July 21, 2007

We'll Try To Liberate Ourselves, Thank You Very Much...

Akbar Ganji, arguably Iran's leading dissident, exhorts the U.S. to summon the basic common sense (harder than it seems, these days...) not to mount a calamitously misguided attack on Iran. A representative excerpt below, though I'd recommend reading the whole piece:

A military attack on Iran would also yield terrible political consequences. It would foster the growth of fundamentalism in the region, which would be bad for the United States and other Western countries and even worse for the Islamic world. Fundamentalism—with its inhuman view of women, hatred of freedom and democracy, and denigration of human rights—is a significant factor in the underdevelopment of Islamic communities. Fundamentalists largely reject Western art, morality, philosophy, culture, and science, though they make an exception for technologies of violence. This narrow-minded view of some of humanity’s great achievements is particularly harmful to Muslims. But a military attack on Iran would reignite the conviction that the Judeo-Christian West, led by the United States, is assaulting the world of Islam, from Afghanistan and Palestine to Iraq and Iran; and it would encourage the view that fundamentalist methods are the best way to fight the non-Muslim invaders. Western governments must not equate the battle against fundamentalism with a battle against Islam—as President Bush does when he describes the “war on terror” as a “crusade,” or when he speaks of “Islamic fascism.” It not only isolates moderate and democratic Muslims; it also provides fertile ground for fundamentalists among them.

We can already see this dynamic at work. After the 1997 election of Mohammad Khatami as president of Iran, civil society, human rights, and political freedoms became the dominant concerns in Iranian political life. The current U.S. military threat has given the Iranian government a freer hand in repressing Iran’s budding civil society in the name of national security, provided a pretext to entrust key political posts to military and security officers, and so eclipsed democratic discourse that some Iranian reformists see themselves caught between domestic despotism and foreign invasion. [emphasis added]

Put differently, Washington's neo-cons, as well as Teheran's, are engaged in a vicious cycle of fear-mongering.

Posted by Gregory at July 21, 2007 02:09 AM

We have always been at war with Oceania....

It never ceases to amaze me that people forget that Iran was undergoing a "soft revolution" prior to the installation of Bush in the White House --- and that people don't realize that the spectre of an externam threat is the easiest way to get a nation to accept authoritarian rule. If we'd had sane leadership over the past 6 and a half years, Iran would be, if not an ally, at least a partner in the war on terror -- and would be far closer to a democratic state than our "friends" like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Kuwait.

Posted by: p_lukasiak at July 22, 2007 01:35 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

'They want to do to us what they did to Iraq' has got to be the most powerful propaganda theme that's ever been used.

Posted by: Barry at July 24, 2007 04:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

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Gregory Djerejian comments intermittently on global politics, finance & diplomacy at this site. The views expressed herein are solely his own and do not represent those of any organization.

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