Thursday, February 10, 2011

Iran, Dissent, and Threats to National Security

Like I've said before, stuff involving people isn't simple. Not as a rule, anyway.

Take good guys and bad guys for example.

It's 'obvious' in some circles that the good guys are forward-looking visionaries dedicated to improving the lot of the masses - whether they want it or not. And the bad guys are, what else? The American empire and the military-industrial complex and the Marines. Yes: I'm over-simplifying. A little.

It's equally 'obvious' in other circles that the good guys are fine, upstanding 'real' Americans with good, honest American names like Smith and Jones and Robertson: who stand for motherhood, apple pie, and good 'Christian' values like women not holding jobs. For that lot, the 'bad guys' are those foreigners who look, talk, and dress funny and don't have 'real' American names - - - another oversimplification.

I've been over this before:
Here's some news from Iran. I don't think much of the Ayatollah's government: but I'll get back to that after the excerpt.
"Iranian authorities have blocked reformist websites and detained several opposition supporters and activists, opposition website Saham News reported Thursday.

"The arrests come days after Iran's two leading opposition figures called for a rally next Monday in support of the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East.

"Iranian authorities on Wednesday warned against any attempt by the opposition movement to hold the rally, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

" 'We definitely see them as enemies of the revolution and spies, and we will confront them with force,' Revolutionary Guard Cmdr. Hossein Hamedani told IRNA.

"Opposition leaders and former presidential candidates Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdhi Karrubi requested permission to hold the rally earlier this week, according to Saham News, Karrubi's website.

"It was unclear whether the government has denied the request...."
(CNN (February 10, 2011))
I don't think 'detaining' folks who don't agree with the government - and say so - is a good idea.

I don't think it's a good idea when it's done in Iran. Or anywhere else.

I don't think America's leaders are immune from the temptation to equate dissent with treason. America has even locked citizens up for not looking like 'real' Americans. Happily, this country also learns from mistakes. (October 2, 2010)

I'm personally interested in freedom of speech - and the rights of minorities - because I'm an American citizen - and a member of a religious minority. It's all too easy, I think, for folks who grew up in a country's dominant culture to assume that anyone who isn't like them - is the enemy:
Despite what some folks seem to think, as a practicing Catholic, I have to be a good citizen. It's one of the rules. Specifically:
"It is the duty of citizens to work with civil authority for building up society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2255)
(Cited and discussed by me in A Catholic Citizen in America (September 24, 2008))
I am of the opinion, though, that there's a huge difference between working with the establishment, "for building up society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom" - and blindly supporting everything some government executive says.

Which is, in my opinion, where Egypt's permanent president and Iran's Ayatollahs are going wrong.

And where, with just a little nudge, America could go wrong.

I'll get back to that.

next, something from the United Kingdom about Saudi Arabia, America, and giving orders. Sort of.

More of today's posts:
Related posts:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Happily, perhaps? "Happy, this country also"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...

Brigid,

Right you are. Fixed it!

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Blogroll

Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.