Sunday, June 21, 2009

Iran's Second Revolution, Week Two

I grab a broken brick and throw. I’m amazed. I never thought I’d do it. I should practice. It was a very bad shot. I grab another one, the size of a pomegranate and keep it with me, hiding it behind my back. My feeling is a mixture of a university teacher and a hooligan -

...There is a woman who is being beaten. She’s horrified and hysterical but not as much as the anti-riot police officer facing her. She shrieks, ‘Where can I go? You tell me go down the street and you beat me. Then you come up from the other side and beat me again. Where can I go?’

In sheer desperation, the officer hits his helmet several times hard with his baton. ‘Damn me! Damn me! What the hell do I know!’

How much longer can this go on?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Mouse Roars!

· I have come due to concerns of current political and social conditions - to defend the rights of the nation
· I have come to improve Iran's International relations
· I have come to tell the world and return to Iran our pride, our dignity, our future
· I have come to bring to Iran a FUTURE of FREEDOM, of HOPE, of fulfilment
· I have come to represent the poor the helpless the hungry
· I have come to be ACCOUNTABLE to you my people and to this world
· Iran must participate in FAIR elections, it is a matter of national importance
· I have come to you because of the corruption in Iran
· 25% inflation means IGNORANCE - THIEVING - CORRUPTION - where is the wealth of my nation?
· What have you done with $300 BILLION in last 4 years - where is the wealth of the nation?
· The next Gov of Iran will be chosen by the people
· Why do all our young want to leave this country?
· I know of no creation who places HIMSELF ahead of 20 million of the nation
· We are Muslims - what is happening in Iran Government is a sin.
· This Gov is not what Imam Khomeini wanted for Iran - #Iranelection I will change all this - This is the SEA of GREEN

It sounds promising, but that last line worries me. The Mouse and his allies (Rafsanjani, Khatami, etc.) demonstrably know how to deflect and defuse popular sentiment for their own ends, and the last time they did that they helped Khomeini eliminate all political opposition to create the mullahocracy that so many Iranians despise. What will they do different now?

Note that the regime's thugs are now beginning to cover their faces. It is important that when the crowd catches one of them that they are photographed and even fingerprinted (one can always cut open a pen) before being released. Fear of accountability will then spread quickly through their ranks.

Iran Election Twitter feeds

[Posting comments over at Contentions.]

Update, 6/19/09: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei threw down the glove this morning and declared the vote legitimate, as a worried-looking Mahmoud Ahmedenejad, a man who knows he is currently president only in name, looks on. It seems no more compromises are possible, The Mouse must either accept the results or work outside the system and choose revolution. Mehdi Jami writes:
This is the end of Khamenei and the beginning of a new era. He doesn’t hear our voice and doesn’t speak our language…today, Khamenei showed the people that he is not their leader…He sees us as enemies. Elections are not important for him. He only represents a small group of people. The problem is that he wants to suppress other groups so they cannot participate in decision-making. People feel this. They see that power is in the hands of a few. Khamenei even dislikes the old leaders of the revolution. In this regime, there’s no place for anyone with a different opinion.

Khamenei resigned from real leadership and was demoted to the leadership of a certain group of his supporters. He easily ignored and threatened this great opposition, which according to his own formal statistics, is composed of 13 million people. His problem is that he wants to ignore the population. His biggest mistake was to say that he is closer to the current president than to the people. According to our constitution, our leader cannot belong to one political party or another. He will be remembered as a leader who split the people, ended his own leadership and became a tribal chief. He created divisions in the society.

Khamenei says there are legal ways to protest. But in such a system, which laws are legitimate? A law on paper is not a law. A law together with its administrators is a law. When the administrators are corrupt, create roadblocks to the implementation of the law and interpret it any way they want, how can one have any hope in the role of law? Based on which law has he arrested hundreds of people? Based on which law has he ignored the complaints of millions of people?

I am certain that opposition by the great people of Iran will continue against this kind of politics and leadership until they find a new leader who is able to think of the people and does not dominate a small group over the larger population.

Mousavi and Karroubi are leaders of an opposition that did not vote for Ahmadinejadism. This is a result of Khamenei’s mistake who has tied his future with Ahmadinejad. This is a great movement by millions. Either Mousavi or Karroubi realize this and take the responsibility to lead it or they will retreat because of threats. But it is clear that this great power [opposition] will not remain without a leader and will not die down. Khamenei’s era is over and new leaders are compelled to emerge.

