“Why are you sitting there? Get up. Get up!”

As many of you, I have been completely and totally engrossed by the uprising in Iran. Even while hiking in the Rockies this weekend I was refreshing Huffington and the Daily Dish on my smartphone for any small tidbit of new information (I usually roll my eyes at people who take their cell phones hiking, so this was a big deal for me).

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Whenever revolution occurs a number of commonalities are observed. First among them, both the participants and observers look for a historical analogy. They say that “this is just like the [insert famous rebellion here].” This step is crucial because history is a river and it is much easier to play your part when you believe that you are a parcel of its inexorable flow and not a fish swimming against the current. This knowledge also makes it easier to accept the loss of loved ones. Although perhaps only slightly easier. This has all happened before. Gandhi–>MLK–>some how end up leading to Mousavi in the eyes of many. How true it is won’t matter until much later. Second, when revolution occurs it is the actions of individuals that shape the arc of the final story. The opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi was no liberal. An Iran under him might have been only slightly different than the one under Ahmadinejad. More than likely though we will never know what the “old Mousavi” would have done in office. That person is gone, having been transformed by the wave upon which he now rides to an unknown shore. He, and the student organizers that are silently shepherding the movement through word-of-mouth have cast their die, much as the founding fathers in our own revolution. I love this one quote by Benjamin Harrison of Virginia to Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts right before our Declaration of Independence:

“I will have a great advantage over you, Mr. Gerry, when we are all hung for what we are now doing. From the size and weight of my body I shall die in a few minutes, but from the lightness of your body you will dance in the air an hour or two before you are dead.” [Link]

There is an old adage that says “Men make history,” not events. In this uprising I believe it will the women who make history. Iran has many women like these, and many more individual stories will arise:

I also know that Iran’s women stand in the vanguard. For days now, I’ve seen them urging less courageous men on. I’ve seen them get beaten and return to the fray. “Why are you sitting there?”one shouted at a couple of men perched on the sidewalk on Saturday. “Get up! Get up!”… [Link]

This rebellion is in many ways in keeping with Gandhi’s teachings. That has been incredibly refreshing since many people only associate the peoples of Muslim countries with indiscriminate violence. This rebellion stresses strength in numbers, total belief in a just cause, and that it is more brave to suffer for your cause than to inflict pain on another for it. When a Basij member (one of the government’s goons) is injured, some of the very protestors he is sent to beat end up shielding him from a mortal blow by others (see the treatment of a riot police officer in this video). And the howling of “Allah o Akbar” in protest from the rooftops at night seems straight out of a Rumi poem.

Like the struggle Gandhi led I believe this one will take time, maybe much longer than it might seem right now. The people are the turtle and the regime is the hare. The people know they have already won. It feels comforting to witness, despite the inevitable loss of innocent life, because the struggle for freedom is a universally satisfying story.

55 thoughts on ““Why are you sitting there? Get up. Get up!”

  1. I usually roll my eyes at people who take their cell phones hiking, so this was a big deal for me).

    Thanks for this. Thank God somebody understands me.

  2. Thanks for this. Thank God somebody understands me.

    Gov Sanford, you will see that alot of the people who leave comments here understand you and would like to see you run in 2012.

  3. Another very satisfying outcome of these protests is that many in the US realized that Iran too is full of people like them, full of aspirations and clamoring for freedom. That last administration, kind of painted Iran as a blob of evil where people only cared for the destruction of the west and of Israel.

