Archive for the ‘Ahmadinejad’ tag
Iran, headed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is planning to charge five people in connection with recent protests against the government with, no joke, warring against God. Eight people were killed Dec. 27 on the day of ritual Shi’ite mourning in protests against the established leadership led by supporters of Mirhossein Mousavi. Make no mistake. Iran is a theocracy in which Khomeini regularly leads the country in prayer in talks with his populace, which are commonly dubbed, not speeches, but sermons.
Now, suppose this was the case in America. Many folks these days think the United States either is, or should be, a Christian nation. Indeed, Sam Harris wrote a book called, “Letter to a Christian Nation,” with this thought in mind. Of course, Harris knows that America isn’t literally a Christian nation because that would mean it’s a theocracy, but he was working from the assumption that most people in this country profess some form of Christianity. In fact, that number is at about 76 percent, as of 2008. Here’s some stats on the topic.
What would this mean for America to actually and literally be a “Christian nation?” We would first have to define what that would mean. Would we mean that the country was led by a majority of evangelical, biblical-literalist Christian lawmakers? Or that the president was an evangelical and only some of the legislature was evangelical? Or that the president and lawmakers were mixed in their respective religions, but the general populace consisted of a majority of evangelical Christians?
I do and always have taken this to mean that, like Iran, a complimentary example of a theocracy, that the president himself would have to be an evangelical, and that government bodies, from the U.S. Congress, down to state and local bodies, would conduct their business under the auspices of the dominant religion. So, literally, I take it to mean a state governed and regulated by a religion. A certain segment of our population seems to think our country was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs. Here is what James Dobson had to say in an April 15, 2009 interview with Sean Hannity on America as a Christian nation:
HANNITY: Dr. Dobson, the president said, as we all know, that America is not a Christian nation. Every other president had suggested we were. Our founders and framers suggested we were. What did you think when you heard that, and how would you answer him and tell him otherwise?
DOBSON: Well, Sean, it would — I would really like to hear the question asked and answered in a different way. Whether or not we’re a Christian nation is not the issue. The issue is did we have Christian roots and has that influenced, the Judeo-Christian value system, influenced our law, our constitution, and our way of life. And it has, and he implied that there was a kind of theological equivalence between Christianity and all the other religions of the world on that issue, and that’s not true. The United States has been from the beginning greatly influenced and primarily influenced by the Judeo-Christian system of values. And that is still accurate.
Of course, folks always have to add the “Judeo” part because to say simply “Christian beliefs” would be wrong in every degree, and they know it. Adding the Judeo part makes it more general and, in part, accurate, but not much more. The evangelical brand of Christianity that we see today, in part, began with the moral majority camp, which got its start in the late 1970s. The Founders, and I can probably say this until I’m blue in the face, were not evangelicals at all, but most of them were deists, which meant they did not believe in a personal god. They believed in a god who set the world in motion and did not interfere in human affairs. This would rule out both Jesus and Yahweh, both of which intervened in human affairs.
Sure, many Christians lived here early in our history and immigrated to escape the Church of England and other tough circumstances, but our documents are, at their core, secular. Obama, in the above reference, was speaking of the current population of America, which consists of Christians, Muslims, Jews, non-believers and many others. Article XI of the Treaty of Tripoli said that the U.S. “is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” The following was enacted under one of them, and one of my favorites, President John Adams:
The 1796 treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was “in no sense founded on the Christian religion.” … This was not an idle statement, meant to satisfy muslims– they believed it and meant it. This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams.
Thus, to think that this is a Christian nation, in the most literal sense, is false. To believe that this should be a Christian nation subjugates every person, believing or not, in this country and creates a timorous and dictatorial atmosphere, the extreme of which we can observe in Iran on a daily basis, where “warring against God” is not merely a moral indictment, but a legal one.
And that would be a dangerous leap to make.
