Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Iran: Revolution Number None

mahmoud ahmedinejad
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My heart is with my Iranian students, many of whom may be caught up in the whirlwinds of violent change at this moment. At the very least they're probably glued to the television or internet, waiting for news from home and hoping their friends and families are okay.

I'm not their teacher anymore. I cannot help them now. I cannot show them the way to go, or the right way to do something. I can't tell them where to find what they need, or suggest alternatives if they can't find it.

All I can do is keep my fingers crossed on their behalf, and hope that, in the days ahead, the decisions they make are the right ones for them.

A lot of people outside of Iran have notions about what should happen next. Democracy, say some. A return to the royal family, say others.

Some, focused on the notion that the CIA and/or Mossad have engineered this whole thing, seem to be brushing its importance off, or at least having a worrying antipathy to it all. "How dare the people rise up? Don't they know they're being played by spooks?"

And maybe they are. It wouldn't be the first time either country got involved with Iranian politics for their own ends.

And it would make the neo-con crowd ever so happy if they didn't have some smirking chimp with nuclear ambitions threatening his neighbors, and didn't have to suffer another Iraq war to get him out.

(The fact that they backed a different smirking chimp for eight years is clearly another matter.)

But what if the CIA and/or Mossad is NOT involved? Or what if they're there, on the street, but the matter is no longer in their control, if indeed it ever was?

What if this is a genuine moment of Iranian anger? What if this is a genuine movement that has burst out into existence?

What if, after years of being told they can't have what they want, the Iranian people are finally saying "yes, we can" and running out to take it?

I think we would be damned silly to pooh-pooh this moment in time because of what the Neo-cons want, or what the CIA may or may not have done, or what Israel thinks.

I think we should be keeping our fingers crossed on the behalf of the Iranian people, tonight and for all nights, until this matter has been settled by them.

I think we should hope that, when the dust is settled, the people either have the government that they want, or that they have put the government that remains on notice that there ARE limits to their patience, and change had better be forthcoming.

That's the thing with revolutions: even the failed ones are successes, because they reveal that the people, once angered into motion, are not some abstract threat to be laughed at like a mythical boogeyman, but a concrete force that can rise up like an earthquake, and shatter the foundations the empire rests upon.

From these days forward, things are never going to be the same for the Iran that I grew up knowing. And we would be wise to wish that country well, rather than spitting at their efforts from our own high towers.

Our own towers aren't indestructible, either.

Kids, you're not my kids anymore. You're men and women. You're the heart and soul of Iran. You are its future. If I have one wish for you, it's that you think about what you want before you get it, and make sure it's something that will work for you.

Don't worry about our ideas and our desires. That's us. That's why we have negotiations and diplomats.

You are not a satellite. You are a body unto yourselves. Find a new orbit and fly.


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