Two things have occurred to me as I've watched the turmoil in Iran escalate into a real time horror story. One is that if a people are pushed hard enough by a dictatorial government, they'll fight back. The United States doesn't have to do it for them.
The second is that it matters not one iota that it's in a Muslim country and it is in fact, Muslim against Muslim. The world is rallying behind the protesters who want nothing more than for their votes to be counted honestly and their freedoms restored.
Though they will probably not win this battle, they may well, in time, win the war. The young woman, Neda, shown just as she was shot, has, in her death, become the symbol of their fight. The horror. The senseless brutality. In real time.
I think back to my college days. We had a large contingent of Iranian students on campus. Many were sons of government workers or the well-to-do. They were mostly studying engineering or agriculture with the intent of returning to Iran and bettering their country. I dated several of them and you know what? They were just like any other guy on campus. Thoroughly westernized and enjoying every minute of it. If they had chauvinistic attitudes toward women they kept them well hidden.
As I watch the students in these protests I can't help think that they are very much the same as those I knew at the same age. Many could actually be their grandchildren!
I applaud the fact these young people have stolen the march on the stodgy old theocrats who have had their way with their people far too long. It is our contribution to the cause of freedom around the world and may, in fact, be far more powerful an influence than any politician could ever hope to be. The development of the web as a means of instant communication. Who would have thought, even a few weeks ago, that Twitter would become instrumental in the dissemination of news on this scale?
The Iranian leadership never saw it coming. The question that remains is what happens now? Will they continue to bully their way through knowing the world is watching? Do they realize they cannot block the Internet forever and the amount of information stored on cell phones and digital cameras will be damning?
Time will tell. One thing I am sure of is that oppressive governments around the world have now been put on notice. When people have the will they will fight for their rights. And the world will know it immediately!