Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Capitulation In Iran

Iran shows all the signs of - well, senility. Like an old man who had his best days, it is stuck in the middle of the road, without the strength to move on or the willingness to move back.

The key to democratic election is that the opposing parties come together to agree on the basis of the number of people they get to support them. It becomes not a debate who is right, or better, but who has the maximum number. It is an incredibly simple system, indeed a stupid system that is so easy to manipulate. This is really how all the dictators around the world get elected at a regular interval - they obviously always win by a resounding margin - and depending on who is protecting them, gets away.

The Iranian regime, by no means, is friendless. It has the support of China, which is the anti-democracy in chief of the world, and of Russia, despite the not-so-friendly history of these two countries in the past. But, this time, it has staged an election too far, not unlike the other inefficient and crumbling regimes before, and currently trying to manage its way out of the crisis.

The whole point is that they have a rabble-rousing President who seemed to have Ayatollah's blessings. But, unbeknown to the powerful, it seemed that the Iranian society has been changing and the ghosts of the past have long disappeared. One would think the big change has been the standing down of the big Satan, the switch from the diplomacy of fear to the diplomacy of faith under Barack Obama, and its message - a message of optimism and hope rather than one of belligerence - to the Iranian voters. Mostly young, they want to vote not unlike the way the rest of Asia voted in the recent elections, in Bangladesh and in India, and gave the mandate, we presume, for change and moving forward. For embracing the world rather than staying permanently in the shadows of the past.

One may argue that there is no confirmation that the election results were indeed stolen. But there is. When would an Authoritarian regime agree to a recount? Or let the protesters march? There are only two situations - when they are indecisive or when they are weak, and usually when they are both. They are suddenly in the world which they don't understand.

There is an element of tragedy in this stalemate. It could have been the Ayatollah's moment. Through the years of suppression of the Iranian republic by the CIA, misrule of a brutal Shah and an even more brutal war imposed on them by a scorned America [through their handyman at the time, Saddam Hussein], the Ayatollahs fought fear with fear, to give the people of Iran strength to face the world, the courage to believe in their own power and imagine a future for themselves. Today, they win. America stands down, exhausted after a prolonged war in Iraq and somewhat doubtful whether its vast Military power is as invincible as it appears, and extends a hand of friendship to Iran. Suddenly the veil of fear is gone and the choice is starkly apparent - move forward with hope or hold back in hopelessness. The Iranian people makes their choice - for hope - with confidence, imagination and courage. The Ayatollah's promise was to deliver the people of Iran exactly into a moment like this. But, when, the moment arrived, they cling to the mask of fear they are used to, and failed to take up the mantle of freedom.

This has always been the problem with great wise men and dictators, they hardly know when to stand down. They are generally swept away - by the rising tide of hope and freedom - at moments like this. It seems that the moment has come in Iran. The Ayatollahs are capitulating. They know they are at the breaking point, but in denial that the party looks over so soon.

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