Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Iran, Honduras, Niger and the knee jerks

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

ZNet has a good piece critiquing leftist knee-jerk reaction to the popular uprising in Iran. Opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi may be no progressive, having been the Ayatollah Khomeni's prime minister for most of the 1980s. The mere fact that the religious elite allowed him to be on the ballot in the first places means that he was never going to be a transformational figure.

And there is some question whether international reporting is overstating the extent of the protests because they seem concentrated in large cities and done by people with access to Twitter and cell phone cameras. By most accounts, the incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remains popular in the more conservative rural areas.

But it seems clear that the discontent is real, legitimate and home grown. And it also seems clear that the politicians, Mousavi and Ahmadinejad, have become almost incidental to the uprising and that the entire theocratic system is being called into question. The brutal overreaction of the system's forces of disorder seems to back up the wounded bear theory.

If the mostly secular western left can't support group of liberal minded citizens rising up against the oppression of a regressive, hypernationalistic conservative theocracy, then who can it support?

(Who knew that left-wing media whore Hugo Chavez was such a fan of conservative religious states? Then again, the cult of personality Chavez has erected around himself has some distinctly messianic characteristics)

Sadly, this seems to bolster my contention that some of the left are entirely preoccupied with who and what they're against, rather than who and what they are for.

And speaking of bloody power grabs, ZNet also has a good analysis of the illegal military coup in Honduras that exiled left-wing president Manuel Zelaya. Both Chavez and President Obama have denounced the coup. Since the knee jerks don't have independent thoughts of their own, I wonder how they'll react.

Though Ethan over at My Heart's in Accra blog ponders why the protests in Iran and the coup in Honduras got a wildly different international reaction than the coup in Niger. Then again, yellow cake controversies aside, the CIA has historically played little role in Niger so the knee jerks don't have a template, democracy and human rights not being a real factor for them.


Bumpus Dogs said...

One thing that led me to shudder was the wide reporting of the state department asking Twitter (and twitter obliging) to put off upgrades to their servers because of the Iran situation (they had planned a several hour disruption of service to install the upgrades). Where is the line between feel-good freedom fighters and western businesses looking to destabilize sovereign nations? I'm sure that question won't be asked loudly.

Brian said...

Iranians who use Twitter are citizens of that "sovereign nation."