  4. here’s the problem with historical analogies: most people don’t know any history. analogies have power because you know the structure of A, and can map that source onto the structure of target B, which you don’t know about. most analogies from A -> B are weak for two reasons:

    1) the original person doesn’t know enough about either A or B to relate them in any valid manner

    2) the audience doesn’t know anything about A, so how can they can any information about B by analogizing it to A?

    this for example is one my main issues with scholars and intellectuals who want to use catholic & protestant analogies for shia & sunni: most people don’t really know much about the differences between catholicism & protestantism, so you’re not working off anything concrete (in include catholics and protestants within this set).

    so most historical analogies are about rhetoric & myth, and are a rich source of “post modern” (quotes because i’m aware this is a big catchall term) analysis about why people are using given analogies. so rather than try and evaluate the iranian affair in an “objective” sense let’s just be subjective and inject our personal emotions nakedly. most of the people i know can identify more with neda soltani than they can with the basij who likely killed her. if neda soltani had thrown a rock and killed a basij on a motorbike, good for her i’d say. like roots for like. some people on the far-right and far-left in the west are convinced that the green revolution is a tool of american imperialists; so naturally they root for the regime and not the tools. of course, that doesn’t mean that the people who are part of the green movement are united in their attitudes or viewpoints, or that we are even that similar (here in the USA for example) to them in our overall values (e.g.). but they’re more like us than the basij.

  5. I just remembered this little quote from you “men making history” statement:

    Men make their own history,but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.

    I am sure many of our readers can guess who (without a google search).

  6. I am sure many of our readers can guess who (without a google search).

    dom deluise? he is dead now i think.

  7. Iranian women are totally cool. What’s with the men? I mean seriously, how did the women manage to get in the forefront of this whole thing?

  8. Great post.

    Considering your comments on history – I am surprised that the news has not spent much time talking about the origins of the current situation. All the way back to when the colonial powers decided to overthrow the original Shah to protect their oil interests, and then of course the overthrow of the democratically elected President later on – all of which led to the overthrow of the pro-West Shah. Most of us here know this history – but the point is, as Razib mentioned, history is easily forgotten.

    In the Middle East, a lot of countries who were created / carved up by western nations, have a much longer memory than us – specifically because they are still living through the ramifications of what happened 50-60 years ago (ie any Palestinian who’s family has had three generations living in a refugee camp).

    We need to understand the origins of what has lead us to these moments. As Abhi hinted, Mousavi was no saint when he was in power.

    It should a very interesting few weeks – would be amazing if there was some amazing change, maybe more than what could have occurred after Tiananmen.

  9. Considering your comments on history – I am surprised that the news has not spent much time talking about the origins of the current situation.

    To echo what Razib said, most people don’t know the history. The book Legacy of Ashes: A history of the CIA provided a great “insider perspective” of American and British machinations before ’79 and explain why Obama has been so measured in his statements.

  10. First, It is totally unimportant whether Mousavi is/ was liberal or not.

    It is not about America or western values or being like ourselves. As Time Iranian correspondent yesterday said on TV, stop indulging yourself (so far, most of the people in America are not, and are in awe and respect of the power of the street).

    Iran (Persia) is a very old, proud, and sophisticated culture.

    Iranians knows how to fight long-drawn revolutionary street battles – in 1978, started by students (quite a few of them were marxists, later killed by the clergy), and then overtaken (or hijacked) by the clergy, they sustained it through symbolic acts of mourning.

    At present, the Neda/ Green Revolution has very strong Gandhian undertones (including the use of religion, the act of shaming, strong symbolism). What it is missing is first-string and second-string leadership. I hope it will come up soon, maybe from the clergy itself, like Rafasjani.

    If you live in Los Angeles, or Houston, there is very strong Iranian-American community there (upwards of 50,000 in both the places), talk to them and understand their pain. Neda/ Green revolution is about them. They have been waiting for this for a long time, and are asking for stopping of daily repression, especially the Iranian women.

  11. In the Middle East, a lot of countries who were created / carved up by western nations, have a much longer memory than us

    Not Iran.

    Iran is very different from rest of Middle East in every sense, and that should be kept in mind.

    I support Obama and America’s restraint (because of long complicated history between them) but I also support some of the European embassies opening their doors to wounded.

