ACCUMULATING PERIPHERALS


On not going green by mattsteinglass
June 17, 2009, 1:37 am
Filed under: Iran

I’m just gonna say one thing on this question of “going green“, and it’s this: many millions of Iranians voted for Ahmadinejad on Friday. The interest of the democratic world is in seeing that their votes are properly counted, too. It seems to me an inappropriate gesture for non-Iranians to openly sport the colors of one Iranian political movement.

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3 Comments so far
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I remain agnostic on the issue, although I think Andrew’s suggestion for the President to wear a green tie is inappropriate, and similarly I feel its an inappropriate gesture from the BBC. But I’m not so sure that the use of green is just about support for the reform party. As you said, “Moussavi passed through this system of ideological control; he’s no radical reformer. But what’s happened is that simply by representing an alternative, Moussavi became a vehicle for the expression of the hopes of people who are far more radical in their reformist attitudes than anyone in the dominant power structure”

That seems exactly right to me, and what I’m taking away from people donning green is to show solidarity with the people disputing the election results. I think that showing that sort of support is reasonable, but on the other hand this also strikes me as a fairly unimportant symbolic gesture, and there are other ways to express support for the cause of Iranian democracy.

Comment by Paul J.

“The interest of the democratic world is in seeing that their votes are properly counted, too. It seems to me an inappropriate gesture for non-Iranians to openly sport the colors of one Iranian political movement.”

You paradoxically point directly to the dynamic at play between the election and the voices of the diverse coalition opposed to the autocrats and then have an extremely limited view of what “gestures” are “appropriate” for non-Iranians. I think it can safely be said that the feelings and demonstrations of solidarity – “going green,” helping jam Iranian govt computers, international demonstrations – are not related to some utilitarian “interest of the democratic world,” but a genuine feeling of empathy and comradeship with the people in Iran who have been rob of their freedom [and truthfully, their greatness as a people] under various regimes since the early 1950’s, when we (the US) fucked them over! I am a non-Iranian, but I know Iranians who were persecuted in Iran for religion and politics. I know people who participated in the revolution only to leave when the results became clear. It is liberation from that history that has been given voice, as never since ’79, in these past days and many people in the world will do whatever they can, no matter if it is only a “gesture” to give support to the people using non-violent protest against a regime that has robbed the good people of Iran of their human rights for a tragically extended period of time.

Comment by Christian

Government violence against citizen protestors is wrong; freedom of expression is a universal value; and stealing an election is a vile thing to do. But I think you should think hard about how the explicit sympathy of foreign publics with one side in various nonviolent revolutions over the past twenty years has ultimately played out. Explicit Western sympathy and support for Yeltsin, for example, ultimately helped completely discredit liberalism in Russia. The results in Serbia, Ukraine, etc. have been similarly mixed. John Judis wrote yesterday that in events of the kind we’re seeing in Iran, “Kerensky can quickly become Lenin,” and I think that’s exactly right. The protestors in the streets are shouting “Allahu Akbar” (mixing religion and politics) and reaffirming the principles of the Islamic Republic. In the current context, that’s fine with me, but I’m not willing to bet that in a year or two I’ll still agree with those people. But I will still believe that stealing elections and arresting or shooting protestors is wrong.

Comment by mattsteinglass




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