Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.
A valiant event occurred in Iran on Monday. The New York Times reported that 88 Iranian professors from Tehran University signed a letter asking the Iranian supreme religious leader, Ali Khamenei, to cease the use of violence against protestors. The letter harshly condemns the government’s oppression:
Nighttime attacks on defenseless student dormitories and daytime assaults on students at university campuses, venues of education and learning, is not a sign of strength,” the letter read in part. “Nor is beating up students and their mass imprisonment.
These professors deserve tremendous respect for their courageous opposition against the Iranian regime. According to the article, although the letters “did nothing to deter authorities” who are continuing their arrests and violence towards protestors, these letters “did challenge the authority of Ayatollah Khamenei, something that was unthinkable and punishable before the protests that broke out in June after what the opposition calls a fraudulent presidential election.”
It is inspiring to read about the protestors’ relentless fight for political freedom and basic human rights in the face of repeated violence and adversity; meanwhile, much of the western world remains silent or blissfully ignorant. The Iranian government is feeling the heat. The enraged populace is sending them a stark message. Successful revolutions always require a citizenry dedicated to overthrowing their oppressors; foreigners cannot attempt to democratize a government for a population that has no desire for democratic rule. It doesn’t work. That’s why it is imperative to support this revolution.
An overthrow of the Iranian regime would raise eyebrows across the Middle East. Is an overthrow likely? I remain skeptical. But that doesn’t mean the demonstrators don’t have my full support. They should have full support from every American; why shouldn’t we support the Iranians who desire legitimate political elections and the right to peacefully protest? Why shouldn’t we support their relentless push towards greater democratic ideals?
Our government has been tight-lipped over the past months. Charles Krauthammer notes as much:
Obama responded by distancing himself from this new birth of freedom. First, scandalous silence. Then, a few grudging words. Then relentless engagement with the murderous regime. With offer after offer, gesture after gesture — to not Iran, but the “Islamic Republic of Iran,” as Obama ever so respectfully called these clerical fascists — the United States conferred legitimacy on a regime desperate to regain it.
Why is this so important? Because revolutions succeed at that singular moment, that imperceptible historical inflection, when the people, and particularly those in power, realize that the regime has lost the mandate of heaven. With this weakening dictatorship desperate for affirmation, why is the United States repeatedly offering just such affirmation?
The protestors should be encouraged for our own national interests as well: what if they successfully overthrow the Iranian regime before they have a chance to complete their nuclear interests? Could this prevent future cataclysmic events? Benjamin Netanyahu has made bold, scolding remarks connoting a future Israeli war with Iran; he has yet to act upon them. I believe he eventually will. But, if the demonstrators have any successes, perhaps such a war can be avoided or dramatically limited.
Rick Moran at American Thinker echoes my views regarding the continuing oppression:
Such actions are not tamping down the protests but rather igniting them. My guess is the next big catalyst for demonstrations may very well topple Khamenei and his crew.
Some might consider my optimism to be purely that: over-speculative, wishful optimism. However, there is nothing to lose by encouraging the protestors. Every shred of resistance towards the Iranian oppressors is positive. The protestors once chanted: “Obama, Obama, you are either with us or with them.” There is nothing ambiguous about that. They deserve their shot at self-governance and freedom from oppression; such ideals should be championed by everyone—especially Americans.