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for want of democracy

Yes, I'm supposed to be on hiatus, but I'm so discouraged and outraged at what is going on in Iran that I couldn't help but post.

As mentioned below, the students had called off their organized protests for today, fearing a violent backlash from the mullahs.

However, that has not stopped the mullahs from cracking down on dissidents:

Three leading Iranian student activists have been detained in Tehran, minutes after canceling protests called to mark the anniversary of student unrest in the capital four years ago. Other members of the pro-reform student umbrella group Office to Consolidate Unity say the three activists were taken away by plainclothes men.

Reuters news agency quotes witnesses as saying about 15 people armed with handguns pushed aside uniformed police and forced the three activists into waiting cars. The report says other activists barricaded themselves in OCU offices and refused to come out until reformists lawmakers arrived to guarantee their safety.

Moments before being detained, the three activists said they were canceling a campus protest and demonstrations in front of the United Nations offices in the capital. They said they feared a backlash from government security forces.

If I hear anyone bitch about how this country (America) squashes dissent and crushes the spirit of rebellion and how our liberties and rights are being diminished, I will point them towards this day in Iranian history, so they can see what "the squashing of dissent" really means.

I do hope when we hear news of those arrested today, they have not been killed for their desire for democracy. I'm not holding my breath.

[This is also being covered on Command Post]

Why is there such a lack of coverage in the media on this story? Why aren't lefty sites such as Indymedia - aren't they the people who usually scream about human rights and freedoms? - covering this at all. The silence from mainstream media as well is very strange.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference for want of democracy:

» Iran Today from Beth's Contradictory Brain
As usual, Michele has a great round up of blogging about Iran today. And she also has this great post [Read More]

» Despotism from Pirates! Man Your Women!
This may be the worst of the possible outcomes. The Iranian students and others, who have been campaigning for liberty in that repressive government, lost the momentum of their cause today. In order to avoid violence, they called off the general strik... [Read More]

Comments

What these mad mullahs are defending is their country against an Alien culture, your culture. They don't want your idea of freedom in their land. These freedom fighters who obviously are bein aided by the US are traitors to their race and culture. What do you care about the well being of arabs? you look down on them al as bein cavemen and yet you believe they orchestrated 9/11 all by themselves!! LOL

Quit yer trollin Anwar.

Just because you have nothing but contempt for other nationalities doesn't mean that people here don't have sympathy for people who want to be free.

And who called anyone a caveman?

Anwar's days are numbered over here. He's not even amusing anymore.

In fact, he's one of the reasons I needed a break from this. So blame him if I don't come back.

Freedom of speech as long as you agree with my point of view?..Nationality, if anything we are going towards a mono culture and a one nation world. If anyone has a contempt for other people's cultures it's the govt. of the US of A!

Rampant individual liberty and freedom is a point of view. It is not to be forced on people like the crusades. It is not to be infiltated into a society like the internation communist party. One size does not fit all. Nations as well as people may be different as the climates.
Think globally, act locally.
I give you the freedom to go where you will, that you have a choice, with the notion of there being a difference as a prerequisite to meaningful choice.
Grant others that freedom too. Grant me that freedom. Find some love of difference.

Nothing to do with your point of view, Anwar. There are plenty of people who comment on here who don't share my point of view and have never been kicked off.

You're nothing more than a troll.

I love difference, it's what makes us human. I love history and culture, I find it fascinating but I don't see any of this regard, a love of difference in globalisation. If anything it is conform or else. I laugh when I walk around seeing people with up turned crosses et all, i'd much rather see an inverted nike symbol. This is a pagan godless age, a culture of death that our children will have to live with. I am not a troll, but Michele you disappoint me.

And you disappoint me, you shameless jerk. Diversity is grand, but in you asshattedness, you seem to have neglected the point that in Iran, it's conform to what the government tells you-- or else the men with guns take you away.

Mocking Iranian freedom fighters, and trying to kick Michele when she's feeling down? What kind of human being are you?

Oppression is not a "culture". Imprisonment is not an "alternative freedom". Yes, Anwar, alternative points of view are nice. Rome wanted Julius Caesar to be dictator when the Senate wasn't working. But the people are not asking for democracy, they're not asking for McDonald's. They are asking for basic freedoms. Only the most twisted, jaded moral relativist can identify with a nation's leadership when they threaten to slaughter protestors. And to call the Mullahs true Muslims and assert that they still have religious significance, when they would kill fellow Muslims over the right to peaceably assemble...I think THAT'S why Michelle calls you a troll.

