One might say, “Leave it alone. It’s not our business.” Some have said, “Who are we to tell them how to run their own government business?” There’s a point to that, when a people are fully engaged in electing their own leaders, when their voices are expressed freely & heard easily by the world. Even our President said so, in his statement about Iran’s election, “When I see violence directed @ peaceful protesters, when I see peaceful dissent being suppressed, wherever that takes place, it is of concern to me & it is of concern to the Am. People…”
So what’s worrying the tucked-away-place in the back of my brain? Not two breaths before the above he’d said, “…I have deep concerns about the election, & I think that the world has deep concerns about the election. You’ve seen in Iran some initial reaction from the Supreme Leader that indicates he understands the Iranian people have deep concerns about the election.” How can one man use so many words, trying to act like he’s saying so much, only to say so painfully little?
Maybe my disquiet relates to how the “Supreme Leader” of this 'peaceful religion' treats the most defenseless of his own people. Maybe it’s something about my country’s President referring to a theocratic despot as “the Supreme Leader”, as if he must approach said lofty potentate with reverence, or suffer some secret consequence. Maybe it’s that despite Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s “firm line against any threats to the regime, warning Iranians to unite behind the country's Islamic system (as authorities imposed severe restrictions on independent media),” that these oppressed & desperate people began to get their voices heard.
Does cutting off internet access, cell phone connections, & information access to foreign & domestic Iranian media not qualify to our President as “peaceful dissent being suppressed”?
I don’t believe Mr. Obama is really as stupid as these statements make him seem. And this is partly why I’m bothered, because he isn’t stupid. His final statement on the matter, “It’s not productive, given the history of US/Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling – the US Pres – meddling in Iranian elections…” sent me on important errands of research. It begged my question, “Why not? Why shouldn’t the strong & powerful stand up for the voice of the oppressed?" (Shouldn’t the Community Organizer schtick come in handy here?) These questions sneaked to the back of my brain & settled themselves quietly under my consciousness…
Until this morning, when I read Andrew Klavan’s “Iran and the Tragedy of Bad Ideas”. Mr. Klavan was wrestling with some of the same thoughts I was, from the angle of “The Stoning of Soraya M” a true story of an Iranian woman falsely accused, convicted & stoned to death for adultery that she did not commit.
There is SOMETHING DESPERATELY WRONG with a society that throws its accused -- helpless, defenseless & stripped of her humanity -- into the blood-thirsty, drooling, yawning jaws of Theocratic Tyranny. There is something desperately wrong with that. The people who fall victim to it must be given voice. Who better than the American President to give them stamina?
Mr. Klavan describes the tragedy of Obama’s weakness this way:
“Tragedies of bad ideas are the most common, pervasive and destructive man-made mass disasters. Yet our thinking class has become powerless to oppose them or even recognize them for what they are….too many of our intellectuals are themselves ensnared in a bad idea: the notion that no system or government is inherently better than any other... Thus there are no enduring human truths…
This bad idea has all but silenced our nation at a moment when the world most needs our voice. Thousands of people in Iran are marching in the streets, protesting a sham election, heroically risking life and limb to try to tear some little breathing space in the smothering shroud of theocracy. Yet President Barack Obama, the leader of the most powerful free nation on earth, responds with mealy-mouthed strategic dithering. ..There comes a time in the affairs of men when bad ideas can be -- and therefore must be -- powerfully opposed by good ones.
Compare, if you can bear it, President Ronald Reagan's response to the 1982 crackdown on the Polish union Solidarity by the Soviet Union: "The struggle in the world today for the hearts and minds of mankind is based on one simple question: Is man born to be free, or slave? In country after country, people have long known the answer to that question. We are free by divine right." In less than a decade, in startlingly large measure because this one idea found so mighty a voice, the Soviet Union was gone…”
Thus, the niggling of my consciousness awakened to new & more sinister questions, ones I really do hate to admit. (Doesn’t he get that this society, this 'peaceful religion' oppresses its people, especially its women?) This man has a wife, young daughters…
I get it. I’m a woman who has the right to speak, so I’ll voice the lingering, nagging questions about my President:
Why will he not put the full power of the American President’s voice behind those who’re fighting, literally, for free & fair elections?
Why will he not, as his predecessors have done, support freedom “wherever it takes place”?
What is he doing here?
And whose side is he on, anyway?
When a people’s freedom is squelched by the iron grip of tyranny,
the strong & powerful should stand up for the oppressed…
Would that someone had done it for Soraya M.