  12. <

    blockquote>Thank God somebody understands me.blockquote>

    My dog took offdown the street this morning when I wasn’t looking, now I understand what South Carolina feels like.

    Gov Sanford, you will see that alot of the people who leave comments here understand you and would like to see you run in 2012.

    This totally explains why he decided to run in 2009 too!

  13. definitively the most fashionable revolution since 1956 hungary. some good looking women in the streets indeed. their fashion sense stands in great contrast to the bleak uniform worn by the neo-fascist theocracy. the lack of readily identifiable lower class individuals may bode ill for the revolution but i’m not betting on the regime being around this time next year.

  14. Quoting got screwed up in previous comment, please delete it. Thanks.

    Thank God somebody understands me.

    My dog took off down the street this morning when I wasn’t looking, now I understand what South Carolina feels like.

    Gov Sanford, you will see that alot of the people who leave comments here understand you and would like to see you run in 2012.

    This totally explains why he decided to run in 2009 too!

  15. the lack of readily identifiable lower class individuals may bode ill for the revolution

    Also, the lack of any visible leadership to channel or organize the spontaneous rage, rather than let it wilt or dissipate in the face of repression.

  16. Also, the lack of any visible leadership to channel or organize the spontaneous rage, rather than let it wilt or dissipate in the face of repression.

    well, Mousavi, for getter or for worse, gets to play that role. his job, once in power, is to do a gorbachev. we’ll still have a supreme leader but most likely it’ll be Rafsanjani. this is a good compromise since islamic hegemony isn’t going away overnight. they’ll enact some reforms and over time the theocracy will witter away. then thomas friedman vistis.

  17. well, Mousavi, for getter or for worse, gets to play that role

    I agree that Moussavi is the symbol, but he hasn’t been visible – hasn’t shown up since Sunday at the very least, at least from what I read. And that was after a brief appearance on Thursday. Rafsanjani seems content to play puppetmaster for a variety of reasons, and yes, he will be the power behind the throne if Moussavi comes to power (but I doubt Khameini will get deposed as supreme leader, just diminished in influence).

  18. The Iranian self-perception is that their classical culture is on par with China’s but superior to India’s. Their understanding is that Mughal culture is essential a derivative court culture of Persian origin. They are also proud of their pre-Islamic empires, and tend to get offended whenever they are portrayed in a bad or subordinate light, e.g. the uproar over the film Alexander, where Darius is portrayed as a gargantuan transsexual, and the overal haremish feel of his court is orientalist.

  19. It would be best for India to stay silent on this matter. Iran has been a good friend – a counterweight to Pakistan and a vital, perhaps its only source of intelligence on certain terrorist organizations operating on Indian soil. The West’s fantasies about democracy and revolutions notwithstanding, the stability of the current regime would be the best geopolitical outcome for India.

  20. Actually, the reports are that Moussavi’s last appearance was on Thursday, he only issued a statement on Sunday. How long will the resilience of the people last when they don’t see their leaders demonstrate spine or provide inspiration? (which is one of the reasons I mentioned the 1999 student protestson this thread, which started with great energy and actually were across multiple cities, but dissipated in a week or 10 days once the regime took off its gloves. Of course, the US was more interested in blue dresses rather than green scarves then, so it’s as if it never happened).

  21. “· Manju on June 24, 2009 12:29 AM · Direct link

    well, Mousavi, for getter or for worse, gets to play that role. his job, once in power, is to do a gorbachev. we’ll still have a supreme leader but most likely it’ll be Rafsanjani. this is a good compromise since islamic hegemony isn’t going away overnight. they’ll enact some reforms and over time the theocracy will witter away. then thomas friedman vistis. “

    Strangely,Hindu hegemony is rising in a “secular” country like India – from Gujarat to Kandamal to Mangalore.

  22. @jibbler

    But,Iran had supported Pakistan in time of war with India.Iranians so far have not viewed India as a threat to their nation. India; just like China, is seen as a neighbor.But Iranians have taken to the streets when India voted against Iran’s nuclear program.And yes, Iranians view their civilization far superior than any Indian civilizations and on par with the Romans and Greeks.

