Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Ahmadinajad Matter

Last night, just before I went to sleep, I saw a Facebook group (with hundreds of supporters) pledging support for Ahmadinajad. It mostly set up and supported by Arabs, some of whom are on my Facebook list of friends. I was naturally annoyed. I mean, supporting Ahmadinajad on sunny days is objectionable but supporting him now is rather most disturbing if not disgusting. When they support Ahmadinajad now, are they not supporting the shooting at demonstrators? I worry that this issue is really going to create a rift between not only Arab left and Iranian left but between Iranians and Arabs generally. And let us remember that Ahmadinajad's rhetoric on Palestine has been a gift to Zionist propaganda and MEMRI would live to just transcribe and translate his lousy speeches. But Ahmadinajad's rhetoric--I hear from Iranians--has been also hurting the Palestinian cause among Iranians. This is a delicate matter: Iranians who oppose the regime expect a wholesale unconditional support for the movement in Iran (and that kind of support has been provided by the Western media), and many Arabs have been worried that the US and Zionists are fomenting trouble in Iran although one can't accuse the masses of demonstrators of being tools for Zionists even if some may be. What is disturbing to me about the Iranian opposition movement is not the people themselves--who have ample reasons to be angry and to demonstrate and to chant (but please spare me the God is Great chant--see why I have problems with the rhetoric and slogans and some demands of the movement)--but the leadership of the movement who have not even distanced themselves from the very ideology that is responsible for their oppression. But the Iranian people deserve support and that support should not be in the forms of the religious demagogues and looters like Moussavi or Rafsanjani. To those who asked me in the last few days: no, the Palestinian question is not the only injustice in the world but it certainly is the MOST UNSAFE CAUSE in the world especially if you live in the West and especially if you live in the US. I mean, you don't think that people like me wonder why the Western media coverage of Palestine is not as propagandistically sentimental and unconditionally sympathetic as the coverage has been about the Iranian demonstrators? There is also another issue that many Arabs may not be sensitive to. In a poll on AlJazeera yesterday, most Arabs (fifty-six if I remember) believe that Iran is a democracy. Arabs here are comparing the imperfect Iranian politician system with their most imperfect Arab political systems. But Arabs should realize that even if the Iranian political system is more open than their lousy political system, the regime is still unjust and oppressive and deserves to be overthrown. When I was active in my teens long before I came to the US, I used to see Iranian leftists who used to come to Lebanon and join the various Palestinian organizations. In later years, elements of the regime were supporting some pro-Iranian groups although the fundamentalist regime does not support resistance to Israel per se: it only supports fundamentalists groups that resist Israel and that supports the Iranian regime. There is a difference there. And if the enemies of the Arabs are supporting the movement against the regime, this does not mean that the enemies of the Arabs control the demonstrators although it does mean a role exists by the enemies of the Arabs to exploit the situation. One wishes that the demonstrators make an effort to distance themselves from the likes of Fox News or CNN or Zionists in general.