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What Does it Mean Not to be Hoping for these Iranian Protestors?

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Andrew Bard Schmookler     Permalink
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Unless I've misunderstood what I've read, my website -- (also known as NSB) has lately heard from two people who are dubious about or opposed to this Iranian uprising. One is from NSB's far left (the idea that behind all this, and what we should focus on, is American and Israeli machination) and one is from the far right of NSB (the idea that such uprisings will likely produce only chaos).

Both of those ideas may be true. More specifically, the one from the left may have some truth in it (but I myself doubt it is a significant piece of the truth about what's going on in Iran and why). And the one from the right may have a unsettling possibility, even perhaps a probablility, of coming true (and this is why I generally oppose the idea of revolution, except as a last resort and under favorable conditions, so many of them not working out well).

But still, one should ask: What Does it Mean Not to Be Hoping for These Iranian Protestors?

They are ruled by dictatorial, completely illiberal theocracy, one that's imposes its medieval religiously-based rules of thought and conduct on the whole population, stifling fully as much as the Shah did the free expression of millions of Iranians.

I would ask those who are not rooting the protesters on:

Do you think that they should simply accept their subjugation to this theocracy?

If so, why? Don't you believe in the importance of liberty? Does the political ethic of Jefferson and Madison and all the rest who created this American democracy not enjoy your appreciation and even your moral commitment?

Do you think that the Iranians are incapable of creating a more humane government, that their political culture cannot create anything better than the dictatorship of the Shah or the dictatorship of the Ayatollah and the mullahs?

If you do believe the Iranians are capable of creating something significantly better, how do you think it would or could ever come about? Do you think that history is going to offer the Iranian people a more opportune scenario than this (probably) stolen election?

Do you, who from fear of chaos and bloodshed just want the demonstrators to give up and choose piece, think that there's some scenario in the possible future for a more peaceful way of Iran's containing and disempowering some of the dark forces that rule Iran?

Yes, they are dark forces. It's not just a theocracy, it's a theocracy that goes around fomenting conflict, making trouble. Look at their footprint in the affairs of the region-- is it not clearly more a part of the problem than of the solution most of the time? Look at how the other nations in ther region regard it with fear (so fearful are they that they're leaning toward making common cause with Israel to combat the Iranian threat). And consider Iran's willingness to trigger a nuclear arms race in the region, making that region possibly as dangerous as the India-Pakistan situation has become since both those countries have been nuclear-armed.

And look how the Europeans, not just the Americans, take seriously the sense of danger coming from Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Is it not a dark power that increase fear, that increases conflict, that is regarded by the others in the system as a source of danger and anxiety?


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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)

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