Oppressed people don’t have to prove their bravery and the authenticity of their cause to their patronizers

I finished reading the article of Edward S. Herman and David

Peterson {Chutzpah, Inc.: "The Brave People of Iran" (versus the

Disappeared People of Palestine, Honduras, Afghanistan, Etc.),

MRZine, 26.02.10}. It’s getting painful and insulting to see some

commentators still hanging on to these poll results taken by

someone from the US who calls people in Iran and asks them if

Ahmadinejad is their legitimate president, for which candidate

did they vote, and for whom they would vote in a hypothetical

election. Let’s put aside the fact that a high percentage of

people refuse to answer to these polls, for instance 52% refused

to answer to the WPO poll conducted between Aug. 27 and Sept. 10,

2009 . How do those who swear by these polls want to explain

their trust in them considering that people in Iran censor

themselves in their daily communications, fearing that they are

being watched by the intelligence agents, never mind when asked

about their political views on a phone conversation with someone

they don’t know? How do the poll believers want to explain the

presence of thousands of security forces in the streets,

thousands of people in the prisons and hundreds killed, all of

which contradict the results of their conducted polls?


Anyone who followed the news during the 2009 Iran’s election

knows, for instance, that the number of announced votes for

Mohsen Rezaei had decreased from 1AM to 3AM; apparently those in

charge had forgotten to engineer some number of voided votes, and

frantically had to make this correction. The whole fabrication

was executed in a very naive way.  For instance, the Keyhan

newspaper (the propagandist of Khamenei-Ahmadinejad), before the

announcement of the results, already had its front page headline

that Ahmadinejad has won by 60%.  Even before learning about all

this, we knew that something terrible was going to happen since a

day before the election the SMS text message service was

disconnected, thousands of security forces were already occupying

the streets, and many people including some of those who were

active in the campaign of Karoubi and Mousavi started getting

arrested. How do poll believers discredit all the first hand

experiences of the citizens of a country and blindly accept to

the result of some “Western” conducted polls? Isn’t that

distrusting the common sense of the people? Now who would

represent the people of Iran and can talk on behalf of them: the

“Western” conducted polls, Edward S. Herman and David Peterson,

or the thousands of imprisoned ordinary citizens, journalists,

activists, unionists, The Mourning Mothers, etc.?


These poll obsessed guys are totally missing the point. No one in

Iran is talking about that damn election anymore. People are

traumatized and radicalized by the atrocities, blood in the

streets, secretive detention centers, prison rape, torture and

widespread imprisonment of people from different socio-political

backgrounds. Even if Edward S.  Herman and David Peterson could

somehow prove the election was sound, what do they want to do

with thousands of workers unemployed because of neoliberal

economic policies of Ahmadinejad? What do they want to do with

hundreds of mothers mourning for their innocent murdered kids?

Their answer is that the number of killed people in post election

of Iran is less than the number of children killed in the 2009

invasion of Gaza by Israel. Isn’t this argument similar to

Zionists saying that the number of Jewish killed in concentration

camps is much more than Palestinians so their cause is more

important than the Palestinians’?  It is also reminiscent of

those who tried to justify the US invasion of Iraq by arguing

that Saddam kills more people than would be killed in a US

invasion. I was once personally told by a Zionist that more

people are killed in car accidents in Iran than Palestinians are

killed by Israel, so it’s better for me to not exaggerate the

committed atrocities by Israel and show support for better

driving standards in my home country Iran.


