Saturday :: Jun 13, 2009

Not Czechoslovakia or China but Yugoslavia

by CA Pol Junkie

It's hard to compile the various reports coming out from Iran into a coherent picture. Juan Cole makes a good argument that the vote was rigged. Probably the best argument comes from the statements of the opposition (Mousavi and Karroubi), who are saying flat-out that the government is lying, and the actions of the government in its quick pronouncement of an Ahmadinejad victory and subsequent suppression of information.

There are riots in Tehran, but it's hard to tell from where we sit where they are going. Some look back to 1989 and wonder if this will turn into a Velvet Revolution or Tiananmen Square. I don't think either is really the best analogy.

I've seen reports of a few thousand people in the streets in Tehran - that's not the right order of magnitude for a revolution. The stakes are high for the Iranian people: as the old adage goes, "If you shoot at the king, don't miss." Now they don't have any faith in elections; if the opposition folds in the face of the government force, they won't have credibility either. To succeed, critical mass is needed so those who want to fight for their country know they can win. The people of Yugoslavia showed how to do that in 2000.

Slobodan Milosevic had led Yugoslavia to war, disintegration, and economic ruin. He then refused to release the results of the election held September 24, 2000. The opposition called a general strike. A million people mobbed in Belgrade and took over the Parliament building, forcing Milosevic out of power. If the people of Iran shut down the country, they can take their country back. As they face danger we can only imagine, we will be on the edge of our seats seeing if they somehow succeed.

UPDATE: Mousavi has issued a new statement calling for nullification of the election and peaceful protest nationwide tomorrow. There are reports from Facebook and Twitter that a general strike has been called for Tuesday. Great minute by minute updates are at The Huffington Post.

CA Pol Junkie :: 10:11 PM :: Comments (3) :: Digg It!