Sunday, June 21, 2009

What would you do in Iran?

What are you doing? Twitter asks me this every time I log in. I have an empty box ready for my 140-character response. I’ve been wondering a lot lately, if I would have the courage of the people taking to the streets in Iran.

Several people I knew were certain the world would explode, if Barack Obama were elected. I kept reassuring them it would not. I laughed to myself as I looked around the Cracker Barrel restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico on November 5, 2008. Everything was normal. Andy and I sat there among college-aged students and families. The world had not been shaken.

It’s different in other parts of the world. In Iran, they did what we did. They went to vote, but the results are in question. Forget the “hanging chads” in Florida. Little pieces of paper can’t compare to what the people of Iran are facing.

Some Iranians feel like the election was rigged. Government leaders deny it, but the level of mistrust is high. The idea that “every vote counts” doesn’t hold the same meaning there as it does here in the United States.

Americans have always believed in protests (and revolutions), it’s in our DNA. We rarely anticipate the government taking action to shed the blood of protesters. It is possible for peaceful protests to become violent at the hands of government police. Ask the Civil Rights protesters?

In Iran, peaceful protests are taking place in defiance of government leaders. They are now deemed “illegal.” One Web site reports Iranian police and militia are clashing with “terrorist groups."

The stories from Iran are heartbreaking and downright scary. And, it’s difficult to tell the truthful stories from the fake ones. The Iranian government took steps to stop the flow of information, but it continues to trickle out through Internet sites, cell phones and Twitter.
The more I read, the more I wonder if I would have the courage to do what the protesters are doing right now. The protesters are taking to the streets not knowing whether they will return home or not.

I’ve had the courage to step up to the plate in the past. I’ve done it as a journalist and as an advocate for a family member, but I’ve also done it in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

I don’t understand all the political parties in Iran or what happened on Election Day.  I don’t think as a nation we can meddle in everyone’s political process.  But, I do understand human suffering and I wish it would stop. I admire the protester's courage for taking to the streets.  I hope I would do the same under similar circumstances here.
What would you do?

After I wrote this, I checked CNN. It's Monday in Iran and the state-run media reports that the Guardian Council rejects the claims of voter irregularity. Of course, they do acknowledge that the number of ballots cast in dozens of cities exceeded the number of eligible voters in those areas. 

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you and wish the violence would stop and that the people protesting will be safe. But I don't see how it can come to a resolution that either side will be happy with.

    Straight From Hel


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