domingo, 21 de junio de 2009

If only...

I'll be completely honest, I really have no idea what to make of the post-election turmoil in Iran. Based on what I've seen, mostly on Democracy Now and The Real News, I do not agree with folks like Paul Craig Roberts who claim that the movement is just another CIA-orchestrated/U.S.-backed "color revolution" like the Orange revolution in Ukraine or the Rose revolution in Georgia. Rather, I'm much more inclined to agree with Pepe Escobar of the Real News that the uprising is completely indigenous and a legitimate expression of the will of the Iranian people. I do not claim to be any sort of expert, however. My opinions on the events are exactly that, opinions, laced with a heavy dose of hope.

Regardless of the circumstances behind the uprising, I think Paul Blake, in his interview with Pepe Escobar linked to above, made a very keen observation about the transpirings in Iran. In the last minute of the interview, Blake contrasts the behavior of Mir Hossein Mousavi and his supporters with that of Al Gore and American Democrats in 2000. He points out that Mousavi and his supporters have launched days of protests in cities throughout the country despite facing an authoritarian government and the several thousand member basiji paramilitary force, which has free reign to terrorize the public with impunity. Al Gore, on the other hand, quickly forfeited the election and did not once call for civil disobedience. Seeing the Iranians display such courage, one has to wonder what would have happened if Al Gore had acted like Mousavi and called for demonstrations against the illegitimate election of George Bush. Could anyone seriously deny that thousands, if not millions of Americans would have likely answered his call? And if he had, what would have happened? Perhaps Bush would've won anyway, but he would have had to contend with a large section of the public that not only thought his victory was fraudulent but actively mobilized against him. And maybe, just maybe, Gore would have won. And if he had, he would have had a mobilized, active public to thank for it. A public with high hopes and demands of their president and a public with leverage.

But I digress. Here's to hoping that folks like Paul Craig Roberts are wrong and the people of Iran continue displaying such awe inspiring courage. Most importantly, I hope their efforts are not in vane and they are able to construct a more just, open, and democratic society for themselves as a result of these protests.

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