“Hope and Change” probably sounds like a great phrase for the millions of people who are revolting against the theocracy in Iran right now.
For 3 days now I have been following the elections in Iran and I am keeping close contact with some of my Iranian friends who are actively involved in the protests that have nearly brought life in Tehran to a halt. These protests are the most significant since 1979, and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the religious ruler of Iran who hailed the results as a divine victory from God, must be shaking under his robe. Ahmadinejad continues to slap his people in the face by saying the outrage that has set the streets alight is no different than the anger after a soccer match. But what can expected from someone who makes a fool of himself at a UN racism conference and mocks the tragedy of the Holocaust.
Most people I have talked to, even a hard-left European aquantaince I spoke to the other day, believe that Ahmadinejad is nothing short of a fraud, or Ahmadine-fraud, as the media has begun to call him. When the elections started, I felt almost certain that this would happen, because its what you can expect from a thuggish theocracy. That said, my anger is not only reserved for the Mullahs in Tehran, it lies with three of my own politicians who are milling around Washington and elsewhere in the world, grappling to find the right words–or more likely, the better way to keep alive the planned “negotiations” with Ahmadinejad and Khamenei as the legitimate rulers of the Iranian nation. These three would be President Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. One of my favorite authors, Christopher Hitchens, scorched Clinton in his most recent article about the elections in Iran:
Shame on all those media outlets that have been complicit in this dirty lie all last week. And shame also on our pathetic secretary of state, who said that she hoped that “the genuine will and desire” of the people of Iran would be reflected in the outcome. Surely she knows that any such contingency was deliberately forestalled to begin with.
I strongly recommend reading the rest of this article by Hitchens, who is far more experienced on the subject than I am and has traveled to Iran several times, including multiple visits to the mosques that preach the anti-American, anti-Israel diatribe that has allowed the Khomeinists to stay in power these last thirty years.
Anyhow, I am appalled by the lack of outrage expressed by President Obama. Apparently, there isn’t enough “Hope and Change” left over for the people of Iran, who are crying out for help and are being met with a muted response. Who could forget the speech Obama gave the night of his victory? I recall the President vowing to stand up to “those who would tear this world down.” So much for that I guess. At least, many Iranians must be thinking this as they are beaten, electrocuted, and even shot by revolutionary thugs armed with guns by the Iranian authorities.
As the protests rage, Iran holds the potential for a brighter future. My concern right now is that the millions of people marching against theocratic rule are lacking a strong leader who can redefine the meaning of “revolution”. Sure, Mir Hossein Mousavi would have been a better and more receptive leader than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but at the end of the day, he’s still part of the establishment and, according to Kenneth R. Timmerman, played a vital role in the creation of Hezbollah, the Shiite terrorist group that has brought much mayhem to Lebanon, the Middle East, and the world. Luckily, the Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, suffered a humiliating defeat in Lebanon’s recent election. While mentioning this subject, I would like to quote Mr. Hitchens again, who, like me, cannot accept that a demagogue like Ahmadinejad was able to secure re-election while the tide turns on Islamic fundamentalism elsewhere in the world.
The obvious evidence of fixing, fraud, and force to one side, there is another reason to doubt that an illiterate fundamentalist like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could have increased even a state-sponsored plebiscite-type majority. Everywhere else in the Muslim world, in every election in the last two years, the tendency has been the other way. In Morocco in 2007, the much-ballyhooed Justice and Development Party wound up with 14 percent of the vote. In Malaysia and Indonesia, the predictions of increased market share for the pro-Sharia parties were likewise falsified. In Iraq this last January, the local elections penalized the clerical parties that had been making life a misery in cities like Basra. In neighboring Kuwait last month, the Islamist forces did poorly, and four women—including the striking figure of Rola Dashti, who refuses to wear any headgear—were elected to the 50-member parliament. Most important of all, perhaps, Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah was convincingly and unexpectedly defeated last week in Lebanon after an open and vigorous election, the results of which were not challenged by any party.
Indeed. Hitchens’ summation certainly makes a lot of sense, and I wish that President Obama had the decency to say exactly that in a direct address to the people of Iran–not an address to reach out to the bloody and repressive theocracy, but an address to the Iranians, both young and old, who are tired of living under a country that is ruled by Sharia law and ravaged by unemployment and economic stagnation.
President Obama, you have a chance to stand up for everything you campaigned on. Face the reality that Ahmadinejad and Khamenei are not, and will never be, trustworthy partners in peace. Iran, the United Sates, and the entire international community are at a crossroads that, with or without a good outcome, will be of historical proportions.
All of this, though, is just wishful thinking. The fact is, the situation in Iran, as well as the insanity that is threatening to plunge the Korean Peninsula into nuclear war, has revealed Obama to be a phony and a leader who is incapable of standing up for justice. His first 100 days have been dedicated to protecting the rights of mass murderers like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and he has been very vocal in his opposition to the “Previous Administration”, but sadly his concern for oppression and human rights doesn’t seem to apply to anywhere but his own country.