Roger L. Simon

Iran demonstrations escalate - Obama absent as usual

It’s not a secret to readers of this site that I am not a fan of Barack Obama. I have not been since I learned he remained in the pews of the Reverend Wrights’ church for twenty years. But even more disturbing than that for me has been his Iran policy, which can described as somewhere between dysfunctional and reactionary. In the face of the incredibly brave freedom demonstrators – who, almost on a daily basis, put themselves at risk of beatings and death – we have from our president nothing but silence. Does the man have blood in his veins? This is real “hope,” yet he ignores it. Of course, the freedom fighters themselves have noticed, chanting in the streets “Obama, Obama, are you with us or are you with them?” Good question.

Now the action has escalated to the point that even the New York Times itself has noticed: “Iran’s broadest and most violent protest in months spilled over into a second day on Tuesday, as bloody clashes broke out on university campuses between students chanting antigovernment slogans and the police and Basij militia members.”

Michael Ledeen, as always, has more, including a violent confrontation between the Basij and the wife of reform leader Mousavi. But worth noting from the NYT coverage is the following: “Monday’s protests marked a striking escalation in direct attacks on the country’s theocratic foundation and not just on the June presidential elections, which the opposition has attacked as fraudulent. Protesters burned pictures of Ayatollah Khamenei, and even the father of the 1979 revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. They held up flags from which the “Allah” emblem, added after the revolution, had been removed.”

Separation of church and state – now there’s an interesting idea. Barack Obama, please take note. The curious lack of response in general from the liberal side of our political equation to events in Iran is yet another example of how liberals and conservatives in our culture have had the ideological equivalent of a sex change operation, especially as it regards matters of despotism vs. democracy.

Meanwhile, if you want to stay updated on matters in Iran, as we all should, I would direct you to PJTV correspondent Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi’s Planet Iran. I will be on PJTV with Banafsheh discussing recent events in the country on Wednesday, but for now check out her site. It has many videos from Monday’s demonstrations – not to mention continued frustration on the part of the demonstrators with, you guessed it, Barack Obama.