As democratic forces mobilize in response to the suspicions resulting from the recent Iranian presidential election, they are meeting repression from a government that is fueled by the twin forces of paranoia and theocracy.
The Iranian government is paranoid not because they are crazy, but because many remember the U.S. and British supported coup that led to the installment of the dictatorship of the Shah in 1953, and also more recent support for the Iraqis (during the time of Saddam Hussein, btw) when both countries lost nearly a million people during what came to be called 'The War of the Cities', in the '80's.
And although the corporate media has pronounced the notion 'loony' that the U.S. has supported the anti-government protests, in truth the U.S. has supported anti-government terrorism against Iran, chiefly via CIA funding and support for the Baluchis, an Iranian national minority group which comprises some 2% of the population, and which seeks independence.
Those ways of thinking informs their view of the broader, democratic movement, which may reflect the sentiments, not so much of an Iranian ethnic minority, but of Iran's youth - a percentage approaching half of the country's population.
The second force, theocracy, is the very foundation of the government, which is seen in the formal name of the country: Islamic Republic of Iran.
That feature, the rule of the clerics, makes all internal conflicts both religious and political, and therein lies the danger.
As Europe has shown for hundreds of years, few wars are more brutal than religious wars. For centuries, the Catholic Church waged wars against unbelief, against innovation, against women, and through the Crusades, against Islam. And although the church won many battles, it lost many wars, such as the war against science, where it sent the astronomer, Galileo, to prison for contending that the earth revolved around the sun -- not the reverse.
Let us not act as if we've not seen this before, when theocracies tortured bodies, brutalized people, in the name of faith. Have we not seen democracies do the same, in furtherance of the faith in profit -- as the U.S. in Iraq?
Iranians must decide the form their government will take: not the U.S., nor the British.
The Iranian people will decide whether the ungodly repression they face will stall them, or spur them on to demand more than the change of faces at the top.
(c) 8/16/09 Mumia Abu-Jamal