Saturday, June 20, 2009

Iran: Seeing Our Heritage in Their Struggle

In the past week Iran has been a very exciting place. This rigged election fiasco has the potential to drastically change Iran's government, but has already improved Iran's image in the eyes of the American people.

Despite having never had to physically defend the liberties given me here in America, I, and I'd claim most Americans, feel a strong, almost guttural need to be free - and to do whatever is necessary to preserve that freedom. Maybe it's the American education system, or maybe it's because our ancestors were that way. But it really is, from my perspective, a very integral part of each generation of Americans.

But, Americans are often accused of being a self-centered country. We only watch American TV, listen to American music, and care about American news. I agree. But the reaction among Americans to the Iranian protests this week has been very different - we're glued to our TVs watching the events unfold with incredible reverence. In a way, we imagine ourselves watching our ancestors fighting for freedom back in the 18th century. Truthfully, we're somewhat puzzled by the extreme differences between our cultures and we can't just forget the hateful and ignorant rhetoric coming from the Iranian government. But amazingly, Americans are finding that we understand, sympathize, and even relate to Iranians more now than ever before. We don't speak the same language, have the same religion, or eat the same foods - but when we're lied to and manipulated by the government so clearly, just as they have been - we freak out and demand change just as they are doing now.

The Iranian people are, in essence, building a camaraderie with Americans - we're anxiously watching and hoping that they'll keep protesting - that they'll keep putting their lives, reputations, and lifestyles on the line for this, a cause that is truly important - one of the few causes worth dying for.

In a strange way, this upheaval of the Iranian government may lead to a less-extreme and more world-friendly Iran. To say it bluntly, this could be the best way to prevent the United States from eventually going to war with the almost-nuclear-armed Iran.

From one pseudo-pacifistic American to the world: I do not want war with Iran. I want Americans to like Iranians and Iranians to like Americans. I want our governments to tolerate each other and interact peaceably. When our nations throw insults at each other and when they refuse to talk to each other because they're enemies (which, in my opinion is the stupidest idea in the entire world), or when they beat the drums of intimidation and war I believe that we, the regular folks in the ditches, lose big time.

I can only anticipate the situation getting worse as time goes on. Already this unrest is leaving the realm of a rigged election and entering the realm of a complete government overthrow. Of course, we Americans do not want to see anything in Iran that is not in line with the will of the majority of the people.
We're not trying to overthrow the Iranian government - we're just secretly holding our breaths in the hope that the Iranians really don't hate us as much as their government says they do.
Is this the start of a truly democratic Middle Eastern State? Boy, that'd be great.

1 comment:

JB Herrick said...

Wow. Very thoughtful post, Nick.