A guest post: Today we are all Iranians

The following is a contributed post by my friend from Taiwan Bill Stimson.

“Today We Are All Proud Iranians”

by William R. Stimson

Day by day here in Taiwan I’ve been closely following the internet
images of ordinary people crowding the streets of Iran because they
touch my heart and make me know that in these days, around the world,
we’re all Iranian. In Taiwan, China, America – in all countries
everywhere – each and every one of us is having our deepest and truest
nature shown us by these grandmothers, daughters, and sons who are out
silently and peacefully walking the streets of Iran today to protest a
betrayal that is so much bigger than just a stolen election – and
exists in so many places besides Iran.

Their brave action functions as a reminder that in our own countries
we too are united in ways we don’t know but need to honor if democracy
is to work. We exist not as separate voters with different agendas –
but in reality are so much more. At root, we care about more than
just what we can get for ourselves. We have the capability and the
need to live and connect with one another in a freedom that can tap
our entire genius as a people, develop our deepest resource, and
enable it to shine out through our every small action in ways that
benefit the whole. The smallest of us are big in this way; though it
may only be at rare moments in history, and only in some locations,
that this bigness rises to the surface to make itself visible. Today,
thanks to the internet, all of us far and wide can benefit from one of
these miracle moments that reveal us to be one body, wholly
intelligent, unconquerable and free. Our real strength has nothing to
do with what separates us one from another; but comes from what unites
us. It isn’t revealed by what we can get, but by what we can give.

Those who have given their lives in Iran these last days remind us of
this. And, in doing so, they and the tens or hundreds of thousands
out walking the streets there today have done something equally
important for all of us all over the world. They have put their
country, religion, and culture back on the map in all our hearts and
made them stand tall and proud among all the great countries,
religions, and cultures — second to none.

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 20 Comments

Bill, I appreicate this post and want to comment on this one line:

They have put their country, religion, and culture back on the map in all our hearts and made them stand tall and proud among all the great countries,

I think Iran, more than any country in the Middle East, was given a bad rap by Bush who, to the horror of anyone familiar with where Iran stood in 2002 and how it was trying to make overtures to improve ties to the US, made them one of the foundations of the “axis of evil.” Iran should never have been off our maps and the country stands as a shining example, in every way, of America’s God-awful foreign relations, from the installation of the Shah in the 1950′s straight through to Bush’s provocations, including veiled threats of invasion straight through 2008.

A lot of what is happening in Iran remains unclear to me: the actual policy differences between the two candidates, the charges of the election being rigged, how much of the electorate actually supported Ahmadajinedad (sp?), etc. But I have to applaud the Iranian people for their passion and their caring about the fate of their country. I also hope we soon can learn all the facts so we can divorce fact from myth and really figure out what’s going on in Iran. Things are never, ever as black and white as they seem at first, I’ve come to learn.

June 22, 2009 @ 11:21 pm | Comment

I find it difficult to equal the Taiwanese separatists with the Iranians. There is nothing noble or just in the DPP sponsored protests. Manufacturing ethnic hatred is not the behavior of a democratic society.

June 23, 2009 @ 8:38 pm | Comment

When one ethnic group calls for the exclusion of another group from daily life, when an entrepreneur refuses to employ people of ethnicities different from his own, when a political party calls for the exclusion of certain constituencies based on ethnicity – that would be manufacturing ethnic hatred to me. I can’t see much of that in the protests against Ma Ying-jeou’s policies. Those who protest and those who support president Ma (plus those who don’t care) work together every day, and live in the same country – they only argue about which country it is.

June 23, 2009 @ 11:15 pm | Comment

A lot of what’s happening in Iran is being led by extremely pissed off Iranian women, who have suffered the most under this wretched fundamentalism of the last 30 years. It’s not an accident that Neda has become the symbol of this new movement.

June 24, 2009 @ 4:28 pm | Comment

DPP politicians constantly ask KMT supporters to go back to Mainland. They accuse KMT of being CCP agents. If this is not promoting ethnic hatred, I don’t know what is.

June 24, 2009 @ 9:54 pm | Comment

And relatives of mine who are Communists were frequently asked by other relatives of mine to “move to East Germany” (as long as it existed). But that wasn’t inciting ethnic hatred either. Neither did my Communist relatives feel threatened by their non-communist critics, nor did they take the demand to move to East Germany serious.
Serve the People, I think you live in an environment or in a world of ideas where it’s hard to imagine that not every polemic request is a threat.

June 24, 2009 @ 11:51 pm | Comment

No offense, but this garbage by William R. Stimson is nothing but propaganda against Iran.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1552784/Bush-sanctions-black-ops-against-Iran.html

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/05/bush_authorizes.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wg3r2YSM9g

This reminds me more like the 6/4 incident everyday.

June 25, 2009 @ 6:53 am | Comment

Voting is just another way not to tar and feather the previous leader. Keep in mind the president of Iran does not control military powers or outsider policies.

