6.22.2009

Tumult in Iran


I am woefully unqualified to comment on Middle Eastern politics, but the stories from the past week or so concerning Iran have struck a chord with me. Save for Egypt, I can hardly think of a country that evokes such dissonance in my mind, in terms of having both a progressive and educated citizenry and a dictatorial and backward administration. When I had heard that Ahmadinejad had won, and overwhelmingly, I imagined the kind of responses and counter-responses that would follow; sadly, this has predictably played out as I had feared. Even in areas that have seen relative progress and milestone events in the recent past, like Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, there is far too much oppression and far too little enlightment.

Needless to say, much of world is quite tumultuous. And, in that context, consider this: we may register our complaints about American democracy, and rightly so; but think for a minute how esteemed we are among most of the world, which longs for such a freedom to voice such dissent. We may have had some contentious and even controversial elections of late, but consider how unusual our peaceful and orderly transfer of power is when compared to what we are seeing in most of the rest of the world. So will I not take these privileges - to vote and know that my vote counts, and to dissent and know that I will not be jailed or muffled as a result - for granted, nor will I fail to hope and pray for it for others who desire it in Iran and elsewhere.
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