Don’t Go Easy on Ahmedinejad
March 6, 2007
Just because Bush is warming up to bomb Iran doesn’t mean we should go easy on Ahmedinejad.
The guy’s a rightwing creep.
He denies the Holocaust, he threatens to destroy Israel, he executes gay teenagers, he cracks down on labor unions, he purges universities of liberal intellectuals, he closes down newspapers, he throws the book at bloggers, he imprisons student activists, and he prosecutes women who demonstrate for their rights.
On Sunday, Iranian authorities arrested thirty-three women at a peaceful demonstration in Tehran. Among the thirty-three were the five women who are facing trial for organizing a women’s rights rally last June, which the police broke up with pepper spray and billy clubs.
The thirty-three women were reportedly taken to a prison notorious for torture.
So let’s not glamorize Ahmedinejad just because he spouts anti-imperial rhetoric. (And while we’re at it, let’s also be wary when Hugo Chavez embraces Ahmedinejad; that should give us at least some pause about the Venezuelan leader, as well.)
“We should not allow Washington’s rhetoric to have a silencing effect on us. To do so is to let Bush and the neocons do our thinking for us. We should express solidarity with our Iranian comrades regardless of the Empire’s pronouncements,” as Danny Postel points out in “Reading ‘Legitimation Crisis’ in Tehran.” Postel points out that “denunciations of U.S. Empire in Iran today are the rhetorical dominion of the Right, not the Left. It is the reactionary clergy, not the students, who wield the idiom of anti-imperialism.”
This is not to say that the courageous voices of democracy, feminism, and liberalism in Iran want Bush to bomb. They absolutely do not. They understand that such an action would cause great suffering to innocent Iranians, and they know full well that the leaders of Iran would use such an attack as an excuse to crack down even further on the dissident, democratic movement in Iran.
As we oppose Bush’s plan to bomb Iran, we should do so not because we support Ahmedinejad but because we oppose Bush’s lawlessness and we oppose militarism, and because we support the democratic, feminist, and human rights activists who would be even worse off under such an attack.
We shouldn’t fall into the crude trap of thinking that Bush’s enemy is our friend.