  23. Woman of Iran have much less freedom compared to the men…that’s why the stronger participation on their part compared to the men. That being said, I don’t see women of Arab countries coming out for protest (in a hypothetically similar situation) like in Iran. Speaks about different mentalities and different degrees of freedom.

    The Iranian self-perception is that their classical culture is on par with China’s but superior to India’s. Their understanding is that Mughal culture is essential a derivative court culture of Persian origin. They are also proud of their pre-Islamic empires, and tend to get offended whenever they are portrayed in a bad or subordinate light, e.g. the uproar over the film Alexander, where Darius is portrayed as a gargantuan transsexual, and the overal haremish feel of his court is orientalist.

    This is a matter of how much money and study has gone into these ancient civilizations (and also some propaganda). There have been lot of endowments to study western civilization (and now Chinese civilization), but not so much for India civilization: e.g. meager research has gone towards Indus valley civilization compared to others, where even the script of this first urban civilization has not yet been deciphered. The west always views Indian civilization through the lens of it being a subservient colony in the past, whereas the far east reveres many aspects of India (including Buddhism, Spirituality, Sanskrit and other cultural stuff).

  24. *Woman of Iran have much less freedom compared to the men…that’s why the stronger struggle for freedom on their part compared to the men .

  25. 19 · jibbler on June 24, 2009 12:44 AM · Direct link The Iranian self-perception is that their classical culture is on par with China’s but superior to India’s. Their understanding is that Mughal culture is essential a derivative court culture of Persian origin. They are also proud of their pre-Islamic empires, and tend to get offended whenever they are portrayed in a bad or subordinate light, e.g. the uproar over the film Alexander, where Darius is portrayed as a gargantuan transsexual, and the overal haremish feel of his court is orientalist.

    You’re 100% right here. Iranians, in contrast with South Asian Muslims, are very proud of their pre-Islamic heritage, and they still, in large numbers, have retained their pre-Islamic surnames. They are very proud of Zoroastrianism as well, whereas Indian Muslims don’t seem to be proud of their Hindu/Buddhist heritage.

    Iranians, from my perspective, are definitely more sophisticated than the Arab people, but they seem to be cocky towards Indians. As one Iranian person put it to me “Indians copy everything Iranians do.” I didn’t agree with that at all, but it highlights their superiority towards us. Who could blame them? Many Brahmin communities claim that their origins are from Iran!

  26. aryan is right, iran did support her neighbor, pakistan, during the indo-pak wars of 65 & 71. in 1965, they provided free petroleum for pakistani air force and in 1971, fuel and logistical support for pakistani jets. not to mention, generous covert assistance. [p.s. iran's pro-pakistan tilt at the time was not due to religious fealty, rather geo-political considerations ]

    as for the “on par with the Romans and Greeks” – that is some stretch. greek and roman accomplishments are varied, deep and have withstood the test of time. afaik, from discussions with two [not exactly a huge sample size, i know] persian friends, amongst their secular scholars, ancient india is viewed as a scource of knowledge; akin to a mother.

  27. because they are still living through the ramifications of what happened 50-60 years ago (ie any Palestinian who’s family has had three generations living in a refugee camp).

    This is always brought up as an excuse for the Kings and leaders of the middle east. Well, 50-60 years ago India was under the dominion of Britain. India also had a huge refuge problem, yet in year 2009 after the elections are over the losing party leader called the winning party leader and congratulated them over their win, made a public statement about accepting people’s choice with humility and life goes on. (including stock market up 20% in one day…. thats a sell sign BTW)

    As Kush points out lets not put Iran together with the other Arab states of middle east. Iran is the only country in west Asia where a peaceful demonstration is possible and where people are calling their leader Gandhi (its a little bit of stretch I know and even they probably know). US and Iran (A multi ethnic Shia majority nation with Shia culture) should be natural allies as opposed to the US and Saudi being allies, for obvious reasons. It will need some visionary leadership in Washington and Tehran to do finally accomplish this.

