Monday, June 22, 2009


Yesterday evening there was a candle-light vigil for the Iranian election protestors at UN Plaza. Nearly one thousand mostly Iranian-Americans gathered to speechify softly, shield flickering flames from the wind, and lament the crackdown.
Many held signs recalling Miss Neda Agha Soltan, 27 years old, gunned down by the Basiji at the intersection of Saheli Street and Khosravi Street in Tehran on Saturday.
[She was not involved in the protests. She was merely a spectator. Wrong place, wrong time.]

Twenty years ago there had been demonstrations supporting the Tiananmen protestors at the same spot in San Francisco.
I could not help but recall those days. Both movements are startlingly similar.

The Tiananmen reformers did not question the fundament of their society; they had been brought up within it, and took many of its codes of behaviour and assumptions for granted. They supported a dissident member of the establishment, for reasons that in themselves were supportive of the establishment. They themselves represented a privileged and in many ways self-isolated strain of their society. And most crucially, despite their seemingly great numbers, they did not represent a majority point-of-view, nor an ideological strain with any great resonance among other levels of society.

Twenty years ago the Tiananmen revolt was crushed. Then life went on as normal for everyone else.

I have little doubt that this "revolution" in Iran will also be crushed. And no, even if the outside world were to massively aid the dissidents, they would not succeed - outside interference would more than likely make their defeat more certain, their deaths more brutal.
The American and European love for 'reformers' often overlooks the nature of the idolized group - what these people wish to change, they wish to change because it does not work for them. They are not liberals as we understand the term. They aren't necessarily even idealists. And, crucially, they only represent a subset of a minority social stratum, they do not represent the demands and aspirations of the entire populace.
The masses will gladly watch the Basiji and police squelch the protests of what are mostly disaffected university students and urban intelligentsia.
Most of the Iranian population distrust the reformers more than they distrust the system.


Unknown said...

I think that we should not read too much into the recent events in Iran following the election. One wonders why the government even bothers with elections. The revolutionary government organized the structure of Iran in such a manner that revolutions would have no chance of success. That was the case with the demonstrators.

The government smoked out the dissidents, and I expect some will disappear over the coming months. Some will be arrested for various infractions and will just vanish without a trace; others might serve some prison time. It will be the government's lesson in keeping the population in line. It's a good object lesson to any westerner who thought that there's a chance for a real revolution in Iran. So far as we know, the government didn't even need to kill many people to accomplish the result. Let's be glad that we don't live there.

This is not, however, the last we'll hear from Iran. I expect the chatter to start up again tomorrow or the day after. Israel will still have the same decisions to make about Iranian nuclear weapons. Obama will continue to preoccupy himself with toadying to the Palestinians and policing the Jews... God forbid that a new bedroom is built in Judea or Samaria.


GRANT!PATEL! said...

One remarkable thing is the chants of "allahu akbar' in the streets of the capitol. Clearly, not an unreligious rebellion.

---Grant Patel

GRANT!PATEL! said...

Das is doch die scheisse! You're STILL screening comments! I keep telling you, I am harmless!!!!

And WHERE are my commnets about gardening, huh?!??!

---Grant Darnpeevish

Alai Qutteineh said...

It is well known Mousavi (of Moses) is a Jew and the demonstrations in Iran are the work of Mossad agent-provocateurs. The ordinary people of Iran are peace-loving and would not wish to threaten the Islamic revolution. The agitators are funded by international zionism, and the Jew-owned international media, in thrall to the zionist oppressors, are running alongside.

Telmac said...

Is Alai Qutteineh shitting us, being an anti-semite, being an asshole, telling the truth, or is that someone who we know who is just being annoying.

Tzipporah said...

Interesting - I didn't know that about the Tienanmen square protestors. But, then, I was about 14 when that happened.

I always get a different perspective on world evens from your blog, BoTH - whether I want it or not. :)

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