What goes through the minds of today's young revolutionaries?
I will participate in the demonstrations tomorrow. Maybe they will turn violent. Maybe I will be one of the people who is going to get killed. I’m listening to all my favorite music. I even want to dance to a few songs. I always wanted to have very narrow eyebrows. Yes, maybe I will go to the salon before I go tomorrow! There are a few great movie scenes that I also have to see. I should drop by the library, too. It’s worth to read the poems of Forough and Shamloo again. All family pictures have to be reviewed, too. I have to call my friends as well to say goodbye. All I have are two bookshelves which I told my family who should receive them. I’m two units away from getting my bachelors degree but who cares about that. My mind is very chaotic. I wrote these random sentences for the next generation so they know we were not just emotional and under peer pressure. So they know that we did everything we could to create a better future for them. So they know that our ancestors surrendered to Arabs and Mongols but did not surrender to despotism. This note is dedicated to tomorrow’s children…”

Revolution, yes, but even now it is not certain that the rule of mullahs will be overthrown, for The Mouse represents conservative yet inclusive influences, not liberal Western ones.

The best hope for Iranians today is that the men on both sides are professional revolutionaries - they did this in 1979, remember - so that, like good generals, they will know when to tell their troops to retreat or surrender. This revolution could still be less bloody than the last. Tomorrow may be critical.

In the meantime, Iranians are enjoying a brand-new sport: Basiji hunting.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Iranian Islamic Revolution is Dead!

The tremendous events in Iran following its latest presidential election may be difficult to follow, but it seems life there will never be the same again. During one of the demonstrations yesterday a list of Seven Demands was circulated among the crowd. Number Three was the "temporary appointment" of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri as Supreme Leader. Montazeri helped turn Iran into a theocracy and at one time was Khomeini’s designated successor, but in the late 80s he denounced the regime’s excesses and retired to comparative security in Qom.

Here is what Montazeri has to say:
...This was the greatest occasion for the government’s officials to bond with their people. But unfortunately, they used it in the worst way possible.Declaring results that no one in their right mind can believe, and despite all the evidence of crafted results, and to counter people protestations, in front of the eyes of the same nation who carried the weight of a revolution and 8 years of war, in front of the eyes of local and foreign reporters, attacked the children of the people with astonishing violence. And now they are attempting a purge, arresting intellectuals, political opponents and Scientifics…based on my religious duties, I will remind you…I expect the government to take all measures to restore people’s confidence. Otherwise, as I have already said, a government not respecting people’s vote has no religious or political legitimacy...I pray for the greatness of the Iranian people.

Valid democracy trumps valid Islam - this from Khomeini’s closest partner and at one time intended successor. The Iranian Islamic Revolution is over, let the Second Iranian Revolution bury it as peacefully as possible, lest the best that can be expected is a generation of spiritual emptiness, like the Soviet Union during the Brezhnev years.

Counterpoint: Now Lebanon reports on the alternation between buoyancy and depression that Hezbollah and Ahmadinejad supporters experienced in that country: 1, 2: They now see regional war as an option to regain their fortunes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

2 people shot inside U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

I was afraid of this but didn't expect things to happen so soon. An inevitable result of Obama's Cairo speech labeling Israel's "continued settlements" in the West Bank as "illegitimate" is massively increased danger to almost all Jewish-related targets: if the attackers make it to another country, they can fight extradition and prosecution on the grounds that they were attacking organizations that supported (even indirectly) "illegitimate" colonization, so their own attacks are, by extension, perfectly legitimate.

It seems somebody didn't want to wait for Al Qaeda or Hezbollah or the Nazis but took it in their head to attack right away.

Of course, I'm blogging off the top of my head. I could be wrong - but how likely is that?

Update, 2:48pm: Fox News reports the gunman is a white supremacist. Charles Johnson has excerpts from his website.

You don't just walk into the museum proper with a gun, not the USHMM anyway. The gunman was probably stopped just inside the building at the security desk. Question is, why wasn't he stopped before he got in? This is one of the most heavily-patrolled areas of Washington. There is little parking, so the gunman probably either took a taxi or walked with his shotgun a considerable distance.

Update, 3:04pm: As the alleged gunman describes it,
"In 1981 Von Brunn attempted to place the treasonous Federal Reserve Board of Governors under legal, non-violent, citizens arrest. He was tried in a Washington, D.C. Superior Court; convicted by a Negro jury, Jew/Negro attorneys, and sentenced to prison for eleven years by a Jew judge. A Jew/Negro/White Court of Appeals denied his appeal. He served 6.5 years in federal prison." [courtesy amir/LGF]
Pay attention to the word, "treasonous". Not that different from "illegitimate", is it? So the guy thought what he did was legal.

Update, 3:47pm: Illegally parked.

Update, 6/16/09: The real issue, as Richard Cohen puts it, is that
To far more people than we would like to admit, the mystery of James W. von Brunn, the alleged shooter at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, is not that he held such weird and depraved views about Jews and the Holocaust, but that those views are considered weird and depraved...That anti-Semitism is now a part of Middle Eastern culture. It has infiltrated textbooks; it is recited in mosques. It is aired on television -- for instance, the broadcast of a play produced at Gaza's Islamic University in which Jews were portrayed as drinking Muslim blood...James W. von Brunn was quickly segregated from the American mainstream and designated the crackpot he is. In the Middle East, though, he would be no such thing...

Monday, June 01, 2009