As I was walking on the stairmaster, or whatever mechanism it was, I tuned into C-SPAN to catch Ayatullah al-Khamenei’s speech, or sermon, if you will, before supporters at Tehran University. As I watched grown men weaping at what he was saying, I could not helped but be gripped by the silliness of their rabbit little minds. Witness the foolishness here:
Khamenei, of course, was responding to the recent criticism of the election process of incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who, the state government said, won the unprecedented 80-percent turnout election. Mir Hossein Moussavi was the opposition leader, and he and his supporters have claimed the election was rigged. And they probably were, but that seems beside the point at this juncture. If you thought Ahmadinejad was loonier than Bugs Bunny on PCP — evidenced alone by his speech last year at Columbia University — al-Khamenei is Elmer Fudd on crack.
He actually said Iran was the “flightbearer of defending humanity,” who was supporting ”oppressed people” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine (with no mention of Israel, except in derogatory terms). He repeatedly referred to the Zionist nation (Israel) in antagonist language. So, Iran is the flightbearer of humanity, except with regard to countries who’s policies (or religions) he disagrees with.
The culminating statement of al-Khamenei in my view was: ”We (Irananians) do not need any advise on human rights.”
Really? Are you sure? Really?? Really???
Some sectors of society – including ethnic minorities – continue to face widespread discrimination, while the situation for other groups – notably some religious minorities – has significantly worsened under the current President.
Those seen as dissenting from stated or unstated official policies face severe restrictions on their rights to freedom of belief, expression, association and assembly. Women continue to face discrimination – both in law and practice. Impunity for human rights abuses is widespread.
In the last three months alone, Amnesty International has received reports of waves of arbitrary arrests and harassment, directed particularly against members of Iran’s religious and ethnic minority communities, students, trade unionists and women’s rights activists.
Amnesty International is aware of the apparent arbitrary arrest of, or other repressive measures taken against, over 220 individuals. Many of those arrested, if not all, are at risk of torture or other ill treatment. Other individuals arrested before this period have been sentenced to death.
In addition, several newspapers have been closed down, and access to internet sites has been restricted, including some relating to human rights or operated by international broadcasters. These measures may in part be intended to stifle debate and to silence critics of the authorities in advance of the forthcoming presidential election in June 2009. — http://www.amnesty.org, Feb. 2009.
Near the end of his speech, al-Khamenei struck a personal tone, to audible cries (literal wheeping) from his supporters:
“I have my own life. I have a handicapped body, and I have a little good name, but I owe that to you. I put this all on the line, and I’m ready to sacrifice all I have for the cause of this revolution and the establishment. I’m offering it all to you. We want you, we beseech you to pray for us (for) everything in this country. The revolution belongs to you. This establishment is yours. You are our supporters. We’ll continue the path with force, with full force. We ask you to support us with your prayers all along the way.”
Folks throughout were chanting that they were prepared to give their lives for their leader’s cause. (Cry us a river.) He’s not even clear on what a revolution is. Mousavi being elected, after an oppressive rule since 1979, would have been a revolution. Not the same authority of the incumbent.
Mousavi would have been the better choice, and heck, he probably won, but in a backward land like Iran, there’s no way to, either track results, or enforce malfeasants, even if there were illegitimate votes. And of al-Khamenei, the entire country (and much of the Middle East) is soaked in a kind of religious bath in which they are continuously purged from the realities of the modern world or logic. If you look, media outlets described al-Khamenei’s presentation as a sermon, rather than a speech, and that’s probably right judging from the crowd’s ceremonious, sacrimoneous chants throughout the display. Until this region and others purge their reliance on religion (and it is an insistence that Allah is the right god to be followed), we as a world will continue to draw our fists at each other. After all, what is a more persuasive motivator than even country or nativism? Religion. And too much of it, based on false and intra-contradictory documents is still floating about by insipid, brain dead people.
As protests continued late this week, this street-level videographer was close to the action, where Mousavi supporters were throwing rocks and other objects at the state militia. I’ll leave it someone else to explain the irony of the fellow’s gesture at the end of this video, right before (or after) he tossed a rock toward the police. The point is, the protesters wanted peace and a less dictatorial president by seeming to elect Mousavi over Ahmadinejad. Unless you speak Farsi, you probably won’t understand much at this Iranian protest this blog site, but he has included interesting videos and pictures. Also, here’s some various information and photos gathered from Iranians by The New York Times.
