Delivering a marvelous song for the people of Iran.
Delivering a marvelous song for the people of Iran.
Speaking right now is Shahla Talebi on the role of women and mothers in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Talebi thinks that much of today’s violence in Iran against women, is a reaction against “strong men, who have strong mothers.” As Talbei stated, “the masculine might can never do without mothers.” Therefore, the need to crush women, who stand in the way of masculine might.
I would like to ask Prof. Talebi once Q & A comes up about the imagery of Neda Soltan and why she thinks that image remains so definitive of the Green Wave.
Asef Bayat is currently speaking and has made some very interesting points regarding generational shifts in the idea of what constitutes azadi, Persian for “Freedom.”
For the generation leading the protests of 1979 Bayat argues that azadi was more about liberation from Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and therefore instituting political reforms that included voting rights among others.
The struggle for “freedom” disappeared from the Iranian political consciousness during the Iran-Iraq war only to reemerged at the conflict’s end.
Today’s concept of “freedom” in Iran, is youthful and focused on individual liberties that allow for Iranians to live like other young people throughout the world.
This however, should not be confused with the idea of the 20th Century proto-Islamist that saw these aspects of “Freedom” as an excuse for decadence and other Euro-American sins.
Iran’s movement today is exclusively Iranian, peaceful (despite being confronted with violence), and globalized. Iran’s Green Wave should be seen as a “post-Islamist” movement, that is to say: a movement that seeks to reclaim citizenship within a religious order.
Hamid Dabashi just finished the opening remarks of the of the first panel at the Columbia conference on Iran.
He began with a jab at Columbia President Lee Bollinger who, according to Dabashi, was somewhat responsible for two of his graduate students packing up and fleeing Iran this past summer. As Dabashi noted, the Iranian tabloids had accused Columbia as being the American home of the so-called “Velvet Revolution” in Iran. Bollinger’s comments two years ago in his introduction of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad certainly did not help in allaying the fears of the Iranian regime.
Dabashi noted, there is nothing about Iran that will be said today that will not be immediately relevant to the United States. In other words, as Dabashi said, this is not about “us versus them.” Let’s see.
On the one hand, it is often best if the United States, Russia, England, France, the Greeks, the Arabs, the Mongolians, and all other outside forces stay out of Iranian politics. I have maintained that fairly consistently over the years. But I started thinking about things today after watching this video:
Today in the streets of Tehran, on the anniversary of the taking of the American Embassy in Tehran (now 30 years ago) the Green Wave chanted on the streets “Obama! Obama! You are with them or you are with us.”
Might Obama, now that he is a Nobel Peace Laureate, be seen more than just the President of the United States, but a symbol for the aspirations of all the oppressed? Might it be that the President is in a unique position to do something more than voice gentle opinions?
I honestly don’t know, but would love to hear what you all think out there on the interwebs.
While some quarters of the Americans foreign policy apparatchik (and a sizable number of Iranian-Americans) will send out three cheers for the big news of the day, that is, the killing of several senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commanders (read about it here and here) the news should be the cause of great concern for other Iran observers.
The bombing, which killed a deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Noor Ali Shooshtari, was claimed by a Sunni seperatist group with links to Pakistan working out of the eastern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan called Jundallah (The Soldiers of God). Despite these claims, several of Iran’s ruling elite have proclaimed the act to be the work of American and British clandestine services.
Determining the true culprit, whether it be Sunni separatists or Western powers, will take some time. However, the Iranian government is not without reason in laying blaim on the US and Britain. It was only last year that ace investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote in The New Yorker magazine that the Bush Administration had begun pouring funds into covert activities aimed at destabilizing the Iranian regime. As Hersh wrote, “The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations.”
In recent months, questions have emerged as to whether or not the Obama Administration had put an end to the Bush era program in Iran. No clear answers have emerged.
Alas, relations between nations are the same as human to human relations, violence begets violence. If the United States and Britain do nothing to assure the Iranians that they had no part in today’s terrorist acts we may see an escalation in violence spurred on by the Iranian Guards in a number of places including, Iraq, Afghanistan, or even Israel. News that does not portend well for those wishing for peace and stability in the region.
Moreover, the news of the terrorist attacks is terrible timing for Mir Hossein Mousavi and the countless youth of the Green Wave made famous last June in their street opposition to the ruling parties aligned with President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Khamenei. The regime could use today’s attacks as an excuse for the continued mass jailing of dissident reformers claiming them to be “un-Iranian,” actions similar to what was done to the (so-called) American left in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail and fists, as President Obama likes to say, will be unclenched. Time will tell.
For those of you wondering how to get involved in the protests tomorrow in New York you might want to check out Voices for Iran which has been tirelessy organizing here in New York City in preparation for Ahmadinejad’s arrival to attend the United Nations general assembly. (they also have information about chartered buses from Washington to New York)
As Gary Sick has noted, the New York Times blog has written today about the masses of Iranian activists who are coming to New York from across the United States and Canada to protest the Iranian leader. It seems this time around the Iranian diaspora is finally united (despite a few old school protesters and their kids) in its hopes for reform over revolution.
The qizilbash team hopes to bring live coverage tomorrow from the event. So check early and check often.
From the NPR blog:
The Empire State Building will be bathed in green lights.
And the display will come at the same time as Iranian activists stage protests around the city over Ahmadinejad’s appearance at this week’s opening of the U.N. General Assembly.
As The Wall Street Journal explains, the owners of the building are not endorsing the activists’ movement. In fact, a request from some activists to have the green lights turned on this week was turned down by Empire State Building Co.
But — and here’s where what the activists believe is a good omen comes into the story — the owners did approve a request to turn on the green lights this Thursday in honor of the 70th anniversary of film The Wizard of Oz.
What great fortune for the Green Wave NYC!