    Neda, the Green Revolution and all the people in the street of Iran are hugely inspiring. To me at least. People putting their well being at risk to peacefully protest for their right … Thats revolution and it doesnt happen everyday. People don’t have to be apathetic towards the government. Wow!!

  28. All jingoistic comments (e.g., hindu or indian superiority) will be deleted by the end of the day and commenters banned. Consider this before leaving your comments because they will just be deleted. Stick to the topic at hand. Thanks.

  29. No doubt the Iranis supported Pakistan at one time, but the geopolitical considerations have changed. Encircled India needs friends in the region. Is it going to rely exclusively on the West, which has always been ambivalent (Look at the Obama administration’s moralistic appointment of a non-profilerationist as ambassador to Delhi.) I understand that Canada is exerting some pressure on Delhi to be more forthright in condemning the regime. On the other hand, there are many journalists in the Indian press supportive of the protests – there is a heady feel to the whole thing which cannot but touch the heart.

  30. This totally explains why he decided to run in 2009 too!

    Turns out that Gov.Sanford was not hiking, but in Argentina. The story takes a new twist.

  31. This post is right on. I also see that this post election events has the potential to be something bigger than 1999. It all depends on the resolve of the people and Mousavi himself. if he comes out tomorrow, most likely he is going to be arrested, do they have the kind of resolve that it takes to stand up to the brutality of this regime? I also heard reports that more militant elements within the peace movements are tracking down Basij members and beating the crap of out them. There has to come a time when Basij and the police refuse to hurt the protesters anymore. but for that to happen, sadly a lot more Nedas have to die. sometimes it hurts me that it is easy for us to sit here and cheer on the students when our lives are not at risk. but as in all revolutions, some have to do the ultimate sacrifice so others can live in peace. what i would like to see though is a clear definition of what Mousavi wants – is it just the re-vote that they are looking for, or the overhaul of the system? If it is the latter, things will get much worse before it gets better. the heartening part is a split that we are seeing among the mullahs itself, without that they will crush the protests so hard that another generation would live under oppression.

  32. A comparison can be made between Gandhi and MLK because both understood the values of English speaking peoples and pointed out the gulf between the practice and principles of the rulers. In Iran neither the rulers or the protestors subscribe to the values of English speaking peoples.

  33. SM Intern on June 24, 2009 10:53 AM · Direct link

    All jingoistic comments (e.g., hindu or indian superiority) will be deleted by the end of the day and commenters banned. Consider this before leaving your comments because they will just be deleted. Stick to the topic at hand. Thanks.

    Does this also include commenter who used jingoistic term like Islamic hegemony?

  34. 29 · SM Intern on June 24, 2009 10:53 AM · Direct link All jingoistic comments (e.g., hindu or indian superiority) will be deleted by the end of the day and commenters banned. Consider this before leaving your comments because they will just be deleted. Stick to the topic at hand. Thanks.

    You guys were probably referring to my post about arrogant Iranians and Iranian-Wannabe-Brahmins in India. If I offended someone, then saahhwweeee. Here are some Iranian fantasists: Sakaldwipiya claim that they are “A section of Iranian priestly class, called Magi who entered into India,” (from Wiki). Karhades claim that they are “Indo-Scythian (Saka) Western Satraps” which is also Iranian, but they live in South India now.
    Finally, Nairs, believe that “there is also a theory that Nairs are of Indo-Scythian heritage.”

    All I know is: We all support the protesters of Iran. This just highlights that some Indian groups feel, without linguistic or common-sense evidence, that they, too, are part Iranian. It’s no more a non-sequitor than referring to the governor of S. Carolina.

