Democrats & Liberals Archives

Iranians Are People Too

President Obama has an unprecedented opportunity in making headway with the Middle East. Due to the uproar in Iran over the possible fixing of their presidential election Americans are know seeing the Iranian people in a totally different light than has been cast over them the past eight years.

Former President Bush, along with his evil puppeteer Dick Chenney, spared no expense in convincing the American people that Iran was the greatest enemy of the west. The Bush administration’s rhetoric painted a picture of Iran as a backwards, subhuman country overrun by terrorists and Muslim fanatics. While there are such elements within Iran this was a portrait painted solely to fuel our fears, and a picture that conspicuously left out all mention of the Iranian people. While America was suffering at the hands of its own democratically elected monster, so to was Iran. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is nothing less than the “Dubbya” of Iran, and yet elements within our country will have you believe he speaks for the totality of Iranian people much as the rest of the world assumed Bush spoke for every American.

What we are seeing in Iran is a massive upwelling of democratic—western, if you must think of it in those terms—ideals. The Iranian people are irate about what they perceive to be a stripping of their right to vote. The most fundamental right in any democracy. If that is not an expression of common ground between Iranians and Americans I’m not sure what is. While many protests have turned violent it is becoming evident that this violence is at the hands of the state more often than at the hands of the protesters. There have been peaceful, mile-long marches, as well as university sit-ins, and a nearly unprecedented use of the internet to report on what is going on. Pictures from Iran look remarkably similar to images of America in the 1960’s. Students, adults, men, and women are all standing together so that their individual voices might be heard as one. Again, if that is not an American ideal nothing is.

President Obama must support the continued peaceful protests of the Iranian people and show America that we are not so different after all. If so much of the Iranian population believes their election was a sham then it is up to them to do something about it. But Obama can support this grass roots support for Iranian democracy. And while correlation is not the same as causation it is a peculiar coincidence that this rise in democratic support within the Middle East happened after Obama’s trip to the region. Several countries in the Middle East have shown their propensity for exercising democratic freedom, and many people in the area are vocally supporting the west, or at least democracy. President Obama should ride this wave as far as it will take him and perhaps at some point it will be impossible for the enemies of diplomacy here in America to ignore the progress he is making, and will continue to make in the Middle East.

Posted by Michael Falino at June 16, 2009 7:08 PM
Comments
Comment #283060

It has always been the regime, not the people.

The French are standing taller than we are, BTW.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier:

France condemns the brutal repression of peaceful protests and the repeated attacks on the liberty of the press and freedom of speech.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs:

Obviously we continue to have concern about what we’ve seen. Obviously the Iranians are looking into this, as well. We continue to be heartened by the enthusiasm of young people in Iran.

Posted by: Christine at June 16, 2009 7:51 PM
Comment #283061

I think what we are seeing in Iran is a clear revolt against the status quo. The Iranian people don’t seem so happy any more to sit around and watch the regime maintain control. They’re no longer happy playing democracy, they actually want it to work for them. The Iranian people want their voice heard. They are an affluent people, and are well aware of the dangerous rhetoric their president spews on a daily basis. They want a chance to direct their own country’s destiny, not sit idle and watch as their overseers keep Iran on a crash course with the west.

Posted by: Michael Falino at June 16, 2009 8:01 PM
Comment #283062

Michael,
Article title: “To” should be “Too”

Posted by: phx8 at June 16, 2009 8:09 PM
Comment #283063

Michael

One of my “mentors” on this blog wrote something about Iran more than two years ago. He was a conservative and wrote before Obama was even a serious candidate.

“Let’s not fool ourselves. Iran is still an oppressive place and its government is a leading supporter of terrorism, but it really does not have a long term future, especially if the price of oil comes down significantly. The Iranian people have been through a lot. The oppression of the Ayatollahs is almost at an end, however. They may yet slip quietly into that good night like the communists in E. Europe. We helped grease the skids for the communists with firm policies and active engagement. BOTH were needed. We should maybe try the same with the Ayatollahs and give the people of Iran a chance.”

http://www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/004783.html

Posted by: Christine at June 16, 2009 8:13 PM
Comment #283064

Thanks, phx8, I’ll go fix that.

Christine, that’s a very interesting sentiment. I’m going to read the post you linked just as soon as I clean up my sloppy spelling!

Posted by: Michael Falino at June 16, 2009 8:16 PM
Comment #283066

This is not your Father’s Oldsmobile or Iran’s either a newer crew of more educated electorate male and female a little freer and they want change and their economy is about tanked. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/10/world/middleeast/10iran.html

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 16, 2009 8:49 PM
Comment #283075

Christine
Ahh yes, Jack. I miss him also. Now there was an ARCH NEMESIS worth debating.

I may be naive but I hope that the CIA has no involvement in the current election. We have a long history of interference in Iranian affairs. If it comes out that we are involved the chances of an opposition victory will vanish into thin air.

