The Short, Bright Tea-Time of Iran
“Hundreds of thousands” of Iranians rallied against the US this weekend in Tehran. The mob was reportedly all stirred up about President Bush’s inclusion of Iran in the Axes of Evil.
It just ain’t so.
First, inciting a mob is one of the easiest things for a dictatorship to do. People know they’re being watched, and act accordingly. Also, protesting is kinda fun. Ask anyone born from 1946 to around 1955. You get to dress down and carry sign and chant slogans. And there’s some great comradery. Also, you get to prove your street creds to young women, who might be willing to show some horizontal appreciation for your dedication to the cause.
Second, compare these semi-state-planned riots to the spontaneous ones in Iran last year. You remember — the pro-American, pro-Freedom, pro-let’s-get-rid-of-the-Mullahs. A real riot doesn’t start with a time broadcast on the official TV station. Here’s the telling line from the AP report: “State television reported that millions of people took part in similar rallies staged in all major cities.” [Italics mine] “Staged” is right, people.
The guys with the army and dank prisons announce there’s going to be a riot downtown at three. You’d rather sit in front of the tube and watch pirated American movies, but your neighbor is a pretty pious sort, and you’re worried he might mention to one of those scary government guys your lack of enthusiasm. So you go and wave your arms and shout and have some fun.
Want to start a real riot in Iran? Announce that months of secret preparations are complete, and we’ll be supporting the armed democratic opposition working out of Pakistan and Turkey. The theocrats will have their backs against the wall by lunchtime.
Say, is Ceaucescu a verb yet?