The Cry For Freedom
The hopes of the world rested on last week's Iranian elections, which promised to turn Mahmoud Ahmadinejad— an ideological and dangerous firebrand fanatic—out of office. Iran, in the past weeks leading up to the presidential election was engulfed in a green wave, the signature color of Ahmadinejad's leading opponent, Mir Hussein Moussavi, whose campaign seemed to augur the beginning of a Velvet Revolution. Seizing the momentum imparted by President Barack Obama's landmark speech to the Muslim World and the recent Lebanese elections, in which moderates trounced Hezbollah, Moussavi took the lead in the Iranian contest, rushing ahead in several scientific polls and attracting hundreds of thousands of supporters to his rapturous rallies. On Election Day, eighty-five percent of the Iranian people, drawn by Moussavi's promise of a new day flocked to the polls to register their dissatisfaction with Ahmadinejad; particularly his confrontational stance against the West and his poor economic stewardship.
The only problem was that the paper ballot they voted with—containing their hopes and dreams— entered the box with one name written on it and came out with another scribbled over it. Miraculously all the "votes" were counted within four hours of the polls closing, in a country where "voting" isn't automated, a Herculean task even by American standards. Even more "miraculously" sixty-three percent of the people who waited in the scalding heat, sweating beneath their legally mandated burqas and beards had voted to give Ahmadinejad another four years in office. Or did they? According to EU observers, there were thousands of legitimate allegations of vote rigging and voter intimidation. Indeed, Moussavi lost his hometown of Tabriz, his powerbase where he is immensely popular. President Nicholas Sarkozy of France, to his credit, recognized this "election" for what it was; "a fraud" whose malevolence was eclipsed only by the Iranian government's "violent reaction" to citizens protesting Ahmadinejad's "victory."
Needless to say, after the votes had been "counted," the people of Iran took their cause to the streets, demonstrating in massive peaceful gatherings, marching in silent solidarity with Moussavi. How did the thugs of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards react? In cold blood, they murdered seven brave protesters, the latest people to be martyred in the cause of freedom. Make no mistake, this is a national liberation movement, potentially on par with the American Revolution, and I pray for the courageous
Letters souls who have placed their lives on the line. Even the most brutal regime, no matter what it does, can never extinguish the flame of freedom that burns inside every one of us. Regardless of the daily humiliations suffered by Iranian women—the burqas, being relegated to second class citizenry—her cry for freedom cannot be silenced and will obliterate both the physical and societal barriers in her way to equality. We must stand with the Iranian people in their struggle against tyranny, just as France stood with us in our fight for freedom. President Obama's reserved and calm demeanor is unacceptable at this time. He has to shed his poker face, grow a pair, and condemn these elections for what they really are: a sham which is an insult to the democratic process. More than that, he must begin to apply real pressure on the Iraninas. That means boycotting Iranian oil, which makes up for eighty-five percent of the regime's annual revenue and suspending his diplomatic initiative with the Iranians until they correct their behavior. Money talks, bullshit walks.