It’s based on my reading of what I believe is happening in Iran. This, in my judgment, is a post-ideological generation. My generation was divided into third world socialists, anti-colonial nationalists and militant Islamists. These are the three dominant ideologies with which we grew up. But if you look at the composition of Iranian society today, 70 percent of it is under the age of thirty—namely, born after the Islamic Revolution. They no longer are divided along those ideological lines.
And if you read their newspapers, if you watch their movies, if you listen to the lyrics of their underground music, to their contemporary arts, etc., which we have been doing over the past thirty years, this, to me, is a civil rights movement. They are operating within the Constitution of the Islamic Republic. They don’t want to topple the regime. If you look—come outside, from the right of the right, in the US Senate to the left, is waiting for yet another revolution to happen. I don’t think this is another revolution. This is a civil rights movement. They’re demanding their civil rights that are being denied, even within the Constitution of the Islamic Republic. From their chants that they are doing in the streets to their newspapers, to their magazines, to their websites, to their Facebook, to their Twitters, everywhere that you look, this is a demand for civil liberties and not—
There are, of course, underlying economic factors, statistically. The unemployment in the age cohort of fifteen to twenty-nine is 70 percent. So this is not a class warfare. In other words, people that we see in the streets, 70 percent of them, that a majority of them are young—70 percent of them do not even have a job. They can’t even rent a room, let alone marry, let alone have a family. So the assumption that this is a upper-middle-class or middle-class, bourgeois, Gucci revolutionaries on the side of Mousavi and poor on the side of Ahmadinejad is completely false.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The only demographic groups in which our survey found Mousavi leading or competitive with Ahmadinejad were university students and graduates, and the highest-income Iranians. When our poll was taken, almost a third of Iranians were also still undecided. Yet the baseline distributions we found then mirror the results reported by the Iranian authorities, indicating the possibility that the vote is not the product of widespread fraud.
Monday, June 22, 2009
It is bad enough that the ghastly Blair creature might rise from the political tomb, hands clasped in pious prayer, upper lip trembling with fake emotion, pockets crammed with money from the lecture circuit, drivel streaming from his mouth. That would perhaps be the only thing that might make the nation warm to Gordon Brown again.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Gaza's forced separation from Palestine, and its miserable condition, have been almost entirely consigned to oblivion, an atrocity to which we should not contribute by tacit consent. Israeli journalist Amira Hass, one of the leading specialists on Gaza writes that "The restrictions on Palestinian movement that Israel introduced in January 1991 reversed a process that had been initiated in June 1967. Back then, and for the first time since 1948, a large portion of the Palestinian people again lived in the open territory of a single country--to be sure, one that was occupied, but was nevertheless whole... The total separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank is one of the greatest achievements of Israeli politics, whose overarching objective is to prevent a solution based on international decisions and understandings and instead dictate an arrangement based on Israel's military superiority... Since January 1991, Israel has bureaucratically and logistically merely perfected the split and the separation: not only between Palestinians in the occupied territories and their brothers in Israel, but also between the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and those in the rest of the territories and between Gazans and West Bankers/Jerusalemites. Jews live in this same piece of land within a superior and separate system of privileges, laws, services, physical infrastructure and freedom of movement" (April 24, BitterLemons.org).
Saturday, June 06, 2009
There is much debate about whether torture has been effective in eliciting information -- the assumption being, apparently, that if it is effective then it may be justified. By the same argument, when Nicaragua captured US pilot Eugene Hasenfuss in 1986 after shooting down his plane delivering aid to Reagan's contra forces, they should not have tried him, found him guilty, and then sent him back to the US, as they did. Rather, they should have applied the CIA torture paradigm to try to extract information about other terrorist atrocities being planned and implemented in Washington, no small matter for a tiny and poor country under terrorist attack by the global superpower. And Nicaragua should certainly have done the same if they had been able to capture the chief terrorism coordinator, John Negroponte, then Ambassador in Honduras, later appointed counterterrorism Czar, without eliciting a murmur. Cuba should have done the same if they had been able to lay hands on the Kennedy brothers. There is no need to bring up what victims should have done to Kissinger, Reagan, and other leading terrorist commanders, whose exploits leave al-Qaeda far in the distance, and who doubtless had ample information that could have prevented further "ticking bombs."