Saturday, June 20, 2009

The World Is Watching Iran

Iran recently had a very important and relevant election — or so its citizens thought. Elections are not always that way. In totalitarian states, elections often take place but there is literally no choice on whom to vote for. Turnouts can approach 100% because the state deems voting to be mandatory. But their people know the situation and reluctantly accept it. There is usually no revolution. Some freedom loving Americans even support embargoes against countries like Cuba because in adding to their citizens’ misery comes the hope that they will revolt against their leader — but it almost never happens.

But this time in Iran it was different. Spurred on by the enthusiastic support and resulting victory in last year's election of America’s ‘reform’ candidate, Barack Hussein Obama, many Iranians gave their enthusiastic support to their own ‘reform’ candidate,
Mir Hussein Moussavi. (It must be that middle name.)

Truly this was going to be an opportunity for those many in Iran who had grown tired of the hateful rants of President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to finally replace him. But Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who really pulls the strings of power in Iran had other ideas. Despite the widespread popular support for the challenger, the election was quickly announced as a landslide for Ahmadinejad before a reasonable time passed to even count all of the votes. Iranians having had a taste of real democracy only to have it snatched away had had enough!

But instead of violent protests that would invite violent retaliation, the Iranian protesters showed incredible savvy by mounting peaceful and sometimes silent displays of hundreds of thousands gathering in the streets — which also caught the attention of the world aided by communication over the Internet. Surely Khamenei would not order violence against these peaceful demonstrators, would he?

But there was no way to put the genie back in the bottle. Doing nothing and hoping the protesters would go away didn’t work. But using military force against peaceful protesters would expose Khamenei as being the despot that he truly is. What to do?

We have apparently gotten
our answer.

In a long and hard-line sermon on Friday, Ayatollah Khamenei declared the June 12 election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad valid and warned that demonstration leaders “would be responsible for bloodshed and chaos” if protesters continue, as they have pledged, to flood the streets in defiance of the government.

The tough words seemed to dash hopes for a peaceful solution to what defeated candidates and protesters call a fraudulent election last week, plunging Iran into its gravest crisis since the Islamic Revolution in
And in today there is this report…

…witnesses, quoted by news services, said that thousands of demonstrators had attempted to gather for a scheduled opposition protest on Saturday, but that riot police, using tear gas and water cannons, had dispersed them. Witnesses (also) reported that the black-clad security forces lined the streets of two squares in central Tehran as the city braced itself for a violent crackdown.

Until now, the Obama administration has
resisted calls for a tougher stance on Iran not wanting to attract blame by those in power as being a meddler in their internal affairs. Instead, many of us from around the world who enjoy our freedom have instead given our tacit support to those in Iran who are fighting for their freedom.

Still, one senior official acknowledged that a bloody crackdown would scramble the administration’s calculations. The shadow of Tiananmen Square — in which Chinese tanks and troops crushed a flowering democracy movement in Beijing — has hung over the White House this week.
In an interview yesterday, Obama spoke cautiously about warnings by Iran’s supreme leader of bloodshed if the protests go on.
“I’m very concerned, based on some of the tenor and tone of the statements that have been made, that the government of Iran recognize that the world is watching,”
Indeed we are!

No comments: