Change visits the Middle East?

I remember the collapse of the Soviet empire, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the democratization of Poland. Those historic turning points looked a lot like current events in Iran:

What can police officers do against so many?

The first 3,000-4,000 people were met by armed forces in full riot gear and a number of Basij officials in street attire. By 4 pm, there were 100,000-200,000 people ready to attend the rally, and Mousavi, Karroubi, Khatami, Khatami’s brother, and Karbassji (former mayor of Tehran and affiliate of Rafsanjani) all showed up.

The armed forces did not engage the crowd and the crowd started to chant “arm forces, support support” i.e “nuroyeh entzammy: hemayat hemayat”.

Political and religious leaders ultimately depend on the police and the army to stifle dissent. When the police refuse to act, repression ends.

For now, the police are certainly striking wherever they can:

still hearing news about more deaths during last nights raid to dormitories and todays shootings.

more than 100 students missing from Tehran Uni dorms – reports of several dead from last night

God bless the university students, risking death to give birth to freedom and modernity in their nation.

Andrew Sullivan explains what’s at stake:

This blog has long been interested in Iran, especially in its younger generation so open to the West. Part of it is that I’ve long believed that Iran was much more likely to become a democracy than its neighboring Arab states – and that this might be the key to unwinding the clash of civilizations that was hurtling us toward apocalyptic scenarios.

Perhaps we all have a stake in the outcome of these protests.

It’s too soon to know what will result. As Laura Secor comments,

The big question is where we are:  Wenceslas Square [where Czechoslovakians protested against communist rule, successfully] or Tiananmen [where Chinese citizens protested against communist rule — and the resistance was crushed].


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bill
    Jun 16, 2009 @ 08:50:15

    I like how you have captured the significance of the events. It seems that most people see this as a inconsequential event, and believe that nothing will change. Personally this sort of disregard is common in the west. I have talked to people that still think communism could return to the Russia.

    One person commented on the CTV website making the comparison between how the liberal government in Canada used to “Tell the people what they want to hear ” (see below) Personally I find this accusation more relevant to the conservative government, but the fact remains that making a comparison to the situation in Iran shows just how out of touch the general population is when it comes to global events.

    What a farce. This is simply a “recount” to try and stop the protetsts. Tell the people what they want to hear and then do what you want whether the people want it or not, anyways. Kind of reminds me of the Liberals here.


    • Stephen
      Jun 16, 2009 @ 10:30:25

      Yeah — that’s just a typical ignorant commenter, seizing the opportunity to take a cheap shot at a political party he doesn’t like.

      Whatever happens in Iran, it marks a turning point. There’s a good discussion here by Gary Sick, who is recognized as an expert on Iran. If you read him carefully, he’s saying this:

      • If the revolution succeeds, Iran will be different — a more open society.

      • If the revolution is crushed, Iran will be different — a repressive regime will have abandoned all pretense at democracy, and become much more totalitarian in the way it runs the country.

      Either way, it seems that the status quo is no longer an option.


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