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Mulling the Mullahs

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However much the press behaves as though the latest breaking news is something that's never happened before,   if addictive  news watching teaches us anything, it's that the same dramas infold everywhere.

This is not to say we should be indifferent.  But rather that we should put less energy into trying to make different things happen and more into understanding why things do happen.

Iran's rising middle class is behaving just like Chile's middle class did a couple of decades ago.  Remember when the women were out on the street banging on pots and pans?

What happens when a relatively underdeveloped country begins to catch up with the developed (and over-developed) world is that those who benefit most want to benefit more, while the lower classes, who may be in power, want the middle class to be patient a little while longer while they too reap the benefits of change.

This is one of the things that makes pigeon-holing groups into right and left so difficult.  Remember when Perestroika was happening? Gorbatchev was the new left.  The die-hard communists were "the right".

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Think of all the recent colored revolutions (this one's green, soon we'll be running out of colors, then what?): whichever group wants change is the left, even if they want a change to capitalism.

This would be okay if it weren't for the fact that such developments tend to blur what's really at stake, and that is the greatest good for the greatest number.  Not necessarily Utilitarianism, but certainly social democracy.

In each country the situation is different, the opposing parties represent different philosophies that correspond to those national differences.  But politics always boils down to a struggle between those who would limit the good things in life to the few with sharp elbows and a greater number who either have or haven't yet figured out how to unite their elbows to even things out.

Ahmedinejad may well have more followers than Moussavi: it's strange that the networks haven't told us what the relative populations are between town and country, upper and lower classes.  That's probably because, as in most countries, there are more have-nots.  This is probably still the case in Iran, and the people at the bottom are behind the president, which has directed progress their way.  Understandably, the more sophisticated city-dwellers want more of what they already have, that is, for women, especially, freedom from the head-scarf while still believing - perhaps - that the Iranian Revolution (with a capital R) stood for the (still) revolutionary aspects of the Prophet's teachings.

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Born in Philadelphia, I spent most of my adolescent and adult years in Europe. I began my journalistic career at the French News Agency in Rome, spent two years in Cuba finding out whether the Barbados were Communists before they made the revolution ('Cuba 1964: When the Revolution was Young'). After spending half a decade in Eastern Europe, and a decade in the U.S., studying Global Survival and writing speeches in the Carter State Department, I wrote the only book that foresaw (more...)

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Have-nots insist and haves take notice.  To think... by Margaret Bassett on Sunday, Jun 21, 2009 at 9:45:39 PM
Deena, you are quite right about what you wrote, b... by Ruth on Monday, Jun 22, 2009 at 9:02:59 PM