Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Masked Men And Fascism In Iran

Videos like this one of jack-booted policemen beating a defenseless young man with truncheons in Iran today are hard to watch but they should not be ignored:

A Daily Dish reader translates:

It's very hard to understand, but what I can make of it:

They are shouting at him, "This is what's done to the scum (arazel)", "what else have you done", "Will you do it again?" and shouting at crowd, "watch this".

Towards the end they order the young man, "stand up", so that they can beat him again.
And Sullivan quotes Orwell:

There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless.

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever.

I still think that it's too early to tell how much, if at all, this public outcry will change things in Iran but this blog is firmly on the side of the protesters. The human spirit doesn't always win out against oppressive regimes but when it does it's because of brave people like this.

[Update: It turns out that this video is not from the current protests but rather from two years ago. I apologize for stating otherwise but from everything I've seen and read I'd say that it is still very indicative of what is now happening in the streets of Iran. It also shows that the Iranian people have been subject to this kind of thuggery for quite a while.]

[Update II: Glenn Greenwald makes a good point about how the images from these protests should be affecting the American right:
Much of the same faction now claiming such concern for the welfare of The Iranian People are the same people who have long been advocating a military attack on Iran and the dropping of large numbers of bombs on their country -- actions which would result in the slaughter of many of those very same Iranian People. During the presidential campaign, John McCain infamously sang about Bomb, Bomb, Bomb-ing Iran. The Wall St. Journal published a war screed from Commentary's Norman Podhoretz entitled "The Case for Bombing Iran," and following that, Podhoretz said in an interview that he "hopes and prays" that the U.S. "bombs the Iranians." John Bolton and Joe Lieberman advocated the same bombing campaign, while Bill Kristol -- with typical prescience -- hopefully suggested that Bush might bomb Iran if Obama were elected. Rudy Giuliani actually said he would be open to a first-strike nuclear attack on Iran in order to stop their nuclear program.

Imagine how many of the people protesting this week would be dead if any of these bombing advocates had their way -- just as those who paraded around (and still parade around) under the banner of Liberating the Iraqi People caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of them, at least. Hopefully, one of the principal benefits of the turmoil in Iran is that it humanizes whoever the latest Enemy is. Advocating a so-called "attack on Iran" or "bombing Iran" in fact means slaughtering huge numbers of the very same people who are on the streets of Tehran inspiring so many -- obliterating their homes and workplaces, destroying their communities, shattering the infrastructure of their society and their lives. The same is true every time we start mulling the prospect of attacking and bombing another country as though it's some abstract decision in a video game.
Putting a human face on the people we call our enemies is something President Obama has been trying to do since the beginning of his presidency but to many right-wingers empathy equals weakness, and is therefore useless to America. Can you imagine what things would be like right now if John McCain and Sarah Palin had been elected last year? One shudders.]

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