What Scott said.

And now for what Anwar said:

"What these mad mullahs are defending is their country against an Alien culture, your culture. They don't want your idea of freedom in their land. These freedom fighters who obviously are bein aided by the US are traitors to their race and culture"

So, their race and culture is one of imprisonment, torture, subjugation, fear and the denial of basic human rights?

Would you want to live like that, anwar? Would you not fight for your freedom if that was how you were expected to live? Personally, if I disappointed you I think I should be quite proud of that.

anwar, if you are going to be so dead wrong with your comments, the least you could do is not insult the people you are claiming to defend. iranians are not arabs. they are persian. not the same thing. in fact, much of the non-arab muslim world has seen very real arab colonialism all this time while people like you complain about imagined american colonialism.

Anwar – what are those millionaire mullahs defending? Maybe they’re defending their total economic domination over a population that earns, on average, less than $2,000 a year.

The millionaire Mullahs are so despised by their own people that they have to hire Hezbollah motorcycle punks to keep the students down. They can't trust Iranians. These pitiful oligarchs sound like bit players in a bad ripoff of a Mad Max movie, but, unfortunately, they are real and they are still in power. Approximately 90% of Iranians are opposed to them.

..and you defend them. You pretend to ‘love difference’, yet you consistently defend Islamic fascism. You say you’re not a troll…so can you explain why you claim to love difference while celebrating the mullahs and their culture of death and oppression?

It is kinda perplexing why the Iranian dissidents aren't receiving any more attention or support here in the US. They're trying to achieve on their own the same goal that we're purportedly pursuing in Iraq, yet America doesn't seem to be paying them any attention.

Back at the time of Bush's "axis of evil" comment, I thought his failure to draw a sharp distinction between the Iranian government and the large number of Iranian citizens pushing for reform was a serious mistake. It is true that our government has to walk a fine line - showing too much support for the dissidents could easily backfire and generate sypathy in Iran and the rest of the Middle East for the mullahs. However, that doesn't really explain why so many Americans were riveted by Tiananmen Square but appear entirely unconcerned about the current situation in Iran.

At least Michele is doing her part (on her "vacation" no less!) and she deserves to be congratulated for her efforts - as well as having to put up with the Anwar's of the world.

"it's conform to what the government tells you-- or else the men with guns take you away"..isn't that whats happening in Bush's America 2003?.Please don't tell me about history, Balagan, most american's see the middle east inhabited by A - raabs except israel. They also see them living in the stone age. I don't have to look far for those views either, just at archived posts on this website.
Prey tell me, How many americans are encouraged to kill each other yearly yet you think that Govts who blatantly abuse are worse?

I don't kick people when they're down, I was only reacting to name calling. I am only highlighting the fact that the alternative that the US gives is just as bad. I mean wake up, a mono culture, one world state is everyone happy with this, 24 hour realitv? I am not!

nwo 2003. one race + one culture + one nation = NO THANKS Keep your freedom, close your borders and stop bothering the rest.

Anwar – huh?

Yes, thank you Michele for working on your vacation and putting up with the Anwars out there.

"It is kinda perplexing why the Iranian dissidents aren't receiving any more attention or support here in the US." Could it be that they would rather have a puppet democracy in there. Lets be honest if there was TRUE democracy in the middle east, the vast population would tell the States to get the hell out! Why does everyone deny whats looking them in the face? Globalisation. "imprisonment, torture, subjugation, fear and the denial of basic human rights?"..prey tell me about Camp X-ray?

Anwar,
You say that a system that permits freedom of speech is just as bad as one that executes people for speaking out.
Yup, I suppose that might make sense to some people, but hopefully most of those are taking their meds.
If the present Iranian leaders and their system of government belonged there, they wouldn't have the bulk of the population calling for their removal, and they wouldn't have some of their own senior(Shiite, mind you) government ministers calling for the adoption of a more democratized government.

Some of you are so defensive and busy tellin others what to do that you should smell yourselves!

I smell like a fresh summer's day. What about you?

