Dictator Loses Face In Iran;
CSN supports civilians
A public statement of
the China Support Network
- June 21, 2009 -
The 2009 crisis in Iran has been compared with Tiananmen Square, the occasion 20 years ago when China's dictatorship responded violently to civilian protests with a military crackdown that killed over 3,000 people.
Of course, these two events are not the same and there are comparisons and contrasts that may be drawn. But at a deep level, the two occasions are both stories of civilian masses of ordinary people encountering "state violence," armed and bloody suppression that violates basic precepts of freedom and fundamental human rights.
This statement is written from the China Support Network, where the ostensible scope of our organization is to support the Chinese civilians against the Chinese dictators. However, we are a part of the international human rights community, and we are not blind to the suffering of others. For example, in 2005 the dictatorship in Uzbekistan opened fire and slaughtered civilians in the Andijon massacre. That was on May 13, 2005.
On June 3, 2005, for the 16th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, the CSN speech was titled, "There is no future in being a dictator!"
Most of the speech denounced the Chinese dictatorship, but Uzbekistan was mentioned so that in 2005, CSN said: "The publics of China and Uzbekistan could rightly be angry at the authorities in those countries; the authorities have been mass murderers of innocent civilians." Now in 2009, the publics of China, Uzbekistan, and Iran could rightly be angry at the authorities in those countries.
The statement in 2005 said, "As the Tiananmen community, we should extend our sympathies and heartfelt condolences, where we can relate to the victims, and the population that is being violated in government atrocities. We know just what those civilians are going through. Enough is enough of regime aid for Uzbekistan! --By that, I mean that the Western establishment should cut off Uzbekistan."
Today in 2009, as the Tiananmen community, we should extend sympathy and condolence once again. Regrettably, Iran 2009 has joined a list that includes Uzbekistan 2005 and China 1989. The China Support Network can underscore that "no, it is not acceptable to slaughter unarmed civilians at a lawful protest. That applies no matter what country is in question, and what year is on the calendar."
In this case, Iran's "supreme" dictator, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, overplayed his hand. The role of a final arbiter ought to be to "settle the argument" when disputes arise. Khamenei was swept into the drama of Iran by taking sides in the present dispute too early -- he helped to start the argument. He can no longer be looked upon as neutral or impartial; he is clearly one side of the power struggle that is now dividing Iran. And now, there is no remaining final arbiter to settle the argument.
There is a loss of face entailed for Khamenei. At the Friday prayers of June 19, 2009, he drew a line in the sand and personally forbade demonstrations on Saturday. On Saturday, demonstrators defied that order and went to the streets in protest. Some number of people were killed by security personnel who attempted to enforce Khamenei's premeditated crackdown. Violence may still be underway as this statement is prepared on Sunday, June 21, 2009. Hence, the death toll may still be rising.
The China Support Network applauds the bravery of the Iranian civilians and notes that Iranian government has devolved to a Fascist Islamic Mafia. It may be said that civilians crossed a line by demonstrating on Saturday, but when bloodshed starts from a violent government crackdown, that too is crossing a line. The lines are crossed sufficiently that the China Support Network rejects and denounces both the violence and its perpetrator, the less-than-democratic Iranian government.
It is time to stand in solidarity with the civilian population of Iran, and with Iranian dissidents in an Iranian democracy movement. We must hope for the improvement of conditions there and for the emergence of self-government in an Iran that respects freedom, democracy, and human rights. In the future, we may include Iranian dissidents in our human rights rallies. (They are already venues that sometimes see Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongols, Vietnamese, Burmese, and Laotians on the program.) It is time to expand our human rights efforts for all oppressed peoples.