Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Iranian Opinions and Palestinian Similarities

Terror Free Tomorrow conducted a survey of the Iranian people that’s fairly balanced, and determined that the vast majority of the Iranian people want free elections, interaction with the West, and improvements in the economy over the present religiously based government, seclusion from the rest of the world, and massive investments in a nuclear program that appears to be geared towards building weapons of mass destruction.

Guess what, there’s no surprise here!

Yes, for some time various leaders have been disputing such claims because there was no empirical support for these claims. But most people have known for some time that the actions of the Iranian government support the Iranian government, and do little if anything for the Iranian people.

Ahmadinejad’s recent activities, both in the public forum and with regards to their nuclear program, have crippled the Iranian economy and crushed the living conditions of most Iranians, but have pushed Iran into the position of being a world power. Interaction with the West and international trade could greatly improve conditions for the average Iranian, but increasing sanctions against the country prevent that from occurring.

I experienced a similar phenomenon while living in Israel, where I came into contact with many West Bank Palestinians. Most were sick of the constant fighting between the Israelis and Palestinians, and were willing to trade Jerusalem for an autonomous state and a chance to live a peaceful life with hope for their future and hope for the next generation of Palestinians. Only the government benefited from the fighting between the two people.

When Mahmoud Abbas came into power, I was hopeful for peace between Israel and Palestine. Abbas is an average, perhaps above average, citizen, and his wants greatly reflect the wants of the average Palestinian. His agenda included a push for peace, and he was willing to make concessions to build a free state of Palestine. The cease fire he brokered in his first month of office was a direct indication of Abbas’ agenda.

In many ways, the election of Hamas was a direct result of Israel’s treatment of the Abbas government. Israel took Abbas’ stance as a sign of weakness, and decided to clean up various terrorist cells in Gaza, forcing Abbas to speak out against the attacks. His inability to enforce the cease fire weakened Abbas’ role, allowing Hamas to run its election on a platform of being a strong negotiator with Israel.

Certainly, events have shown that Abbas represented Israel’s best chance at peace with the Palestinians, and that since the election of Hamas, that opportunity has passed Israel by. Many Israelis long for the opportunity again.

In both Palestine and Iran, the government (Hamas and Ahmadinejad, respectively) represents the interests of a small minority of the populace, and a fanatical minority at that. Each government did win an election, and both won the election on the platform of being the best advocate for their respective populations.

Both of these governments are militant, forceful, and vocal. Both capture international media attention, and both are also willing to work behind the scenes to accomplish their goals. Both are willing to employ terrorism or any other method that will improve their country’s position in the world order.

But neither government truly represents the will of the people of their country. Neither is really an advocate for a better day to day life for their citizens. Both governments are willing to sacrifice any number of people to achieve their political agendas. And such lack of caring for their respective citizens makes each government extremely dangerous.

Of course, the biggest threat today is coming from Iran, where their nuclear program and the massive amount of oil produced there create a clear and present danger for the entire world. But in reality, both countries are dangerous, because any government that cares more about power or status than they do about their own people is a danger to everyone around them.

Thus, our goal is obvious; to help the people of these countries find their voice without determining for them who is in power. If these people can find their voices on their own, and take control of their own destiny, the world would quickly become a safer place for all its inhabitants.

Posted by Scottage at 2:59 PM / | |