Let Freedom Ring

I know people who define themselves as Persian, and people who define themselves as Iranian. I am fascinated by their culture, and have a dim understanding of its complicated role in Europe's history. We have mostly been opposed, but civilisation links us.

Today, as for the past year, the Iranian people are attempting to establish a sphere of freedom. These things cannot be imposed by bombs or outside pressure. It is one of my prejudices that a country saves itself when its own secure their freedom, and fight for it.

So I'm thinking of the demonstrations in Teheran today. I understand that class matters in these things. We tend to sympathise with those who are like us, and in their conservatism and discontent with student revolutionaries, I would be more likely in a different world to be one of the police in Teheran in 2009 than a demonstrator, unless education and luck had freed me. I understand the wish to bash a hippie.

However, I would hope that I'd understand, somehow, that I was trapped and that the order that I had to uphold was ill, sick even. I'd hope that I'd understand that the call those young people were making for freedom shouldn't be crushed, and that talking was better than fighting. The real face of a regime that can only menace is depicted in the picture in this blog. The hope that Iranians have for freedom, for all of us, is depicted in the video below.

War usually gets one nowhere. Sometimes they have to be fought, sometimes threatened. I often wonder what would have happened if NATO and the Germans had had the spine to put a few missiles in the ground and shoot a few leaders before the fall of Srebrenica, for instance. Revolutions, like the freedom of most of Ireland that my grandfather's generation helped win, are almost never won peacefully.

I know that I have Iranian readers, so I wanted to write that I don't think that we can defeat each other. I don't think that we, the west, should be actively trying to make war on you, but as long as you menace Israelis specifically and everyone else generally and fund homicidal oppressors like Hamas and the Sudanese jihadis and appear to be building the worst weapon in the world, those who might reach out to you can't.

The existence of your madmen gives ours an excuse to plot a war.

We have common interests, and common enemies of civilisation, on your eastern borders. They bomb and hijack you too.

I think that we could grow immensely from trade. I think that the people on the streets should be listened to, if you still can. You are part of an old and ancient and deeply civilised country. Your freedom will not be like ours and you can learn from our multiple mistakes. Why should liberty be a Christian monopoly, though?

You should do as much as you can to let freedom ring.