In This Dawn

There is an opinion, expressed here, and here, that says: We must ‘cease propping up Arab despots and adopt a blatant bias towards democracy and its brave defenders… If that means accepting Islamist governments from Rabat to Islamabad, so be it.’ The first part of this sentence is absolutely bang on. The realpolitik idea (which the West has not entirely abandoned) of supporting convenient autocrats has brought violence and misery on both sides of the deal.

But does Arab democracy mean Islamist government? The evidence is unclear. In recent elections in India, in Lebanon, in Indonesia and in Iraq, the parties of God went down to defeat after humiliating defeat. From these results it could be argued that most people in the developing world don’t want theocratic government and, given the choice, will reject it.

As I write, there is growing unrest in Iran, reasonable allegations that the regime has rigged the recent election and repression of dissent and demonstration. What particularly got to me was this report of protestors coming to the aid of a police officer who had been injured in the clashes.

Something is happening. The mullahs’ propaganda channel can’t block it. Nor can the regime’s professional apologists with their tired and sordid arguments that the Iranian farmers all love Ahmadinejad to bits and that the demonstrators are all rich kids in North Tehran. That dog won’t fight, not any more. This revolution, if that’s what it is, will not just be televised but Twittered and YouTubed. Read Azarmehr:

This is the critical mass I have always talked about. This is what tips the balance, when people see such large numbers, their fear disappears and at the same time the riot guards become more unwilling to beat up the protesters and scared of their own future. We have now reached that point. So long as people lead with their demands and are not fooled by compromises designed to take the sting out of their momentum, then our day has finally come!

I hope this is the beginning of the end for theocracy in Iran. It’s too early to say. All you can do from the UK is watch, hope, show solidarity… and demonstrate. You are not alone. Viva Iran: death to fascism.

With that in mind, I turn to CiF where the New Statesman’s Mehdi Hasan answers the question ‘Can religion save the world?’ with an unqualified affirmative. From the jukebox of anti-secular arguments he claims that ‘religion and religiosity are on the up’ and asks: ‘Incidentally, so what if religious ideologies dominate over political ideologies?’ To combine a couple of cliches, this is one pro-faith leftist who has his head buried in sand and is way behind the times.

iran

(Image from the Guardian)

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One Response to “In This Dawn”

  1. Quilliam versus the BNP « Shiraz Socialist Says:

    […] could easily have developed this line of argument further. David Thompson recalls a debate: At some point, I made reference to migration and the […]

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