Monday, June 15, 2009

Bermuda Triangle of Democracy

After the elections in Iran and the declaration of Ahmadinejad as winner, Tehran and surrounding areas erupted with violence. Protesters chanting, "Where are our votes?" were beaten and arrested. One hundred government officials resigned in protest. Ahmadinejad's opponent, Mousavi, disappeared on his way to see the real power in Iran, Khameini. All the while Ahmadinejad smiled and posed for the cameras as he declared himself the winner, the once and still president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, while highlighting the "free and healthy elections". Doesn't sound so free or so healthy and the people obviously don't agree with him.

What happened on Friday and over the weekend in Iran is a mockery of the democratic process, but not a big surprise. The people have been lulled into believing a fantasy, that a free and healthy democratic process is possible and their votes matter. As long as Iran is governed by Khameini and his band of Basiji thugs, this is what the Iranian people can expect, more puppets like Ahmadinejad spouting religious platitudes and fiery speeches about the destiny of a nuclear Iran that will result in a prosperous and economically stable country rivaling the great superpowers. Iran is just one more Bermuda Triangle of Freedom.

In a country where they have to import refined petroleum products because their own refineries have neither the capacity nor the expertise to refine their own crude oil and their best and brightest citizens take the first opening to run for freedom in the West, it's hard to see Iran as anything near to a superpower. Iran's oil wealth has gone to finance terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas in an effort to destabilize the rest of the Arab world and destroy Israel instead of into a flagging and crumbling economy. Had the leaders of Iran been serious about freedom and the democratic process, they would have elected someone whose main focus wasn't in destroying Israel, terrorism and building a nuclear arsenal to hold the rest of the world hostage. Iran would not have to loan money to couples who cannot afford the cost of an apartment in a concrete block building for their marriage ceremonies and Iranians would have a better standard of living with low cost petroleum products and electricity, if such had been the real goal.

My Gram always said the proof was in the pudding and the proof of the governing authorities in Iran is evident with the continuing riots over the weekend.

It's easy to point to people lining up at the polls and 85% of the registered voters participating as proof of the democratic process, but the proof is not in the queues or the number of people that turn out; the proof is in the results of an orderly transition of power or the smooth return to business as usual in the event of the re-election of an incumbent.

When voters are beat up or terrorized at polling places or their votes miraculously disappearing in known strongholds of the opposition, something is definitely wrong with the process. When the media caters to the approved favorite who spends most of his time playing to the crowds and mugging for the camera without one single piece of concrete evidence of his fitness for the position or his ability to make good on his campaign promises, the scent of lies is like the smell of shrimp beginning to rot in the curtain rods. It's faint but grows stronger with each passing day, an undefinable stench that begins to permeate everything. Fiery and stirring rhetoric inflames the emotions, but is a poor substitute for results in a flagging economy where truth is a vanishing commodity.

As the religion of persecution and the cult of the personality grow, it becomes a festering wound on the soul of a nation that poisons the whole system, but it is a fraud, a bit of prestidigitation to hide the real truth that freedom is diseased, slowly and subtly eroding like creeping leprosy until people wake up to find it gone. They wonder how it happened and when, but it was right there all the time, spreading its subtle influence like an expanding Bermuda Triangle engulfing sense and reason in lies and showmanship, stage dressing and sound bytes until truth lies in ruins or little more than a faintly remembered dream.

Ahmadinejad's "victory" is but the visibly flagrant symbol of an inward state of rot and while the world's attention is focused on him, the real danger in goes unnoticed and unchecked. Beware the Bermuda Triangle coming to a country near you.

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