Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Put your head down on the desk.

From a scrubbed post at the dish:

"Look what I started!—

From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered- We few, we happy few, we band of brothers bloggers"

The man desperately needs a nap.

It isn’t about the excellent and relentless job Sullivan has done to make this ongoing story known. To me, it isn’t even about superficial showings of global solidarity. To me, it is about Andrew’s total immersion in the story beginning to blur his reality between Cape Cod and Tehran. As much as he keeps re-iterating that this isn’t about us, he sure is using the pronoun “WE” an awful lot.

As a writer, an aggregator, and an opinion-shaper, he seems to be conflating his ground-breaking coverage of the event with the actual events, which are ground-breaking. And as he delves into reciting poetry and bending his ‘Know Hope’ branding to play as captions underneath truly moving photography, the feedback loop of the energy of the movement igniting Sully’s raw enthusiasm grows and edges toward Delusions of Grandeur territory.

And I’m saying this, not as one of his detractors. I’m a huge fan of his blog and his writing. The guy needs a few hours on the hot seat of a dunk tank, for his own good. He's relentless and works his ass off, but that doesn't mean he's incapable of being wrong, or too caught up in the story.

Case in Point, he quotes NIAC from today:

Until it’s clear what the fate of the new elections are, we will chant “Allah Akbar” three times every night – once at 10:00, 11:00, and midnight.

I wonder if Hitchens will have to qualify his assertion that religion poisons everything

I want the Green Revolution to be successful. However, even given the occurrence of one of the best-case scenarios, for instance perhaps one of the dissenting Ayatollah's stepping into power as a new Supreme Leader with the blessing of the people and the military, Iran will still be known as the Islamic Republic of Iran. A Theocracy is still a theocracy, whether or not they have Web 2.0, CNN, and the new Terminator movie. Is it possible for any secular advocates to promote a separation of Mosque and State in Iran? If not now, will it, could it be possible after a successful Green Revolution? Is it likely that a reformist Ayatollah appointed to Supreme Leader would rescind the fatwa ordering the murder of writer Salman Rushdie for apostasy?

I think Islam in this instance is more of a communal tool that can be used by the protesters to show solidarity and retain the populist sentiment of the 1979 Revolution as a reflection of the actual will of the people. However, I don't think Hitch's claim needs any footnotes or an asterisk. The issues are separate. A reformed Iran might be more free than in its current state, but true freedom is bolstered by and is recognizable as open and secularized democracy. Authoritarianism, whether that takes the form of a "benevolent" dictator, monarchy, or priestly hierarchy will never cede power or influence on an even battlefield of ideas, and will continually resist Enlightenment values of free speech, free press, and free religion. However good the change in Iran may be, Mousawi is not Jefferson, Madison, Adams, or Washington.

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