I don’t know if I have anything to say about the situation in Iran that hasn’t already been said. And normally, that’s enough to keep my mouth shut. But this time, despite my near-paralyzing fear of being trite, I feel that I need to say something:
I support the protesters in Iran.
And not just for the obvious reasons. Not just because the recent election was almost certainly rigged; not just because legitimate dissent is being violently suppressed; not just because the Iranian government is shooting its own citizens in the streets.
I support the protesters in Iran because they are striking a blow against theocracy.
And when Supreme Leader Khamenei warned the protestors that their demonstrations were illegal and that further demonstrations would be firmly shut down and harshly punished… the protestors took to the streets anyway.
In Iran, this is a big honking deal. This isn’t just garden- variety anti- authoritarianism. This is defiance of the very notion of theocracy. Faced with a choice between a hope for a legitimately elected government, and a religious/ political leader telling them what to do and calling it the word of Allah… they’re going with the hope for a legitimately elected government. The very idea that a religious leader has political authority over them is being rejected, in the most blunt manner imaginable.
This is not an original idea with me. It has been said before, better than I’m saying it. But it’s important, and it bears saying again, by multiple voices: Plenty of people in Iran do not support the brutal, despotic, nutball, Holocaust- denying, theocratic government. Plenty of people in Iran are even pretty okay with America and Americans — even more so, now that Americans on Twitter and Facebook have been so instrumental in getting the word out about what’s happening there. (Remember this when you remember the right-wing tirades about the axis of evil, or John McCain’s clever little “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” ditty. These are the people they were talking about.)
I doubt that many of the protesters in Iran are atheists. Most of them seem to be moderate Muslims. And I obviously don’t agree with them about that. But that is completely irrelevant. They are fighting theocracy on the front lines, in ways that I strongly doubt I would have the courage to do. I am supporting them against the Islamic theocracy of their government, and I want to help them in any way that I can.
To find out what you can do to help, you can follow Mousavi’s page on Facebook. No, really. His favorite movie is Groundhog Day, and he’s looking for an untraceable cel phone in Mafia Wars.