June 25, 2009 @ 9:09 am | Comment

Pffft… the REAL news item out of the post election Iran is the predictable reaction from the Western punditry with the eye-roll inducing romanticism as shown in this article.

So one faction of clerics jockeying for power with another faction of clerics doesn’t make for a democratic movement. My 10 cent more stupid people dying for nothing.

June 25, 2009 @ 10:03 am | Comment

“This reminds me more like the 6/4 incident everyday”

Strangley enough, this brutal suppression of peaceful demonstrations has a similar effect on me.

June 26, 2009 @ 5:37 am | Comment

Falen, I’m speechless. You’ve just managed to offend almost all dead people, and many living ones, in one go, and you’ve done it off-handedly, casually, ignorantly and insanely. I don’t think you are ready to discuss anything with any representative of civilization. If this was my blog, I would have deleted your comment, on the same grounds as someone might have for closing the door when they visit the WC.

My main assumption is that your reactions fits the grand narrative of “those stupid people who died for nothing in and around Tiananmen Square”.

And excuse the West for having human reactions, and Taiwan for that matter. And everyone else on this planet who doesn’t condone killing in the name of harmony.

If a reaction of outrage is predictable, consider us predictable all you like. This East-West confrontation is getting stale, especially when one has to deal with the delusion and inhumanity that you just demonstrated.

People died, and are dying, and they’re not shooting themselves!

June 26, 2009 @ 5:52 am | Comment

cerebus,

While it is tragic that the lives of the people are lost, I do think there is a problem of why this is nothing but propaganda, view my links at #7. We are supposed to emotionally appalled over the event when this is orchestrated to begin with. The Western Media first made up stories that Hossein Mousavi have a good chance of beating Ahmedinejad. When Mousavi lost the Western Media made up stories about how he has been cheated. And no, I don’t buy the excuse ‘Western Media being too dumb’ excuse because this is explicitly what a CIA black op is, the use of propaganda. It is like someone yelling ‘fire’ in a dark and crowded movie theater.

Personally, I don’t know why Hossein Mousavi is so romantized as the reform candidate when 200+ US marines died in Beirut under his leadership in the 1980′s.

June 26, 2009 @ 9:22 am | Comment

Cerebus,

I am sorry to have distracted from your dreamy romantic interlude of “heroic Iranian rising against the oppressive Islamic regime to support democracy” narrative. Surely the protesters are supporting democracy, particularly the western brand. And the protesters will support scrapping the nuclear program, recognize Israel and hand over all their oil for free…. ha ha ha…

Actually, if I had “off-handedly, casually” dragged you down from the stratosphere down to earth, then I should be proud of myself. Therefore I am taking back my apology.

I’ll tell you exactly my reaction to the Iranian protest. I glanced at the headline and within half a second concluded that it was going nowhere. I have subsequently read more serious analysis of Iran that says the same thing: competing factions fighting for their own interest, the protesters are a very small minority. I am just cynical towards such supposely “spontoneous movement” in support of democracy instead of some entrenched interest acting as such.

I reviewed by comment and haven’t seen anything particularly offensive.

June 26, 2009 @ 1:34 pm | Comment

cerebus: I think it’s important that ppl like Falen can document their opinions, too. I don’t think that he can offend the dead. It’s just Falen. Take it easy.

June 26, 2009 @ 5:48 pm | Comment

I concur with Falen, but my last message perhaps was harmonized.

June 26, 2009 @ 10:06 pm | Comment

I don’t think the westerners actually fantasize that “the protesters will support scrapping the nuclear program, recognize Israel and hand over all their oil for free”.
It is not even much about Mousavi.
As President Obama said, it is about the Iranian people determining their own future and their being able to peacefully dissent without being brutally cracked down. And we are only bearing witness for it.

June 26, 2009 @ 11:32 pm | Comment

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/25/AR2009062503941.html?wprss=rss_world/asia

Human Rights Lawyers ‘Disbarred’ by Paperwork
Chinese Officials Decline to Renew Annual Licenses

Human rights groups say dozens of China’s best defense attorneys have effectively been disbarred.

June 27, 2009 @ 4:06 am | Comment

1st July

June 27, 2009 @ 6:35 am | Comment

The only reason Ahmadinejad came to power in the first place was because the reformist vote stayed home after their disappointment with Khatami’s failure to deliver on promises of reform in the 90′s. Based on the high voter turnout this time around, it is more than likely that Moussavi’s claim of a stolen election is legitimate. The only “interference” that Obama can be guilty of is raising the reformists hopes of a chance for real change with his recent overtures of reconciliation and talks with Iran.

June 27, 2009 @ 8:13 am | Comment

The only reason Ahmadinejad came to power in the first place was because the reformist vote stayed home after their disappointment with Khatami’s failure to deliver on promises of reform in the 90’s.

And because the guy they had in the run-off was Rafsanjani, a corrupt goon who they couldn’t stand. It was like choosing between Branston pickle and Marmite – neither was appetising!

June 28, 2009 @ 5:08 am | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.