"I mean wake up, a mono culture, one world state is everyone happy with this, 24 hour realitv? I am not!"

you are confusing america with europe.

"Please don't tell me about history"

another typo there. im sure you meant: "please dont tell me about reality"

"Prey tell me, How many americans are encouraged to kill each other yearly yet you think that Govts who blatantly abuse are worse?"

what are you talking about? ... and what makes you think you know so much about america?

lol you're pretty cool

Balagan, please stop. Wake up to TV, its your life i bet. I live reality everyday, I know of the past and can sense where we're going as a race. When Dubya talks of a 100 year war it feels me with atavistic dread. Saddam is laughin in his grave or is it his recliner after breakin a deal with Dubya's boys? Don't you ever wonder why so many americans are killing each other?

yes oh master anwar. i was so foolish to think otherwise. i should have realized sooner that you see all, know all, and are our one and only savior. i will devote myself to you and your wisdom henceforth. i now will return to my regularly scheduled programming and cease this troll feeding. back to the revolution... damn crime it isnt being televised.

Typical...try to get them to back up (or even explain coherently) their outrageous comments and they lapse into 4th grade fuckwittery.

At last someone who isn't afraid to smell the toilet after they've flushed!

Sekimor show some respect for your president phleese (it must be break time a junior high)

Outrageous comments dear? What about Donald Rumsfield's comments that Saddam destroyed his WMDs b4 the oncoming war! LOL LOL Hey kids watch out for the deadly Pretzels!! LOL

Anwar – just to let you know, the link to your very interesting site, which seemed to be concerned with drug abuse, cannibalism and sociopathy, is down.

We’ve kind of gotten off topic here..we were talking about the kleptocratic mullahs of Iran and our support of the students and the very large percentage of Iranians who would like to get rid of those Mullahs. We support the students, but you don’t. I’m not sure why you’re trying to distract us with toilet humor and clichéd myths about Americans, but it’s getting boring. You seem to be doing a sad imitation of Puce. He was funny, but you're not.

you should look to matters more close to home. Patriot Act 2 for a start

Michele, that sounded like a "death threat" to me.

Patriot Act 2 was more of an idea than an actual attempt at legislating an act. Besides, it would never come to pass. There is not a person on either side of the political fence who supports this thing.

Well, at least not regular citizens.

For more, go here.

And read the last comments:

Why is Ashcroft and the current administration being blamed for Patriot Act II?
It's original sponsor is Tom Daschle, the Democratic Party leader. Co-sponsors include everyone's favorite liberals Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy.

Death threats? Cliched myths about americans ..wtf! I am intelligent enough to know the difference between americans and the present administration at the white house...Believe me Mary every self righteously deluded word you spew makes me wanna slit myself.

Don't let ME stop you.

'Nuff said.

Who's Mary?

Seth, stop encouraging my readers to kill themselves.

Oh, nevermind. Go ahead.

They've taken down my own shrine on cyberspace and the world just won't listen.

Goodbye cruel world

Anwar:

Hmm... your website, it's, well... really stupid. I mean, bad music, bad poetry, poor construction, uninteresting. Just terrible. I've seen 12 year olds construct better pages.

Now, as to the political opinions you have posted here, you are utterly ignorant. You don't know anything about what is going on in Iran right now, and are merely spouting back the leftist bullsh*t you've heard others say. Nothing particularly interesting there either. You are a spoiled little snot who has no clue what it is like to actually have to FIGHT for your freedom. Those Iranians are doing so right now. They would laugh at your whining, your angst, and your bad poetry.

And so do I. Now, in the words of WC Fields, "Go away, kid. Ya bother me.

So because the situation here in the USA is nowhere near as repressive as in other countries, particulrly Iran, we should just STFU about things here? So when should we get worried about loss of liberties and rights in the USA? When people are jailed and held incommunicado with recourse to the legal system? When people lose their jobs because they hold dissenting views?

I am sure you all know the story about putting a frog in warm water, and slowly increasing the temperature until it is boiling, but because the temperature change is gradual, the frog doesn't notice it until too late?

How long before our freedoms croak?

Yes, Ken, that's exactly what everyone is saying. It's completely as black and white as that.

snort

Ok Sekimori, I assume the ending "snort" was meant to imply that you thought what I was saying was crap? It as been a long day, and maybe I am misunderstanding you.

