Where Are the Voices of Conscience for Iran?
by Tony Pierce
Light for the Last Days
Where is everyone? Where did all the people who demonstrated against Israel, ¹s brutality in Operation Cast Lead, in the Second Lebanon War, in Operation Defensive Shield, or even in The Hague, when we were dragged there unwillingly after daring to build a separation barrier between us and the suicide bombers, disappear to? We see demonstrations here and there, but these are mainly Iranian exiles. Europe, in principle, is peaceful and calm.
So is the United States. Here and there a few dozens, here and there a few hundreds. Have they evaporated because it is Tehran and not here?
All the peace-loving and justice-loving Europeans, British professors in search of freedom and equality, the friends filling the newspapers, magazines and various academic journals with various demands for boycotting Israel, defaming Zionism and blaming us and it for all the ills and woes of the world-could it be that they have taken a long summer vacation? Now of all times, when the Basij hooligans have begun to slaughter innocent civilians in the city squares of Tehran? Aren’t they connected to the Internet? Don’t they have YouTube? Has a terrible virus struck down their computer? Have their justice glands been removed in a complicated surgical procedure (to be re-implanted successfully for the next confrontation in Gaza)? How can it be that when a Jew kills a Muslim, the entire world boils, and when extremist Islam slaughters its citizens, whose sole sin is the aspiration to freedom, the world is silent?
Imagine that this were not happening now in Tehran, but rather here. Let ‚ ¹s say in Nablus. Spontaneous demonstrations of Palestinians turning into an ongoing bloodbath. Border Policemen armed with knives, on motorcycles, butchering demonstrators. A young woman downed by a sniper in midday, dying before the cameras. Actually, why imagine? We can just recall what happened with the child Mohammed a-Dura. How the affair (which was very harsh, admittedly) swept the world from one end to another. The fact that a later independent investigative report raised tough questions as to the identity of the weapon from which a-Dura was shot, did not make a difference to anyone. The Zionists were to blame, and that was that.
And where are the world’s leaders? Where is the wondrous rhetorical ability of Barack Obama? Where has his sublime vocabulary gone? Where is the desire, that is supposed to be built into all American presidents, to defend and act on behalf of freedom seekers around the globe? What is this stammering?
A source who is connected to the Iranian and security situation, said yesterday that if Obama had shown on the Iranian matter a quarter of the determination with which he assaulted the settlements in the territories, everything would have looked different. The demonstrators in Iran are desperate for help,” said the man, who served in very senior positions for many years, they need to know that they have backing, that there is an entire world that supports them, but instead they see indifference. And this is happening at such a critical stage of this battle for the soul of Iran and the freedom of the Iranian people. It’s sad.”
Or the European Union, for example. The organization that speaks of justice and peace all year round. Why should its leaders not declare clearly that the world wants to see a democratic and free Iran, and support it unreservedly? Could it be that the tongue of too many Europeans is still connected to dark places? The pathetic excuse that such support would give Khamenei and Ahmadinejad an excuse to call the demonstrators ‚ ³Western agents, ‚ ² does not hold water. They call them “Western agents” in any case, so what difference does it make?
To think that just six months ago, when Europe was flooded with demonstrations against Israel, leftists and Islamists raised pictures of Nasrallah, the prot ƒ ©g ƒ © of the ayatollah regime. The fact that this was a benighted regime did not trouble them. This is madness, but it is sinking in and influencing the weary West. If there is a truly free world here, let it appear immediately! And impose sanctions, for example, on those who slaughter the members of their own people. Just as it imposed them on North Korea, or on the military regime in Burma.
It is only a question of will, not of ability.
Apparently, something happens to the global adherence to justice and equality, when it comes to Iran. The oppression is overt and known. The Internet era broadcasts everything live, and it is all for the better.
Hooligans acting on behalf of the regime shoot and stab masses of demonstrators, who cry out for freedom.
Is anything more needed? Apparently it is. Because it is to no avail. The West remains indifferent. Obama is polite. Why shouldn ‚ ¹t he be, after all, he aspires to a dialogue with the ayatollahs. And that is very fine and good, the problem is that at this stage there is no dialogue, but there is death and murder on the streets. At this stage, one must forget the rules of etiquette for a moment. The voices being heard from Obama elicit concern that we are actually dealing with a new version of Chamberlain. Being conciliatory is a positive trait, particularly when it follows the clumsy bellicosity of George Bush, but when conciliation becomes blindness, we have a problem.
The courageous voice of Angela Merkel, who issued yesterday a firm statement of support for the Iranian people and its right to freedom, is in the meantime a lone voice in the Western wilderness. It is only a shame that she has not announced an economic boycott, in light of the fact that this is the European country that is most invested in building infrastructure in Iran.
She was joined by British Foreign Secretary Miliband. It is little, it is late, it is not enough. Millions of freedom seekers have taken to the streets in Iran, and the West is straddling the fence, one leg here, the other leg there. There is a different Islam. This is already clear today.
Even in Iran. There are millions of Muslims who support freedom, human rights, equality for women. These millions loathe Khamenei, Chavez and Nasrallah too. But part of the global left wing prefers the ayatollah regime over them. The main thing is for them to raise flags against Israel and America.
The question is why the democrats, the liberals, and Obama, Blair and Sarkozy, are continuing to sit on the fence. This is not a fence of separation, it is a fence of shame
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David Bedein, Bureau Chief
Stop the War statement on the crisis in Iran
The crisis unfolding in Iran must not become the pretext for renewed intervention by the USA or Britain in the region, nor for a whipping up of further tension around Iran ‚ ¹s nuclear programme.
The responsibility of the anti-war movement is first of all to oppose the role of the British government in the region, and to prevent its posturing being used as a pretence to justify a US or Israeli military attack against Iran, an attack which would have catastrophic results for the whole Middle East, and the Iranian people first of all.
The Stop the War Coalition believes that resolving the crisis is the right and responsibility of the Iranian people alone, and that external interference can play no positive role particularly interference by those powers which have laid waste to neighbouring Iraq in a lawless war and occupation, and which unfailingly support Israeli aggression in the region.
It would be wrong for us to take any position on the disputed outcome of the Iranian presidential election. We do, however, support the right to demonstrate peacefully, just as we support the Iranian people ‚ ¹s right to political, trade union and other civil freedoms and to struggle to achieve them. We unequivocally condemn the shooting of protesters and other violations of democratic liberties by the Iranian government.
We note the anger displayed by many Iranians against the British government.
These sentiments reflect Britain’s shameful history in the country, from overthrowing the democratic regime of Mossadeq in 1952, to its stalwart support for the Shah’s despotism and its support for Saddam Hussein in his aggression against the Islamic Republic in the 1980s.
This anger can only be exacerbated by British interference in the present crisis. The British government remained silent when its ally Hosni Mubarak falsified election results in Egypt, and it has refused to deal with democratically-elected leaders in the Palestine Authority and in Lebanon.
The government supports the Saudi kleptocracy, which does not need to manipulate elections because they are never held there.
The British and US governments wish to see regime change in Iran in order to dominate the Middle East and its resources and leave Israel as the region’s unchallenged military superpower. And a government which ignored millions of its own people marching against its planned war against Iraq is in no position to lecture others on democratic attitudes.
In expressing our solidarity with all the Iranian people striving for a democratic outcome to the crisis in their country, the Coalition will support demonstrations and initiatives which reflect these principles.
Note: This is a draft statement by the officers of Stop the War Coalition, which will be put for endorsement to Stop the War’s National Steering Committee on Saturday 27 June 2009