Monday, June 29, 2009

Iran and Honduras: people in rebellion

'We have finally learned
to fight'
Michael Petrou, Maclean's: According to Payam Akhavan, a professor of international law at McGill University, the 'seismic shift' that has occurred is not the power struggles within Iran's political establishment, but the fact that the Iranian people have so forcefully demanded change. 'However much there may be factional politcs,... underneath them the ground is crumbling. In a country like Iran, with its demographics, with its socio-economic level of development, you cannot simply rule through intimidation and terror. You need to have legitimacy.'

By apparently rigging an already flawed election, by shutting down freedom of expression and by suppressing the media, by blocking email and cellphone communication, and by unleashing club-wielding goons against its own peacefully demonstrating citizens, the Islamic Republic has lost much of the limited legitimacy it once possessed. Millions of Iranians are unwilling to accept this. 'For years, I would say that I didn't have hope for my people and that they would never move like they did in 1979, said Mastaneh, the 23-year-old beauty salon worker in Tehran. 'But I was proven wrong. We have finally learned to fight.'

Al Giordano, The Field: Here's some interesting video from early this morning when military troops took the national palace and passersby in the street began to realize a coup was in progress. You don't need to understand Spanish (and through much of the footage, the audio is too low to hear anyway) to grasp the courage of the photographers and rank-and-file citizens denouncing the troops to their faces. In one scene, a woman beats on every soldier that passes her on their way into the presidential palace. In another, people walk right up to military tanks and surround them.

I'm struck by the similarities in the streets of Honduras to images we've seen this month from the streets of Iran... What I see is the same human phenomenon in both places: people in rebellion, yearning to breathe free against authoritarian and illegitimate regimes.
Image source here.