Saturday, June 20, 2009

Iran: Then and Now

As the world watches what is happening in Iran these days, it is hard to get a full picture. With foreign journalists either kicked out, or ordered to stay home - always a bad sign in any country who has things to hide from public view - a BBC journalist who was in Tehran in 1979, draws some interesting parallels/conclusions:

Iran police disperse protests

holds a pA supporter of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi holds up a picture during protests June 16, 2009
Supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi have worn green ribbons in protest

After a week of unprecedented mass protests in Iran over the presidential election results, the BBC's John Simpson reflects on the parallels between the 1979 revolution and current events.

The last time I found myself in Valy Asr avenue in Tehran, shouldering my way through a shouting, sweating, half-excited, half-frightened crowd - in order to get television pictures of a fire that was sending up a column of choking black smoke into the sky - it was 1979 and I was 30 years younger.

Things have changed a bit now, of course.

Back then, people did not have mobile phones to hold up in the air and take snapshots or videos of what was going on and send them round the world.

There were not nearly so many young women among the demonstrators....

There is more at the Beeb here. In their sidebar, there are also many links to other relevant aspects of this latest 'revolution'. Last week I was reading a profile on Mousavi. Can't find it now (but am sure it was in the BBC) but what was interesting to me is a couple of comments that asserted that Mr Mousavi was not only heavily supportive of the 1979 taking of the US Embassy in 1979, but is also no 'softie', friend of the west, as some here would like to believe. An interesting man, his history deserves close scrutiny before we all jump on the Mousavi band-wagon.

I do not support the "victor" of this latest obviously rigged election. Ahmadinejad IS a crazy, anti-semitic lunatic; of this there can be no denial. He IS dangerous, but the alternative is not quite as benign, (or favourable to the west) as some commentators would have us believe.

I DO believe that there is a thirst for change within Iran, just as I also fervently believe that this change has to come from within Iran itself. This is - for now, at least - Iran's future to decide.

Dangerous times we live in. Stay tuned.

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