Yesterday I wrote about various goals of actions abroad. Today I will specifically add some thoughts on: spreading the message of Iran’s struggle to non-Iranians.
First off there’s a very important question we need to answer. Why should non-Iranians care about what happens in Iran?
Is it only because of the injustice? Surely there are countries to find that are worse off. In Iran the Nobel prize of Ebadi is confiscated, in Birma the Nobel prize winner has been under house arrest since forever. In Iran tens of people have been killed since the protests started. Compare that to Guinea where according to Human Rights Watch the military dictatorship one day in September killed between 150 and 200 people, wounding and hurting many others. (quote from http://www.hrw.org/node/87254 “Dozens of women described being subjected to individual and gang rape and sexual assault with objects such as sticks, rifle butts, and bayonets, while other witnesses described seeing at least four women murdered during or immediately after being raped; one shot with a rifle through her vagina while laying face up on the stadium's field begging for her life.”) The list of countries deserving our attention and support goes on and on.
What I've often heard from well-meaning westerners in political debates is that wanting to help out in Iran's struggle for freedom and democracy is imposing Western norms that we might want and might even be harmful for us. Time and time I've encountered the surprise of people when they hear that the desire to rule by vote of the people rather than monarchy/military/theocracy is over a century old in Iran. A process that was inspired by the West for sure, but also seriously derailed by the West in the fifties.
Regarding the world's concern about Iran's nuclear ambitions, what better way to make the world a safer place than to rid ourselves of Doomsday cultists (look up Ahmadinejad's particularly insane interpretation of Shi'a Islamic teachings)?
But not to forget, the revolution of 1979 and subsequent rise to power of Khomeini is a story that inspired many countries to revolt. It was a movement neither Western, nor Communist, and especially citizens of Muslim nations who had suffered from either one great power or the other now aspire to create a similar theocracy. A very important reason why the green revolution in Iran should succeed is that it will inspire the seculars and moderate Muslims in other Islamic nations to raise their voices and be heard.
In the past few months we have shown ourselves to be incredibly creative in organising demonstrations and events. Especially the Netherlands had a great line-up of speakers rallying the troops. But how many Dutch know Ahmad Batebi, MC Shahin Najafi or even Shirin Ebadi? Why not also get Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein or Michael Moore involved, or stars from the music and sports scene?
But above all, tell a clear story: not just what is happening, but to whom, in what context, and why it matters beyond the lives of the poor souls being destroyed that we stop this injustice.
Some links for the day:
Sadly, we might see the first executions soon.
After blocking internet, short-wave radio, SMS-services even sattelite communication will be hindered:
Chinese show support of Iran's protestors: