Wednesday, 24 June 2009

symbol of rebellion

i did a little spot on radio nz's the panel this afternoon (right at the end of the clip). it was regarding a discussion about the killing of neda soltani during the recent protests in iran. her dying moments were caught on camera and put on youtube, and have now been viewed by millions around the world.

i'm not going to link to the clip here, i couldn't bear to watch it myself. i agree with rosemary mcleod's comments that there is something inherently wrong in putting a video of someone's death into the public sphere in this way. there was no question of her consent having been obtained, and there is no doubt that this video is being used as a political tool.

which is not to say that people should remain ignorant of the effects of violence and the suppression of political dissent. and in a way, the current spotlight on the protests has changed the narrative around the iranian people. many in the west are now beginning to identify with them, to see the humanity and the commonalities. they are becoming less and less the evil "other".

in that regard, the reports filed by jason jones on the daily show have been pretty amazing. i've been watching the last two nights as he has gone into an iranian home to do an interview, and he has interviewed iranians who have subesequently been detained by the current regime. while he has generally behaved like an ass, which he usually does, he shows us that these are just people like us but involved in an extremely difficult struggle.

i don't see any great outcome for iran at present. i hope the country doesn't fall into civil war. i have no great faith in mr mousavi, who even mr obama thinks is not too much different from mr ahmedinejad (and the evidence appears to support that view). if he plans to make substantial reforms, he will be behaving quite differently to when he was last in office, and i find it hard to believe that he's offering more than just words.

and when he uses the phrase "an alms-based economy", it reminds of national party rhetoric about working for families turning people into beneficiaries. it's so typical of right-wing arguments against any kind of state support for the less well-off, and is just a sham excuse for for inaction on poverty.

on the other hand, there is no doubt that reform is required in iran in many areas. the response of the current regime to the recent protests is appalling. the fact is that they are floundering and don't know how to deal with the situation, so have fallen back on suppression.

and neda soltani got caught in the crossfire. i admire her courage in standing up for what she believed, in a particularly dangerous situation. if there is any silver lining to be gained from her death, it's that she has managed to narrow the gap between east and west. she has ensured that we no longer remain indifferent to th plight of the iranian people. may she rest in peace. inna lillahe wa inna ilaihi raji'oon.

No comments: