Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Crushing Silence from Iran

Throughout the days that have followed the outcome of the June 12 election in Iran, the people of that country of taken to the streets and responded and protested against their willful government in a manner that has endeared them and their nation to the world in a way the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran have never been able to do over the last 30 years.

As the government has employed its tools of repression in the last few days things have taken a dreadful, bleak turn. Lives have been lost and snuffed out, all of them equal in their tragedy despite the fact that we still have not been able to count them.

The most disappointing thing is the lack of response from older men in positions of power who seemingly had the influence to steer Iran away from the course it is on now and direct the government towards achieving a rational detente with its own people. Instead the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij continue to assault, beat, kill and detain people without discretion. As this crackdown began, I thought it would undermine the credibility and authority of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but I grow cynical that the Ayatollahs are demonstrating all of the worst characteristics of politicians in their effort to sustain their control of the country blind to all of the principles that they claim to stand for.

As the mainstream media gets arrested or forced out of the country and the Iranian government finds a way to duct tape the eyes, ears and mouths of the Twittering citizen-journalists, most significantly Persiankiwi, I am deeply saddened and discouraged by the silence that is follow over the opposition movement. Days ago these people were lauded the world over for their convictions and their bravery, even by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but as the government of Iran make clear their willingness to oppress its people and shatter the facade of stable democracy they fabulated about earlier this month, it is frightening to consider how far this government is willing to go.

As the next protest is mounted, I anticipate it with more anxiety than hope. Mir Hussein Mousavi's recent silence, along with that of Ali Hashemi Rafsanjani and former President Mohammad Khatami, harbinger bleaker times ahead rather than anything that will mark the positive reform and advanced freedoms that were distant but still light years closer than they are now.

As things proceed from here I just hope that my friends there and their families are safe.