Saturday, June 20, 2009

the spectre of operation ajax

"But hear this: that which is difficult
preserves democracy; you pay respect
to the intelligence of the citizen.
Basics are not condescension. Some
tyrants make great patrons. Let us observe
this and pass on. Certain directives
parody at your own risk. Tread lightly
with personal dignity and public image.
Safeguard the image of the common man."

geoffrey hill

at present, there was no other way this was going to go, really no other way it could go. it's how china dealt w/it. it's how most hard-assed regimes deal w/protest. that doesn't mean things won't change or that this isn't the handwriting on the wall. however folks feel about china, that country was fundamentally changed by tiananmen for the better & those guys don't really cotton to change much.

regardless of what some talking heads were saying, this isn't about america in the least & never has been. it is about the future of iran for & by the people of iran. i'm not talking democracy here or, at least american democracy. the protests are de-stabilizing an economy that was already in shambles. they've made clear the lack of public support of the public face(ahmadinejad)of the government. they've exposed several fissures within the clerical ruling order. it's possible, i suppose, for the powers that be to stabilize this shaky situation but it seems like the damage has been done. a tottering state is a dangerous state but it's also an inefficient one. it's open for change.

it's absolutely true that the cia overthrew the democratically elected president in a coup d'etat in 1953(codename: operation ajax) & installed the shah. most americans don't remember that but most iranians do. what americans remember are the hostages which were pretty much a direct result of the coup. i think there is still a percentage of iranians who view america as "the great satan" but that percentage is rapidly shrinking. that kind of rhetoric & attitude just isn't seen as productive in the global scheme of things anymore. a shift occurred in america that produced the results of last november's election & opened the way for huge & fundamental changes(god knows if we'll actually get them). tiananmen indicated a shift. i think what's happening in iran is another kind of shift. i think that's what these protests today(now aimed directly against the real rulers of the country) actually signify. it's impossible for an outsider to even guess at the changes that might come from this but the fact remains that a change has come to iran today.

"For it must be cried out, at a time when some have the audacity to neo-evangelise in the name of the ideal of a liberal democracy that has finally realised itself as the ideal of human history: never have violence, inequality, exclusion, famine, and thus economic oppression affected as many human beings in the history of the earth and of humanity. Instead of singing the advent of the ideal of liberal democracy and of the capitalist market in the euphoria of the end of history, instead of celebrating the ‘end of ideologies’ and the end of the great emancipatory discourses, let us never neglect this obvious macroscopic fact, made up of innumerable singular sites of suffering: no degree of progress allows one to ignore that never before, in absolute figures, have so many men, women and children been subjugated, starved or exterminated on the earth." jacques derrida---spectres of marx

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