February 03, 2005

What is tyranny, after all?

Posted by Daryoush

I think the new emphasis of Bush on his plans, in his State of the Union, reveals that we are facing someone with daft policies who is determined to change the world as he wishes. The empty promises of freedom and end of tyranny may seem very much appealing to those who have always been deprived of their civil liberties. But is that all? What is this tyranny that Bush is talking about? To what extent have the Americans themselves contributed to the continuation of these tyrannies around the world? We have a dilemma and double problem here.

On the one hand, we do not wish the neo-cons with their aggressive and arrogant attitudes to govern the fates of the peoples of the world. Anyone who has some knowledge about the process of the development of democracy and its principles would realize that this attitude is a threat to civil society everywhere, including the United States. Bush is apparently calling himself committed to advancing freedom in the world. But, first of all, what gives him this right to consider himself the representative of the people of the world? Was the American democracy set up by force of military intervention of another country? What makes him think that he is ethically and legally authorized to do this, else than the fact that he has power? Unlimited and unbridled power has blinded the eyes of wisdom in the Unites States. Moreover, this corruption of power is overcoming all the ideals of that democracy. It is a cancer developing right under our nose.

On the other hand, when it comes to Iran, we have multiple problems. It is true that we do not have the kind of freedom we expect from a democratic civil society and the people of Iran have shown that they are more than willing to witness a non-violent power sharing democracy governing in Iran. However, the hardliners cherish the idea of war (after so many years, Bush and the Iranian hardliners have found something in common!). It will, no doubt, make a hero of all of them as people who are defending the nation and its territories. I think it is really futile to speak of the illegitimacy of either Bush?s claims or the hardliners? propaganda. Invasion of a territorial state is clearly a violation of international laws. The American arrogance and intoxication of power does not seem to allow them to think wisely and realize that they can never ever eradicate tyranny like this. It would merely give way to the birth of a new tyranny under a different guise. The nature of that tyranny never changes. Instead of challenging faces and forms, the real debate and the gravest combat lies in transforming a system from within and this is what the American people have failed to do: for more than four years they have failed to convince the neo-cons that their policies is a threat to world peace. Strikingly, what happens in Iran is no more threatening than what happens in the US. We have a silent majority who do not speak up and allow their rulers to wage war in their name. Yet, the situation of Iranian people is far better than that of the Americans. Iranian people, those who are indeed concerned about their freedom, neither appreciate the hollow conceited remarks of Bush, nor do they consent to terrorism of any sort, be it American or fundamentalist approaches to Islam.

Let the people of Iran decide and speak for themselves. Do not speak on our behalf. We have tongues ourselves and we do have all the means to express what we think, even in Iran. And this goes for both sides: the Bush administration and the Iranian hardliners who have hijacked political power. Let democracy and freedom flourish the way they should. The ethos of democracy is alien to the rule of a monolithic, dogmatic and ambitious pursuit of power.

Let us just for a few minutes consider, in horror, that the American invade Iran to change the regime (the same regime that they know very little about). What happens next? Have we ever thought about that? Let us even forget, that in best calculations, a lot of civilian people will be murdered (not killed, murdered) and a lot of our infrastructures will be destroyed. Let us forget about all the damages. Let us all the same assume that the Americans will, with their own money, rebuild what they have destroyed for changing the regime (everyone knows that they will never do so; they will never rebuild my demolished house). Who will be their alternative for ruling Iran? Suppose they allow us to choose whoever we wish. How can we find those people? Would it be too difficult to envisage that they will only consent of the election of those they wish themselves? Does it seem too hazy in the future horizon that they will set up a different Council of Guardians who will, nonetheless, be ignoring our wish? Can somebody answer these questions before they think of simply getting rid of the present regime?

Even if we put aside all our sympathies, as Iranians, for our nation and even for the revolution, what are the alternatives? Any alternative would turn out to be gruesome and daunting. There is no future in a democracy at gunpoint. Beware! O Americans and Iranians! The hawk of a devastating war can be flying above your heads. You rulers! Prove to the world that you are worth having. Don?t fail your own families at least!

Related materials:
Bush's second-term 'call to arms'
Bush's 2004 State of the Union
Full text of Bush's 2005 State of the Union
United States and Europe Differ Over Strategy on Iran
Reflections on the State of the Union (Hoder)
The new problem of democracy:
interview with Professor John Keane (University of Westminster):
Part 1 & Part 2.

February 3, 2005 12:11 PM