By Martin Love 

One view from afar

January 13, 2018

NORTH CAROLINA - I know a thing or two about protests. But the last real protest I was amidst, for a few days, was in February, 2011, in Maidan Tahrir in Cairo. 

I was there as a reporter for a U.S. newspaper, but I was also a participant because the crowds, especially when Mubarak fell, were ebullient, friendly and peaceful and in that sense I was with them in spirit.  Sometimes not peaceful were Mubarak’s “mukhabarat” and the police. They sealed Mubarak’s immediate fate at the time. Violence discredits anyone, including any government.

This reporter had the impression the Egyptian Army was there to offer a moderating influence, a kind of warning to both sides. I found the soldiers disciplined, professional and unprovocative during those winter days in Cairo.  And I loved the primary chant: “The People Want the Fall of the Regime” (or specifically, in fact, the fall of dictator Hosni Mubarak) and in Arabic that chant was stirring. But again, the most important thing was that the protesters were almost entirely non-violent… as far as I could tell as a witness in Maidan Tahrir in central Cairo.

It is first important to mention that Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khamenei is correct. Khamanei has noted that police in the U.S. have in recent years murdered nearly a 1,000 people annually, most of them innocents, and has used any means possible to suppress protests. Law enforcement in the U.S. often shoots first, and often enough, no one is really mounting any kind of threat against law officers. In fact, far fewer police personnel in the U.S. have been killed in recent years than ever before in the past half century or more.  How many people died in Iran’s recent protests? Less than 30, I have read anyway, and we here in the U.S. don’t even know who exactly was responsible for that. 

And then in the mainstream U.S. media, uncritical organs of the State these days more often than not, we have major newspapers like the Wall Street  Journal publishing commentary by the head of the terrorist organization Mujahadin-E-Khalq claiming that the current Iranian government is “unstable” and ill supported by most Iranians. That Maryam Rajavi got space in the Wall Street Journal says a lot about current establishment and Trumpist views in the U.S., and there’s never been any question the MEK is nothing but an ugly terrorist organization responsible for tremendous mayhem in and near Iran for decades.

On a more positive note, those governments that stood behind and endorsed the nuke deal with Iran, thanks to the efforts of former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and former President Barack Obama, are utterly appalled with some members of the U.S. Congress and the Trump administration for failing to stand firmly in support of the deal, which Iran has adhered to completely and sincerely by all responsible accounts. And the U.N. has lately been adamant that the U.S. NOT interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. And also live up fully to the deal itself. It’s about time.

But no right minded person can claim any government anywhere is perfect and is fully addressing the ideal of “democracy” and the needs of its people. The U.S. in recent years certainly is a gross offender in this regard, and U.S. citizens are irate about this fact. A recent poll, for one thing, showed a big majority of U.S. citizens are firmly set against further U.S. military adventures overseas. Will they be heard? One can only hope. Consider that every government over time anywhere, like the human body itself, ossifies, ages, becomes rigid and maybe even riddled with some corruption that results in the neglect of average citizens and their needs or demands for representation and reform. At such times change is warranted. Iran is no exception. Iranians, engaged in active protests or not, must show the world through peaceful actions it remains a civilized nation, one that understands and wants democracy, that can learn from the past, and that can be hopeful about the future. The revolutionary Iranian chant of “Marg Bar” may be superseded by “Nang Bar” with respect to addressing grievances. That would seem to make sense.

Ever since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 that overthrew the Washington installed dictator, the U.S. in spite has been trying to regain control in Iran. Now, the Trump Administration seems to be at work, along with the Zionists and the Saudis, against the Iranian people, not merely the Iranian government. Foreign agents, if they exist in Iran or anywhere, should never be permitted to attempt the overthrow of a government.  The Trumps and Nikki Haley’s and Netanyahu’s of this world are loudmouths who admit they use bribes and insane threats against other countries. These clowns could well destroy American power and influence in the world. If that happens, it will be well deserved and can’t come soon enough.

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