saying is that Iran is an easy target for US politicians, and I admire Obama’s measured approach. Too much cheerleading from the US will have a negative effect.

That said, I hope that even if this movement does not cause real political change for the Iranians in this election cycle, it will eventually lead to a quiet revolution because it will demonstrate the moral inferiority of the Iranian government.


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