To Iran, with respect.

There's an amazing thing happening in our world today. For a long time, I've thought something to be true of human beings. In fact, it's one of the things that forms the basis of some of the beliefs I hold most true. People, whether they realize it or not, whether or not it is something they actually consciously think about, inside all people, the fundamental nature of human sentience is the desire and drive to be free. It is something which can never be successfully crushed or removed. It is, so far as I can tell, above all else this drive is what it is to be human. To my mind, the history of humanity is little other than a very slow trudge toward greater freedoms for all.

Right now, another example of this idea is being made real. In Iran, thousands have taken to the streets in protest. These protests began as an expression against what they believed was an illegitimate election. As a result of the speech by the Supreme Leader Khomenei in which he supported the election results and threatened the use of force against future protests, these protests have necessarily become in challenge to the power structure in the country and the theocratic government which holds that power.

There are many lessons to be learned from all of this, many of which we have yet to be able to see. One thing is undeniable, even at this early point in this situation. This, was only a matter of time. It has been thirty years since the revolution which ended with the creation of The Islamic Republic, the formal name of the Iranian government. In thirty short years, enough of a disenfranchisement has taken root in the people for them to be taking to the streets to express this disenfranchisement. We here, in the United States, have rung our hands, beaten our breasts and feigned outrage at the actions and attitudes of the Iranian government. And nothing we have done, in the whole history of our interactions with Iran, none of our actions have been as important in the developments we're seeing now than the Internet. None of our political actions, none of our sanctions, none of our speeches, grandstanding, nothing has done as much as the invention of and resulting availability of the Internet, and the free exchange of information. Even in Iran, where the Internet faces relatively serious restriction, people have found a way to exchange information freely.

Make no mistake, as of now, there is no way to say what will happen in Iran. These protests may be crushed under the boots of the military and the militias, and we may not hear again for a long time from the people of Iran. Should these protests be crushed and many of those face imprisonment and death, it could spread enough fear as to keep anyone from participating in any such actions for a long time to come. We may see these protests produce some fruit of change in Iran. Either way we are seeing history right now, and another piece of the history of mankind's struggle for freedom. Either way, the people have made their voice heard, beyond Iran, and the world now knows there is a difference between the Iranian government and it's people.

Though I believe in the freedom of the Iranian people to express themselves as they see fit, and I would hope that expression bears fruit in the form of fundamental changes in Iran's society and the kinds of freedom which the people have available to them. There are those who have already begun to call for the United States government and President Obama express their unity with the people of Iran, and pledge our backing. This is exactly the wrong thing to do. It is one thing to express a belief in the Iranian peoples ability to express themselves freely. It is another to weigh in on the situation more specifically. If the Iranian people are going to achieve freedom, it must be their achievement. The impetus must at least be on them to go to the lengths necessary to show they are willing to go the full length of the battle to win their own freedom, and that they are capable of working together enough to even place some opposition before the power structure in the country. We need to stay out of this, until the people of Iran are asking for our assistance and they've have shown they are willing to fight the battles it will take to free themselves. We may be able to provide certain support at that time, financially, etc, but it must be the Iranian people who win their freedom or it will be no freedom won. They will have gone from being under the boot of the theocracy of Iran to the corporatocracy of the United States. The Iranian people could have an opportunity to do something incredible, and my hopes are with them, as little as that might mean considering the realities they face.

It is history we are seeing, and considering the kind of history we've been seeing so regularly for the past ten or so years, it's a hopeful sign to see a positive history happening. It's good to see people in the world still willing to make sacrifices for their freedoms and their rights. It's good to see people reaching for the best of what they and we all are. If nothing, it should remind us what we had to do, everyday people, to gain the freedoms we claim so regularly to value and believe in.


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