It’s a shame that some commentators are reducing human lives and

experiences to numbers. First they obsess with the polls and now

with the number of the people killed — as if more people must be

killed before the cause becomes legitimate. Let’s honor the

voices of the Iranian people who dare to stand up to the domestic

tyranny while opposing war and sanctions, rather than trying to

justify the atrocities committed by a government against its own

citizens.  Edward S. Herman and David Peterson deny the

revolutionary and reformist struggles in Iran of the last two

hundred years. While Iranians in the streets of Iran are reliving

their and their ancestors’ experiences (the Constitutional

Revolution, the struggle for Nationalization of Oil, the 1979

revolution, the reform movement, etc.,) Edward S. Herman and

David Peterson would deny a nation its rich resistance

history. These writers claim that what we observe in Iran’s

streets is learned by the protesters, in their view “Western

puppets,” from the “education” programs conducted for Iranians by

the warmongers and imperialist states around the globe. Thus

Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, like colonizers, dismiss the

the political history of a nation to defend their agenda. As

Hamid Dabashi has said "This is a civil rights movement some two

hundred years in the making, whose course and contours will be

determined inside Iran and by Iranians. No Iranian could care

less what people in halls of power in the United States think of

their uprising, unless and until they start harming it."(White

moderates and greens, Al-Ahram, 21 – 27 January 2010 )


Any military force that wants to attack Iran first tries to

demonize, disempower and patronize the Iranian people to

legitimize its cause.  Edward S. Herman and David Peterson by

dismissing the anti-dictatorial movement in Iran as just another

regime change project backed by the West, and questioning the

motivations and braveness of the protesters, also engage in

disempowering the Iranian people. Portraying the anti-dictatorial

movement in Iran as being backed by the Euro-American powers

makes the statement that Iranian people are incapable of bringing

any meaningful movement against oppression in their country.

Edward S. Herman and David Peterson portray Iranian people as

unable to produce any struggle for socio-political justice

independent of Western power, and believe that the people should

therefore submit to the government of Iran and its domestic human

rights violations.  Imperialist powers propagandize that Iranian

people can not produce any struggle for socio-political justice

without Western intervention, and that the Iranian government is

dangerous for the safety of the world so people and all the

activists should accept an invasion of the country. Thus the

“anti-imperialists” (represented by Mr. Herman and Peterson), and

the imperialists both disempower and patronize the Iranian

people; the former believes the people should submit to the

domestic violence of the government while the latter would

subject the people to bombs, destruction, and poverty inducing

economic sanctions.  Both fates strip people of their dignity,

bringing nothing but destruction and human suffering.


In the view of Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, Iranian

protesters are “Western” puppets and Iranian government have

little power over domestic issues. No one can dismiss the huge

negative effect of the economic sanctions and the threats of wars

against Iranian people, but it’s naive to think that a government

that relies on being in an international crisis to handle its

domestic shortcomings has no responsibility for the

dissatisfaction of its people. The economic sanctions and the

threats of war are wrong policies causing great human suffering

in Iran, but they cannot justify the fact that bus drivers were

denied an independent union, the imprisonment of Mansoor Osanloo

and many other workers, the imprisonment of women’s rights

activists and journalists, and the killing of the peaceful

protesters.  In the view of Edward S. Herman and David Peterson,

either the government of Iran or the people have no power

whatsoever to make changes in their own country unless backed or

caused by the “Western” powers.


It might be surprising for Edward S. Herman and David Peterson to

know that the Iranian protesters have no interest in economic

hardships, disappearance of bread and butter from their tables

and frequent airplane crashes caused by the sanctions. It might

be surprising for them to know that the Iranian protesters have

no interest in the possible bombing of themselves and their

homes. It might also be surprising for Edward S. Herman and David

Peterson to know that no Zionist or warmonger asks for the

Iranian protesters’ permission to publish any letter in support

of harsher sanctions in NYTimes or similar news agencies. Iranian

people in the anti-dictatorial movement have no access to those

who write or talk on their behalf in the Euro-American media

including Edward S. Herman and David Peterson themselves. In an

analogous situation, the Palestinian people cannot choose who

talks on their behalf, and thus figures such as Saddam Hussein

have appropriated Palestinian’s cause without moral

qualification. One cannot dismiss Palestinian’s struggle because

of those who seek to benefit themselves by advocating

Palestinian’s rights. The same is correct for the Iranian

anti-dictatorial movement.  


The people have chosen to rely on their own power and struggle for justice, 

instead of submitting to either domestic adversaries or foreign invaders.




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