Michele-

I am starting to understand your decision to go underground. BeerMary is having these same persistent troll problems and is on the verge of shutting down her blog.

I hope you won't let this color your decision to carry on.

D

\Sar"casm\, n. [F. sarcasme, L. sarcasmus, Gr. sarkasmo`s, from sarka`zein to tear flesh like dogs, to bite the lips in rage, to speak bitterly, to sneer, fr. sa`rx, sa`rkos, flesh.] A keen, reproachful expression; a satirical remark uttered with some degree of scorn or contempt; a taunt; a gibe; a cutting jest.

Ken –

Who has lost their job because they hold dissenting views? Are you a Michael Savage fan, bummed out because you miss one of your favorite commentators? Since I’m not a Savage fan, I can’t share your pain.

Which citizens are currently held incommunicado without recourse to the legal system? Are you talking about terror suspects? Just a quick question – if Clinton or Bush had bombed al Qaeda before 9/11, would you currently be protesting that ‘illegal action’? Do you think that potential terrorists, or potential mass murderers who are part of a political organization that has declared war on us should be treated as if they were ordinary criminals, or ordinary illegal immigrants? If so do you also, at the same time, believe that Bush is not doing enough to fight terrorism?

Another quick question. Can you name any country, anyplace in the world that offers it’s citizens more rights and freedoms than we do here?

There are two reasons we're not getting the story about Iran. The first is that it's difficult to get camera crews there and our media isn't interested about storys without pictures. Add that it's dangerous to try to cover what's going on.
The second reason is that the story doesn't fit the journalistic template. So many of these couragous Iranians are proAmerican. For the leftist pinheads that graduate from J-school that would require an examination of their preconceived notions, an occurance as unlikely as Anwar becoming anything other than a waste of skin.

OMG, I just visited "anwar's" website. It is the most pathetic example of teen goth pseudo-angst rAdwE8d3ziGN that I have ever seen. h4X0rs RUL d00d!! Not.

Mary-

I say this in all politeness and respect, but I think Canada, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and the UK offer a competitive level of civil liberties to the average citizen as we do here in the US.

I love my country, don't get me wrong, but I'm just saying we haven't entirely cornered the freedom market.

D

Actually, David, they don't -- though they do come close. But there are many, many more bureaucratic rules and regulations in those countries than their are here. In fact, the only place that they do surpass the US is in the areas of gay civil rights and (at least in the Netherlands) less-stringent drug use rules. Unfortunately these are simply not the only criteria with which a country's freedom index can be measured. (For the record, I am in favor of permitting, or not standing in the way of, gay marriage, and I think that at least mild drugs like marijuana should be legalized.)

I should have added:

There are many more rules and regulations on certain freedoms we still take for granted in the US, like property laws, privacy laws -- for example, in the UK they have cameras everywhere, you have to pay a license to the state to own a tv, and so on) -- and other things that we don't even think about. Such as, for instance, the much-maligned Second Amendment. Whether you like it or not, the right to have your own personal firearm is a freedom, one that is restricted or simply does not exist in those countries. I am sure there are more.

Andrea

Don't get too comfortable on the camera thing. There are agencies looking at them right now. A few cities actually have cameras on many streets.
A company called Boundless Security Systems has even come out with a series called CamPuters that are meant for streets, airports, stadiums and so forth. CamPuters connect video sensors to video DSPs. They can read iris patterns, even through dark glasses and match up a passerby to any photo records in connected databanks.
Any tourist town you go to has videocams all over the place, connected to the Internet, and certain websites make the views available to anybody with a computer and an ISP.
As our society percieves an increasing need for protective(public safety) venues, I think we'll find ourselves moving more and more into "Big Brother" mode.
It sucks, but it seems like it's inevitable.

Wow, I go away for a few hours an look what happens.

Anwar, if you're still listening, I admire your argumentative tactic. If you don't have the strength to prove a point, change the subject.

Anwar, do you believe in the will of the people? Do you think that if enough people want a change in government, they should have it? That's what's happening in Iran. Nothing more.

Freedoms are never black and white, y'all. Patriot 2 may be a bad piece of legislation, and if so it needs to be fought, tooth and nail.

