Monday, June 29, 2009

Iran So Far Away

Watching the post-election events in Iran has been a very emotional experience for me. My heart breaks for the people in the street who were brutalized, beaten, gassed, shot and murdered by their own government And, I'm so, so sad for their families and friends. I'm afraid for those who have been rounded up and imprisoned. But, I'm also deeply moved by the bravery of those fighting in the streets against injustice and corruption. I understand the rage generated by a stolen election, and I stand in awe at their raw courage.

The images that made it out of Iran tell the story of a people desperate for change. And, I can't help but to think of the incredible joy that I felt watching the era of the Bush / Cheney regime come to a close on the day of President Obama's inauguration. My only wish now for the people of Iran is that they soon know that same feeling of joy. And, I believe that they will.

I think it's obvious that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will soon be completely irrelevant. His smirky arrogance, his uneducated simple-mindedness, and his belligerant love of power worked well during the Bush years. Ahmadinejad and Bush needed each other. Bush needed a scary Axis of Evil to entertain the USA-chanting masses, and Ahmadinejad needed a Crusading Western Empire to keep his power flowing. And the common good-hearted people of both countries were caught in the middle.

But, now Bush is gone, and against the wishes of the dwindling GOP, President Obama has refused to step into the required role. Obama's brilliant speech in Cairo left Ahmadinejad standing alone. And the people of Iran voted to accept Obama's invitation to a better world. Unfortunately, their voices were denied by system-wide election rigging. And then, they took to the streets.

I don't know exactly how the story will play out. But, I do know that Obama's promise of change in the world is coming to pass, and I know that eventually the people of Iran will know hope. Until then, I will hope for them.

This past Saturday, I had the honor of witnessing some from the Iranian-American community here in Atlanta, stand up in solidarity with the people in their homeland. It was a very moving experience. Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to take part, but I've joined the local Facebook group and next time, I'm so there.

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