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Der Spiegel checks with the Iranian in the street to determine whether the radical nature of the mullahcracy has any support from its citizenry. The responses sound depressingly familiar -- wan assurances that the hostile rhetoric and fascist statements are just for show:
Sound familiar? It should; Germans made the same mistake about the Nazis when they first came to power. Forget the shouting and the demonstrations, they would explain; that's just for show, a motivational display intended to unify a demoralized nation.
Like most of the people one meets in Tehran, population 15 million, Abash is disarmingly friendly and hospitable. Indeed, even the lawless, lane-less highways are absent of road rage. But next to the highways, one sees evidence of the other Iran -- the Iran that concerns many in the West. On the left, a steady stream of posters passes by depicting Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah thrusting an automatic rifle into the sky. On the right, painted murals flash by glorifying Iran's young martyrs who died in the country's devastating war with Iraq in the 1980s.
Arash, though, continues with his proclamations of Iranian good faith. You just have to "ignore that propaganda," he says.
With Iran likely on the eve of rejecting a European Union incentive package meant to encourage Iran to abandon its nuclear program, ignoring the propaganda is becoming an increasingly tall order. Indeed, on Monday, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei provided a taste of what is apt to come. "The Islamic Republic of Iran has made its own decision," Khamenei said according to Iranian state television. "And in the nuclear case, God willing, with patience and power, (Iran) will continue its path."
Now we hear the same rationalizations from Iranians, and we have to recall how well the dismissal of fascists worked in the past. The Iranians know better than this, and one has to presume that an admission of their trouble causes too much cognitive dissonance to countenance. Denial, after all, absolves one of the responsibility to correct a problem.
Iranian denial isn't complete, however. Despite the regime's argument that they want nuclear power to solve a chronic pollution problem, most Iranians do not have illusions about their true desires. Many of them also see the reasons for the mullahcracy's single-minded pursuit of nukes: they want to protect themselves from their own people as well as the West. The Iranian in the street does not appear perturbed enough by this to do much about it, but at least understands the stakes involved.
This fatalism is more disconcerting than the denial. Iranians appear to have given up hope on a peacefu transition to democracy and more secular government. The West, especially the US, has a rapidly closing window in which to motivate democracy activists and help Iranians free themselves from the autocracy of the Guardian Council. Even before the mullahs get the bomb, the people may surrender to its inevitability.
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» 21st Century Iran Sounds Like 1930s Germany from Old War Dogs
Der Spiegel checks with the Iranian in the street to determine whether the radical nature of the mullahcracy has any support from its citizenry. The responses sound depressingly familiar -- wan assurances that the hostile rhetoric and fascist statement... [Read More]
Tracked on August 21, 2006 8:52 PM
» Dejas-vous all over again from Public Secrets: from the files of the Irishspy
Only, in this case, it's an uncomfortable sense of reliving Europe in the 1930s, not the most reassuring of feelings. Captain Ed quotes an article from Der Spiegel on the attitudes of the Iranian-on-the-street about their fascist government and its [Read More]
Tracked on August 22, 2006 1:24 AM
» 1938 All Over Again from Liberty and Justice
The way the West and especially Europe try to deal with the problem in the Mideast is more similar to 1938 than to 1914 as well. When the first World War started, European countries were more than willing to fight. They had to 'settle some scores' and ... [Read More]
Tracked on August 22, 2006 4:39 AM
» Today’s Iran like Nazi Germany? from The Real Ugly American.com
That is Captain Ed’s comparison and I tend to agree. Der Spiegel checks with the Iranian in the street to determine whether the radical nature of the mullahcracy has any support from its citizenry. The responses sound depressingly familiar R... [Read More]
Tracked on August 22, 2006 6:40 AM
» The Lights In the Sky from Hard Starboard
War with Iran is inevitable because we refuse to fight it. We indulge in every fantasy we can find - "diplomacy with a hint of steel"; the equally as delusional Ledeenite pipedream of encouraging the Iranian people to rise up and overthrow the mullah... [Read More]
Tracked on August 22, 2006 10:38 PM
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