  35. boston mahesh – “All I know is: We all support the protesters of Iran.”

    If by “We all” you are referring to all the commenters here on Sepia, then I would like to point out that I am not supporting the protesters. For all I know they are the flip side of the same coin. No really, what do we know about the people behind the protestors – are they liberal [i mean liberal even by iranian standards]? what are their thoughts on the nuclear progam? women and minority rights? Israel? Iraq?

  36. I have lots of iranian friends and none of them have ever made me feel that I am inferior because I am Indian. Its always interesting to see the kinds of words we have picked up from persian/arabic. Pakistan and Iran share a long border so obviously we would have some degree of similarity at least in North India. I think Indians themselves carry an inferiority complex. Very often Indians themselves are the most vocal in running down their country while foreigners listen intently.

    SM Intern: your comment against hindu superiority needs to include a warning against comments on muslim superiority as well.

  37. Great post Abhi.

    I have been visitng Iran for the last 4 years on my business.I visited 3 cities in Iran recently and was there till the day before elections.Every where i went and all the people met(this includes high level oil industry exicutives,cab drivers and people working in factories ,hotels etc)told me this election will be very close and will go to the second round.Believe me when i say this, Ahmadinijad is still popular in Iran and he is not as bad as western countries think.He has done a lot of good for poor people in Iran by distributing the oil wealth and he might have got the majority votes.I think they just were so afraid of the close election and they rigged the election.They counted 40 million votes in 4 hours(no eletronic voting machines).

    The receptionist lady at my hotel in Shiraz asked me “you are from India and you people know a thing or two about elections,do you think they will count the vote fairly?”.I said yes.I tought since their supreme leder is religious man he will allow a fair counting,but now it looks like he has deceived his own people in the name of god.But now, some people who are with Ahmadinijad are also started saying there is some fraud.

    But since its the fight for survival of islamic revolution and their nuclear ambitions,looks like supreme leader SELECTED Ahmadinijad.i believe they will sucessfully supress the protests and its leadership(they are just so powerfull).Its unfortunate and sad but thats the bitter truth about Iran.

    I always ask my Iranian friends who are not happy with the way their country is run’why don’t you guys do some thing about it..simple reply they will give me.. they will kill us!! Thats what happening now.

    All the major countries have their own self intersts with Iran’s huge oil and gas industry including US,Russia,china,france or for that matter even India.So i don’t expect any support for these protesters from outside.Sanctions by western countries is only helping hardliners.whenwever an aircraft falls in Iran(this is very frequent),they blame US and west for not supplying spare parts for their old fleet.How is this helping?

  38. And Iranians thinking their civilization superior to Indian civilization is total nonsense to me. At least in my 4 years in Iran i have not heard of this and they always talk about how Sanskrit is the origin of farsi and the civilization links. All i have seen in Iran is they are very proud of their pre-Islamic Persian/Aryan culture and even now the maximum celebrations and holidays are for novroz(the Persian new year).They feel very close to Indians and Pakistanis and respect Indian culture, its diverse and democratic traditions a lot. Some times i feel ashamed looking at their hospitality to Indians thinking do we really treat Iranians like this when they come to India? Indians are the only guys who dosen’t requires a prior visa to visit Iran from south Asia but Iranians have to go through a tough check to acquire a Indian visa and there are thousands of Iranians are studying in India(Pune,Mysur and Banglore etc)

  39. 39 · shivani on June 24, 2009 03:41 PM · Direct link I have lots of iranian friends and none of them have ever made me feel that I am inferior because I am Indian. Its always interesting to see the kinds of words we have picked up from persian/arabic. Pakistan and Iran share a long border so obviously we would have some degree of similarity at least in North India. I think Indians themselves carry an inferiority complex. Very often Indians themselves are the most vocal in running down their country while foreigners listen intently. SM Intern: your comment against hindu superiority needs to include a warning against comments on muslim superiority as well.

