Iran’s anti governmental protest enters its fourth day. People follow with mixed feelings, hope and worry. Few points and opinions for the western audience that the mass media may not highlight:
1. Technically, this time around things didn’t even start in the capital. They took off in few smaller cities across the country and spread to some big cities and then reached the capital. This points to different dynamics that could make the uprisings more difficulto control for the government. More than 30 cities have been involved. This is unprecedented.
2. Iran has reportedly repealed some net neutrality (restoring its freedom as some put it!) by reportedly discriminating against massaging apps that are used to mobilize populations. If protests spread further, they may shut down the whole network as they did before. In comparison to 2009 uprisings the Internet penetration rate has nearly doubled reaching above 80%.
3. During the first couple of days the hardliners tried to seize the protests and view them as economic disatisfaction of the masses to use it against the reformist government. That however backfired and slogans targeted the regime as a whole. This will intensify if the revolutionary guard (under the supreme leader) enters the scene; so far only the police forces have been in charge of controling the crowd with limited casualties.
4. Protesters as usual protest economic pressures and also demand social and political freedom. Economic pressures are partly due to neoliberal policies of the reformist government and the power it has given to the banks. This plus some typical-range curroption and mismanagement is not unique to Iran. Iran’s economy, however, suffers from few other elements:
The country has grown several political mafias in the past 40 years from cartels under the rule of the Islamic revolutionary guard and many other theocratic organizations. On top of these, the economic sanctions that were supposed to be relieved after the Iran Deal, still keep pressuring people. Needless to say that US under Trump resisted the agreement illegally, although Europe did its part after Iran showed its commitment to the nuclear deal.
5. Now Trump’s administration backed by the war machine is trying to harvest the fruits of this economic pressure their own way. His message
[although in pure syntax and without a context]
was heart-warming (The world is watching, we are supporting the people of Iran, they differ from the government, bla) in reality was only worrying, given where it came from!
The truth is, the majority of the people in Iran are tired of its theocracy, though a majority of those – hopefully – have some historic memory on what has happened to other places that US offered a hand of support; Iraq, Lybia, Afaghanistan, Yemen and Syria, directly or indirectly. So it seems they will pass this time too. Plus no one should be fooled that Trump’s administration has a slightest care for this thing called human rights, in any part of the world.
This is a political excuse to use against the geopolitical adversaries, and never against the temporary allies. And in itself is a hypocratic and psychopathic measure.
6. Along those lines, Fox News is shamelessly repeating that Obama lost a golden opportunity in 2009 to interfere or else the Iranian regime would not be in place. I wonder what kind of people watch this show. What’s their level of intellect, their fact-base or their empathy level, to buy this rhetoric, still in 2017? One of these three at least shall be questioned for any houshold who gets their news and analysis from such sources.
Had Obama meddled in 2009, [a quick look at other countries where they meddled show that] not only the theocrats in Tehran wouldn’t be in place right now, but lots of buildings and roads, infrastructure and universities and historic monuments and probably some half a million people wouldn’t also be there. Thus, Obama did the right thing not to seize that *opportunity* to wage war against a complex and misunderstood country. And did it wrong with any other country that it did meddle with, including Syria and Lybia. It’s that simple. And it’s mind-blowing that a large fraction of the American public watch this rhetoric on channels like Fox and don’t call it bullshit to change the channel immediately! This is about time for Americans (and with respect to the trends, soon the rest of the west) to understand how short-minded and manipulative these rhetorics are and to stop seeing themselves as the saviors of the world. Especially America that needs to deal with its own rigged politics before exporting a democracy that is running out at home.
7. War is a lose-lose game. That is, the end of all hopes. And the war machine does not miss any opportunity to wage another war. The west must not repeat its mistake this time around, when US adiministration will come to team up to get allies to participate in another war. We must be very clear that it is not an option.
War is lose-lose game for the whole planet, including the western voters who keep voting for war-friendly politics, not paying enough attention to the fact that much of their issues come from those counter-productive policies. Only few will win in a war: Right wing politicians, such as the Republican Party and the sentaros who will use it to distract the public while looting them. Hardliners, Mullahs and right-wings in Tehran who will probably get more powerful if they won’t be overthrown, as they did it before in the 80s. Even if they are rid of, other perhaps new radical groups and brands such as ISIS who will norture from a post-war ecology. And not to mention, of course the weapon industry and their shareholders. These groups combined mke a very tiny fraction of the world population. They are the winners of the next war and every one else will lose. Generations will be hurt and that pain – as usual – will NOT stay within the borders of the affected country. Its shockwaves does spread through immigration, economic difficulties, disease and a lot of other mysterious ways that Karma works. So do not get hopeful when you see another country in war cast on your TV. Right in that moment you are participating in it, and Karma works in mysterious ways!
8. Social and political freedom is a win-win game. It’s time for theocrats in Tehran to let go of their repressive measures and let the people breath. They sure know policies such as compulsory hijab, or the organizations that keep an otherwise democratic code from functioning democratically, do not come from their faith in some ideology. These are just symbolic signs to show who has the power, or some institutions to presever it. And similar to the collapse of soviets, they aren’t working for them anymore and if they try to keep those elements, they may lose it all.
So it’s about time for the Iranian government to allow genuine and radical reforms – socially and even politically – not as a passive response to the political unrest, but as proactive measures for the future events that will sure come their way even if they manage this one. In fact this might be one of their last chances to do so. The moment people know a different reality is imaginable they will not tolarate theb current fourty-years backwards politics of isolation. We are hopeful and we wish that somehow without any other foreign intrusion, the Iranian people manage to mobilize peacefully to align their demands, and confront their local dominators in large numbers to show that enough is enough. Let’s see how the future unfolds. But a large political shift, like a referendum should be within reach.