Every now and then I like to drift away from my usual topic of the evils of religion and touch on important political events. Well, it seems the time has certainly come to step away from talk of religion once again. I've said again and again that the importance of what is happening in Iran right now simply can not be overstated. It is likely to be viewed as one of the most important events of this generation for many reasons. I'd like to take a moment to discuss exactly why I feel these events are so important.
The Birth Of True Democracy In The Middle East
A revolution can be neither made nor stopped. The only thing that can be done is for one of several of its children to give it a direction by dint of victories. Napoleon Bonaparte
The thing that George W. Bush and his cronies never seemed to understand is that you can not impose democracy on people. Democracy is kind of like quitting smoking or any other drug or vice - it won't work unless *YOU* really want it. It takes hard work and effort to put in place and even more work to defend from those who look to undermine it at every turn. If the group in question is not ready and willing to fight and die for their freedom then it will never last - if it's ever even really in place to begin with.
That's not what is happening in Iran though. This isn't a foreign body stepping in and trying to impose their will on another country. This is a people deciding for themselves that enough is enough, that they will not allow their voices to be silenced. They want this for themselves and are now repeating what American colonists did in 1775 and the French in 1789. They are taking their country back, refusing to allow their corrupt government to enforce it's will.
If democracy is ever really going to take root in the Middle East, this is what it needs. The ripple effect of an influential Middle Eastern nation stepping up and demanding freedom by themselves, without Western intervention, would be immeasurable. Going into a nation, ousting the current regime, and installing your own form of government tastes too much like occupation. It is not a means that can be used to spread freedom. Freedom must spread itself as it is in Iran and it acts as a wave, once it has garnered sufficient momentum nothing can stop it.
That is why President Barrack Obama's response to the situation has been absolutely picture perfect. The most damaging thing he could possibly do to this movement in Iran would be to come out in support of it. Giving the government a way to tie this movement to Western ideology, particularly American ideology, would be disastrous to the protesters and what they stand for. They've already made every attempt to tie the movement with the West in any way possible, their failure to do so is the only reason it has gained the traction it has. It would only serve to unite the hard-liners in the same way that the election controversy united the people we're watching fight for their lives right now. An official White House statement saying anything to the tune of "we stand behind these protesters and their quest to overthrow the Iranian regime" would give the current government all the ammo they need to say "Look! This is just another attempt by the Americans to interfere in our affairs and destroy Islam!" Obama has played his hand perfectly. Express your support for freedom and human rights but don't give the government a way to tie the protesters to the United States.
On a related note - I'd like to take a brief moment to express my utter disdain for the politicians and pundits who are trying to politicize this situation and use it as a means to attack Obama. In this moment in time I truly wish there was a hell for you to burn in for attempting to use the blood of others to increase your own exposure and push your own agenda. You are lowlifes of the worst variety and you disgust me. That is all.
"New Media" Gets It's Close-Up
I forget the exact quote or who it was that said it but I remember reading a quote a while ago. It was something along the lines of "the greatest threat to the tyrants of the world is not the army coming over the hill but the kid in glasses programming computers." Watching this incredible story play itself out on Twitter showed the world exactly why. The Iranian government has made every attempt possible to shut the curtains around the world so they can put this protest down by whatever means they deem necessary. The power of the internet has not allowed that to happen. They can not silence the voices of their people and they can not prevent the world from watching what unfolds.
Traditional news sources have been one step behind the entire time, MSNBC has been almost entirely useless, CNN has dropped the ball at every opportunity. The only major source providing constant, good coverage is Fox News but it's Fox News and who the fuck wants to watch Fox News? I had it on for 5 minutes last night and just that made me feel dirty and tainted. The place to be is #IranElection on Twitter, it's wear news appears first, and it is an unfiltered eye into Iran. It's power was flexed in the rise of "Neda" in mere hours yesterday afternoon. If you've been living under a rock, Neda is reportedly the name of the girl in the heart-breaking, horrific video making it's rounds on the net (WARNING: GRAPHIC!!!)
made famous by tens of thousands of tweets and retweets throughout the day and night.
Of course, we've also seen the downside to new media. It's great because it's unfiltered but also very unreliable for the same reasons. Following #IranElection yesterday saw misinformation such as tanks rolling out in Tehran spread so quickly it entered the top 5 trending topics literally inside of an hour. It turned out to be false. Today #IranElection is being flooded by tweets claiming Mir Hossein Mousavi has been arrested with 0 supporting evidence and not a single tweet from any of the people who've grown to be trusted sources inside Iran. It's certainly got it's ups and downs but it has undoubtedly become the voice of the people in Iran and the media and the way we receive our news will never be the same as a result.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Thomas Jefferson