Posted by: bills at June 16, 2009 11:34 PM
Comment #283078

I am certainly no G. W. Bush apologist, however… I recall nothing from him referring to Iran as a ‘subhuman country overrun by terrorists and Muslim fanatics.’ On the contrary, I seem to recall a bunch of rhetoric from our former president painting a picture that the people of Iran were a people deserving of better leadership than they had. I would challenge the author, who initially made these assertions, to prove me wrong? Or anyone?

G.W. Bush was one of the worst presidents in recent memory, and I am not sad to see him gone, but let’s let the actual facts speak for themselves instead of making things up just to slander the man… there is plenty from which to choose…

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at June 17, 2009 1:17 AM
Comment #283079

There’s no way the CIA had anything to do with this. One, because this is a Iranian based movement, that had been thought and spoken about since the revolution. Two, the U.S., no matter how covert, could never hope to instigate a artificial revolt against the Ayatollah.

That being said, this uprising,while strong and deep rooted, I doubt will accomplish anything, the control that Khomeini and the mullahs have over the country is not something you can understand or grasp as an American. It’s completely an alien society in terms of what the majority of people see and hear.

We have these coverages of 100,000, 200,000, even 1 million people protesting in Tehran. Even in other cities, but we don’t see the lower class, or extreme rural folk and more prominently the Basij militia, who are SO fanatically loyal to Ahmedinejad and Khomeini to an extent that would make Al-Queda look like school kids.

Posted by: Jon at June 17, 2009 1:19 AM
Comment #283082

Jon
I hope you are right about the CIA. Farly recently we supplying Kurdish rebels with arms and training to infiltrate Iran. I wish I could source this. It was a MSM source
and pretty out in the open. Iran is not the only state to sponser terrorism. Of course there was the imposition of the Shah by the CIA,replacing a democratically elected government and the support and intell we assisted him and his brutal Savak with to keep him in power. There’s much more to tell in our long ,sad, history with Iran and if we are NOT involved it would be the exception.

It should also be noted that one reason it has been hard to get overwhelming support regarding sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program is that there is no proof they are trying to produce a weapon. They may well be doing exactly what they say they are. This could be another case of Saddam’s WMDs.
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Posted by: bills at June 17, 2009 7:06 AM
Comment #283092

michael

“The Bush administration’s rhetoric painted a picture of Iran as a backwards, subhuman country overrun by terrorists and Muslim fanatics.”

no, he painted a picture of a country whos gov’t was supplying weapons to foreign fighters, and making the war worse. he also was correct that iran was and is a threat to israel, and the west, and should not posses nuclear weapons. what is inaccurate, or misleading about that? when did he ever say the iranian people were fanatics? are you saying there are no religeous fanatics in iran? bush is gone give it a rest.

Posted by: dbs at June 17, 2009 9:25 AM
Comment #283094

michael

“President Obama must support the continued peaceful protests of the Iranian people and show America that we are not so different after all.”

he needs to stay out of it, or risks making it look as if the US is sponsoring these protests. it would be far better to air interviews with the average joe ( no punn intended ) on the street showing our support for the iranian people. this IMO would keep the fire in thier bellys so to speak. lets be honest that election was a joke, in many ways no different than mugabes re election.

Posted by: dbs at June 17, 2009 9:36 AM
Comment #283096

bills -

It is a WMD case all over again. Iran isn’t North Korea, there are, as you see, millions of educated Iranians who are just normal people who know what’s going on in the world. So do a lot of clerics, who, despite the Supreme Leader and government, are very good people.

By themselves, moderate mullahs know that nuclear weapons are a direct counter to what they teach. If, at any point, Iran did build, not use, just build a nuclear weapon, there would be mass protest and rebellion by half the countries clerics, and there’s no way that regime would risk it’s religious strength for military.

The thing they *could* do, and may have already done is give weapons-grade uranium to Hezbollah who in turn can get it developed into a dirty bomb, or otherwise.

Obama, and everyone just needs to not say anything about the election, or give opinions about it. The Iranian authorities monitor all cable and network news in the U.S. and Europe, so if they catch a snippet of something they can use to say “Look at this, the truth of how the CIA is manipulating these protests”, it’ll be a big blow against this movement.

Posted by: Jon at June 17, 2009 10:01 AM
Comment #283312

Another such example can be found in a letter written by the fourth Caliph, Ali ibn Abi Talib to his governor of Egypt, Malik al-Ashtar. The Caliph advices his governor on dealings with the poor masses thus;

“Out of your hours of work, fix a time for the complainants and for those who want to approach you with their grievances. During this time you should do no other work but hear them and pay attention to their complaints and grievances. For this purpose you must arrange public audience for them during this audience, for the sake of Allah, treat them with kindness, courtesy and respect. Do not let your army and police be in the audience hall at such times so that those who have grievances against your regime may speak to you freely, unreservedly and without fear.”

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 20, 2009 2:02 PM
Comment #283313

“”Later generations of Ali’s and Fatimah descendants
The Idrisid and Fatimid dynasties are descended from Ali and Fatimah. The descendants of Ali include the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei, supreme leaders of Iran”“

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 20, 2009 2:23 PM
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