    There are many, many cultural contacts that North India has had with the Iranians. After all, Hindi, Kurdish, Pashto, Farsi, Bengali, and even Sinhalese are from a sub-branch of the Indo-European family of language called the Indo-Iranian family of languages. So, of course, they all have ancient syntatical structure and grammar. Of course, it’s far easier to see and understand their modern contributions to the Indo-Aryan languages, such as Sinhalese, Bengali, hindi, et al. The court language of North India was the Daari dialect of Farsi for many centuries, and many rulers/invaders patronized the Iranian culture and architecture/art. The Mughals, even though they were Turkic, eventually used Farsi. Heck, Urdu is a hybrid of Hindi and Farsi, but it’s retained it’s Indic syntax/grammar, so it’s classified as an Indo-Aryan language, and not as an Iranian language.

    Also, the ANCIENT pre-Vedic and pre-Zoroastrian religions of the proto-Indo-Aryans and the proto-Iranians were the same as well. However, they had a cultural schism. To this day, many of our words mean the exact opposite in the zoroastrian religion. For example: 1. “Deva” means a good spirit in India, but it’ means a demonic spirit in Iranian. 2. “Asura” means demon in India, but “Ahura” means a good god in Iranian (as in Ahura Mazda). 3. Both priestly classes wear a thread.

  40. Re: 12 & 28 – Kush and RC;

    Although Iran may not have been carved up itself by the West, it was indeed affected by outside actions and interests. The current Islamic regime would not be the way it was if it wasn’t for the US-supported Shah which inspired them to revolution.

    In regards to India in contrast to Iran – no one is saying that despots and Kings in the middle east should use the past as an excuse and use the west as a scapegoat – but it is what they do while their citizen wallow in despotism – but there does need to be an understanding of history as to why the West is still blindly vilified which is exactly why Obama can’t just go overtly nagging his finger or launching any type of campaign of support, lest the Iranian powers that be use this as an excuse to tramp down even further.

  41. But I do agree that Iran is a great hope – their peaceful protests are inspiring as is their zeal for democracy even when the Ayotollah and other clerics make most of the important decisions.

    Many in the US haven’t heard either of the back-channel attempts of Khatami
    to make contact with the Bush administration and the ways in which Iran helped with the Afghanistan invasion – both of which were ignored or rebuffed.

  42. Many in the US haven’t heard either of the back-channel attempts of Khatami to make contact with the Bush administration and the ways in which Iran helped with the Afghanistan invasion – both of which were ignored or rebuffed.

    There is a bbc documentary which aired recently called ‘Iran and the West’ which detailed these efforts. It is amazing how Washington rebuffed it and when Rice got around to doing something, Ahmedinejhad was in power..

  43. Isnt this whole drama in Iran exactly the same as the 2000 elections in USA ? Why is it being labelled as a revolution and such a big deal is being made out of it?

    In 2000, US Supreme court decided FOR the Americans the winner of Presidential elections was after the election results were disputed by the both sides. Everyone accepted the supreme court verdict. Life moved on. The religious council of ayatollahs in Iran is no different then the Supreme Court of the USA. Neither is elected by the people! Both consist of political appointees. So, if the supreme council of ayatollahs, or whatever it is called, says that the Ahmedinijad’s win is legit then these protesters would have to accept it. That is what democracy is all about, no ?

    As few other comments mentioned above, Ahmedinejad is indeed extremely popular in Iran. Especially, among the poor and lower classes. If the election results are declared null and void due to this ongoing so-fashionable twitter-powered cell-phone-driven pseudo-revolution then what about the rights of those tens of millions non-web-enabled Iranians who voted FOR Ahmedinejad ?

  44. This isn’t a debate on whether the people are whining and should just accept the results.

    The difference is the reaction of the government and the treatment of its citizens. If there were peaceful protests in the US, you wouldn’t have innocent, non-violent protesters being shot down or arrested en mass just for assembling.