Friday, June 26, 2009

Arab activists and Iran

A guest post by JS:

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the demonstrations in Iran, particularly after the infamous video of Neda being killed by Iranian Revolutionary Guards (you can see a video here, but please be advised it is graphic and disturbing).

An article today on MSNBC is a must read, in my opinion. The article focuses on other democracy movements in the Arab world, in particular in Egypt, and asks the question I've had on my mind ever since the Iranian demonstrations started: What causes some people to rise up and what causes others to be complacent?

The article offers some theories from actual activists, many of whom have been beaten, jailed, and made to suffer countless times:

1) Lack of courage;
2) No support from other countries (particularly the US);
3) Stronger, more organized, more devious police force;
4) People are used to a dictatorship;
5) Limited number of social elites who care about politics; and
6) Cultural and religious reasons.

I'm curious what people think about the article and what is going on in Iran. Why do revolutions occur? What causes some people to rise up? Why do other people remain under the thumb of oppression and/or dictatorships for so long? What was the special ingredient(s) that led to a successful democratic revolution in this country?

Under what circumstances would you be willing to give up everything and demonstrate?

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1 comment:

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