Persian New Year's Partiers Defy Mullahs; Media Snoozes
The Iranian people stood firm, often clashing with the security forces. In Tehran, protesters were seen burning pictures of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic; Ayatollah Khamenei, the current supreme leader; and President Ahmadinejad. One unverified report said the regime deployed 5,000 personnel in response.
In Kermanshah, approximately 500 people were arrested by security forces who were met with chants of "death to the clerical rule." In Bandar Abbas, the words "long live freedom" were spray-painted on the ground. The regime's actions were met with heavy resistance, with some reports of homemade explosives being thrown at the attacking forces. In a strong testament to the power of a determined people, security personnel were even forced to retreat in Karaj, Tehran, Astara, and other cities. Throughout Iran, the chants of slogans like "death to dictatorship" were commonplace, with each chant shaking the very ground the regime stands on.
The Iranian people are fighting for a voice and are searching for people in the West to make sure their struggle is not in vain. The fact that such reports, photos, and videos are being sent to me, a 22-year-old writer who spends far too much time jamming on Guitar Hero, reflects the sad reality of American inattention to those fighting for our principles in places where we are unwilling to do so.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has praised the videotaped message sent to the mullahs, saying, "President Obama's outreach to the people of Iran marks a new beginning on the first day of this new season. We must all work together to define our relationship not by our differences, as the president has said, but by what we share in common."
With this press release, Speaker Pelosi has failed to see this message for what it is: a message to the Iranian leadership, not to the Iranian people. Their problems went unmentioned, their struggle went unacknowledged, and their fight for freedom is being disregarded as the U.S. seeks to strike a deal with the mullahs with the naive belief that they will somehow treat us better than they treat their own people. The Iranian people will not view this message as one of respect, but as one of betrayal.
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