As riots embroiled the streets of Iran today, after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claimed he had won a landslide victory over challenger and more moderate (Read: Not as crazy), Mir Hussein Moussavi, one can only think back to another election that had many within and without of the country crying foul. That is, the election last year in Zimbabwe, where challenger Morgan Tsvangirai, whom I feel was at least more genuinely trying to turn his country around, decidedly won the election, but was then apparently ramrodded at the polls by the Robert Mugabe crew. As the article at the last link mentions, Mugabe hasn’t enjoyed a majority of the people’s support in Zimbabwe since 2000, and I would wager, longer than that. But, he like any dictator who simply will not die, he always finds a way to win to maintain his own relevancy.
Mugabe controls the state newspaper, The Herald. He apparently controls the polls. And now, he controls the challenger who, by all counts, beat him at the polls. Tsvangirai is now the country’s prime minister, and we can only hope, Tsvangirai is biding his time so that, eventually, when the house of cards collapses around Mugabe’s inflated ego, Tsvangirai will be able to get the country on a path to, for God’s sake, stability such as that it can support it’s own people.
Truth be told, Mugabe — and it will be a bright day when he’s dead and gone — has done about as much to cripple a nation as one man possibly can.
After 28 years, Mr Mugabe has left his country broken and bleeding. Inflation is running at 165,000 per cent. Eighty per cent of Zimbabweans are unemployed. A country that was once a major food exporter is close to starvation. — The Telegraph, London, March 31, 2008
Now, that’s a track record of which one can be proud! I’d say “close to starvation” is probably an understatement. Already, men with mouths to feed in their villages are forced to go South Africa to live to find work with hopes of sending money back home. Sound familiar in light of the daily sacrifices Hispanic men make to risk death and imprisonment to come to America in attempts to find work to send back home to the wife and kids? Imagine traveling thousands of miles away, with no guarantee of seeing your family ever again, just for the chance to be able to send a trifling amount back to them in some resource-deprived country where the home government is basically burying its own people. This next quote sounds almost precisely what happens here in America to Hispanics seeking work:
Zimbabwean immigrants working in South Africa are calling on the government of Jacob Zuma to protect them against abuse by unscrupulous employers. They claim business operators are taking advantage of their desperation. The Zimbabweans believe many firms are exploiting foreigners in their attempt to survive the global credit crunch. — VOANews.com, Johannesburg, South Africa, June 5, 2009
So, Tsvangirai has made a recent, admirable push to re-establish the rule of law and freedom of the press in Zimbabwe, efforts which were quelled by Mugabe. A recent New York Times article reported Tsvangirai saying:
“There’s more need to move from humanitarian to recovery support for the government. The government needs resources to fulfill its obligations.”
But as long as Mugabe is ultimately in power, other countries will not be as willing to help. The New York Times article brought to light the fact that this puts Tsvangirai in a tight spot. Is he for or against Mugabe? Well, as I said, I think he’s clearly against him and wants serious reforms in the government but is biding his time. Meanwhile, he has at least gotten his foot in the door. In the meantime, he has made personal sacrifices in doing so. He has been beaten, jailed and generally persecuted in the past for his opposition to the administration’s iron-fist rule. He has endured the loss of his wife of 30 years and the death of his 4-year-old grandson, who drowned in a swimming pool. And he still carries on. And that, to me, says something of the measure of the man. As quoted in The Times:
“He’s clearly seen as a savior,” said Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe. “And the deaths of his wife and grandson have raised his profile as someone who can endure suffering and still try to assist those he serves.”
Thus, Tsvangirai has two things going for him: He’s seen as something of a progressive leader who seems to want the best for his countrymen, and that Mugabe is 85 years old and is well on his way to eternal disgrace in the everafter. We can only hope, for the millions in Zimbabwe, that Tsvangirai can endure long enough to see the final decay of Mugabe, for whom, violins will be strummed by no one.