I'm not well-versed on most international news. I read the New York Times and our local Seattle paper and listen faithfully to an intelligent talk radio host, but find myself with the ostrich approach to much of it, in the same way that I avoid movies with violence and suspense. World events are far more consequential than celluloid stories, but at the same time, I feel powerless to impact, and incompetent to fully understand, most situations, which are often a blend of politics, religion and cultural context.
But there's something different about Iran's revolution. This is a revolt of the type that can not only turn around the safety of the entire world, but pivot a nation from totalitarian, misogynistic suppression toward at least a form of democratic, semi-tolerant rule. What this could mean is opportunities for Iran's citizens, and openings to diminish or eliminate hostile threats that unchecked could launch us, God forbid, into a massive international conflagration.
So the significance of demonstrating for Iran's citizens who resist the imposition of the fraudulently and forcibly-perpetuated leadership of Ahmed Ahmadinejad is enormous. And as the people of Iran continue risking their lives and combating repression to express themselves, rallies around the world in their support abound. Tempe, Arizona. San Diego, California. Charlotte, North Carolina. People of Iranian descent, many of whom recall fleeing their nation with the overthrow of the Shah, join students and others passionately insisting on Iranian citizens' right to an election free of corruption.
I happened upon Mahmoud Ahmadinejab's blog. Really, he has one. While enjoying time with his wife and children, he says, he came upon "the noble book- Nahjul Balagha," specifically, "the letter of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) to his governor Maalik al-Ashtar, in which he (pbuh) elaborates the right procedure of ruling and governance." Ahmadinejab "naturally" wanted to review this "greatest management charter of Islamic government" because he's "someone who bears the heaviest executive responsibility of the country for sometime now." And he plans to continue for some more time, asserting the direction he believes is what Allah wants.
In this letter, Imam Ali (pbuh!) puts forth some pretty good-sounding instructions, like taking care of the poor, being just in making decisions, choosing fair advisors, humility, and integrity--in the service of Allah. It appears, however, that all bets are off for those who don't want to follow Allah's precepts. When it comes to negotiating, here's the word: "If your enemy invites you to a peace treaty that will be agreeable to Allah, then never refuse to accept such an offer because peace will bring rest and comfort to your armies, will relieve you of anxieties and worries, and will bring prosperity and affluence to your people. But even after such treaties be very careful of the enemies and do not place too much confidence in their promises because they often resort to peace treaty to deceive and delude you and take advantage of your negligence, carelessness and trust."
We're dealing with a theocracy here, but also a dictator, who justifies his oppression with religious interpretations. Those who eschew America's founding as a "Christian nation" must appreciate that while the populace has always been almost entirely Christian, governance has always remained entirely secular. Contrast our system with Iran's; be grateful for our heritage and our founders' insight, as well as the goodwill that the Judeo-Christian perspective encourages.
Then I read some of the comments on Ahmadinejab's blog. Jack Meyerhoff from the US: "I hope someone puts a bullet in your head very soon." Just above that Han Guangui from China says, "you are very brave that you can fight against to USA ,I support you forever." A couple comments ask if other commenters are fake.
What are we to believe about Iran? I believe the reports that journalists have been detained, email curtailed. That citizens risk injury and death to protest that their will has been violated. That Ahmadinejab, who denies the Holocaust, seeks nuclear capabilities, has designated Israel, which could be within firing range, an enemy despite there being no real threat other than its Jewish basis.
From Ahmadinejab's blog, I learn one thing. He claims, if not believes, that this is all about what Allah wants. And religious conviction can be the most dangerous of motivators. I only hope that world response allows the Iranian people to prevail, and that Pres. Obama gets over his fear of "meddling" and shows some courage to take a stand.