That doesn't mean that you have to hate everything the government is doing. That's a silly concept in the US. We have a participatory government, and an obligation to direct that government.

Freedom and Democracy in the Middle East is a laudable goal, and it may take decades to achieve. But for the sake of us all, isn't it worth it?

Mary, Mary, Mary. Did you really read what I wrote? Or just assume it was another left wing anti-Bush diatribe?

I didn't say the US had already held people without charge, sacked people for holding different views. I never mentioned "The War on Terror".

But it is a fact that our current administration have tried (and in a few places succeeded) in reducing the levels of freedoms we enjoy here in the US. Whether this is for good or bad is a matter of personal choice. Patriot Act. TIA - that was killed, but we may get "son of TIA". Patriot Act II? What I did say was just because other countries have have atrocious records of protecting their peoples' rights and liberties doesn't mean we should ignore attempts here by governments to limit our freedoms, or to bypass the constutional safeguards by stealth.

And don't say it cant happen - the "House Committee on Unamerican Activities" wasn't all that long ago - and some people on the ultraconservative side are harking back to those days.

How's the temperature in your personal pot?

Cussin my website, the one that I cooked up one night in like 10 minutes?! I don't shirk away from arguements through weakness, I just can sense a wall of ignorance.. I'm also looking at the big picture, the middle eastern roadmap, Total US domination of that Area. The people are suffering under the Mullahs but the oil grabbing haliburtons aren't gonna help either.

Ken,
You realize, of course, the "frog in the boiling water" thing is an urban legend. Like any slippery slope analogy, it falls apart because, at a certain point, people in a thriving democracy realize that the elected government has gone too far and we settle back to an equilibrium (or, in fact may go a little too far the other way).

A better analogy is a marble in a bowl. Some outside force may push the sphere in a certain direction away from the base, but it will eventually return to it's proper equalibrium in the base of the bowl (read that as "well grounded" in civil rights not "at the bottom of the barrel BTW)

Ken, Ken, Ken..
So..when you were talking about all those terrible things that the US government could do, you were just making stuff up. Now I get it. It’s possible that these things could happen. Of course, if you’ve got an active enough imagination, anything is possible.

I assumed that you were a lefty because you’re expressing some of the many thousands of typical lefty fears. As a moderate, I have my fears about big government, about the effects of Tom Daschle’s Patroit II act, about the effects of Joe Biden’s harsh RAVE act. I can have nightmarish fears that an extremist Dennis Kucinich could, through some horrific accident or chance, be elected President and that he would soon be goostepping down the Washington Mall followed by his jackbooted Indymedia thugs. But that’s not really a possiblity, it's more like an unreasonable fear.

Another reason I assumed you were a lefty is your comparison of the US to Iran. No, we’re not ‘as repressive’ as Iran. In fact, we’re the polar opposite of Iran. There is no comparison. As Andrea pointed out, even the most liberal European nations don’t offer their citizens the same liberties we have here. The possibility exists that we could sink as low as, say, Canada, and that would be a tragedy. But we’re still not comparable to Iran.

The temperature in my pot is fine. I believe that the American voters and democracy in general will work, as they usually do, to keep everything at equilibrium. Do you?

Two Words: Camp X-Ray

The horror of Camp X-ray, where prisoners are gaining weight, where the detainees are given a new copy of the Koran and a Muslim chaplain to speak to. How does that compare to, say, Britain’s Maze prison, where IRA detainees were kept…I believe that it was filthy and prisoners were starving.

How do other countries deal with militants? Well, there was the method the French used against the Rainbow Warrior, and there was the method used by the Dutch peacekeepers who ran and hid, allowing 7,000 people to be slaughtered in Srebrenica.

What crimes have camp x-ray prisoners committed – all they did was fight with the Taliban. Have the Taliban committed any crimes? Well, I could link to a site detailing the multitude of crimes committed by the Taliban, and the tens of thousands dead as a result of them, but it’s too nauseating to look at this time of the morning.

Some fought with al Qaeda, a group that has declared war on America, a group that likes to use the mass murder of innocents as a political tool. So how do you think we should deal with these politically motivated mass murderers? Any ideas?

not hold them without trial for a start..not toture them.

How are they being tortured - are those nasty Americans are overfeeding them?