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[P]
Is Iran on the cusp?

By graal in News
Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 05:39:32 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

University students in Iran have been engaged in widespread protests over the recent death sentence of a popular liberal history teacher. The lecturer, Hashem Aghajari, delivered a speech in August calling for some reforms of Shiite Islam and telling people not to 'blindly follow' religious leaders.

He was arrested, found guilty of insulting the Prophet Mohammed, and was creatively sentenced to (in order) 74 lashes, 8 years in prison and finally, death by hanging.

The ruling clerics may have backed themselves into a serious corner, though.


To wit, a recent report from CNN Asia:

"They (conservatives) are in a no-win situation. If they execute him, he will become a martyr and it could prove a catalyst for public unrest," said Ali Ansari, lecturer in Middle East history at Durham University, England.

"If they don't execute him, which is the most likely option, they open themselves up for question on a whole range of issues. Either way, this could be a pivotal moment."

The supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameni, has already made veiled references to taking matters into his own hands if a political solution to the demonstrations cannot be found:

"The best action is to use legal channels, but if the three branches of power some day fail or do not want to resolve bigger problems, the leadership (supreme leader) will call the popular forces into the arena in order to tackle the problems," he told a gathering of top officials that included President Khatami, parliament speaker Mehdi Karrubi and judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.

Although Khamenei did not elaborate on what he meant by "popular forces," the term has usually been used to refer to the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij militia and other hard-line militants, all constitutionally under his control.

(UPI report, 11/12/2002)

Why are the protests so significant? The Islamic Republic of Iran has a constitution that can be read at a variety of online sources. Citizens are guaranteed a variety of inviolable rights. Section 3, 'The Rights of the People' is worth reading, in particular, the sections dealing with freedom of speech, assembly and belief. But remember that Iran is a theocratic republic.

Legislative power is vested in the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis), with 270 members. The chief executive is the president, and both are elected by universal adult suffrage for a four-year term. A 12-member Council of Guardians, led by the country's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, officially ensures that legislation is in accordance with the constitution and Islamic precepts, but in reality enjoys extensive powers and influence over all aspects of policy. Iran is divided into 26 provinces; each has an appointed governor. (my emphasis)
World Travel Guide

So while the citizens have been electing reformist representatives, the clerics who wield the real power have been reticent to let go. For many of the college students, the Islamic Revolution was ten years old when they were born. It's the only world they've ever known. President Khatami's attempts to enact social reforms are meeting roadblocks over which he's threatening to resign, and the people are getting a little fed up.

For his part, Aghajari, a wounded veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, has implored the students to stay calm, according to IRNA, the official Iranian news agency. Several members of the Iranian parliament have resigned over the sentence, and the students have vowed to continue their demonstrations.

With much of the world presently focused on Iraq, it might bear noting that some far more interesting events are taking place to the east. A lecturer's speech may prove to be the catalyst to the second Iranian revolution of our lifetime.

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Is Iran on the cusp? | 213 comments (191 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
a link to more news stories (4.90 / 11) (#13)
by Arthur Treacher on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 04:02:47 PM EST

This page has links to a lot news stories about current events in Iran.

"Henry Ford is more or less history" - Bunk
What do I think? (2.22 / 54) (#18)
by jmzero on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 04:22:41 PM EST

These students are NO better than the Americans - trying to impose their fantasy culture of freedom everywhere.  Even if they share the goal of THE so-called majority - IT'S still just imperialism writ large and in different ink.  They could destabilize the region and their actions will just inflame the real HARDLINERS and they're still not addressing the root causes of their problems.  

Every time they oppose hardline Islamic rule, they're JUST creating more hardline Islamic rulers.  If they really want to end their own oppression, THEY should get a UN resolution condemning themselves and then wait for the inspectors to come in and DO THEIR JOB.  But all they see is oil and dollars.

.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife

i regret (3.50 / 4) (#23)
by scatbubba on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 05:09:48 PM EST

that i have but one vote to give...

[ Parent ]
Liberalism. (3.57 / 7) (#24)
by Korimyr the Rat on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 05:12:03 PM EST

 Yes, let us remember that freedom only ever comes from outside sources, and that if you try to improve the conditions in your country, things will only get worse.

 As a matter of fact, let's take a bold stand against people standing up for basic human rights and the academic freedom that drives civilized society.

</sarcasm>

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

are you sure... (2.00 / 2) (#28)
by grahamtastic42 on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 05:52:55 PM EST

your whole comment is regarding the students. how can these students "impose their fantasy culture of freedom everywhere." unless everywhere is just Iran. Also it seems as though though their elected government is more reasonable and thus the power should be more balanced. Finnally who is the they in your last sentence refering to, the students or the U.N. inspectors. if its the inspectors i could see your argument but i don't think it holds true for the students.

[ Parent ]
What? (3.66 / 3) (#126)
by jmzero on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:15:40 AM EST

How could you not see that my post was just a sarcastic mess?  "They should get a UN resolution condemning themselves"?  Yes, that is the real position I hold.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
sometimes (5.00 / 3) (#142)
by Arthur Treacher on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:06:30 PM EST

it's hard to tell the biting sarcasm from the rank stupidity here.

"Henry Ford is more or less history" - Bunk
[ Parent ]
Nice troll. (1.50 / 2) (#33)
by Shren on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 06:17:33 PM EST

Or, if you're not a troll, explain the ideology you hold in a bit more detail.

[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure he was being sarcastic... [NT] (3.00 / 2) (#98)
by MTremodian on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:40:27 AM EST


...speed overcomes the fear of death.
[ Parent ]
yep (4.33 / 3) (#104)
by pantagruel on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 04:23:30 AM EST

had to read it through a second time, the metaphor was a little cloudy. Basically he parodied arguments he considers emblematic of arguments used against U.S calls for freedom in the region and applied them to the students. It was hard to see at first because of the relational disparity of the students and the U.S vis-a-vis Iran and other Middle Eastern countries.

Perhaps there is a rule; poorly executed sarcasm equates to trolling? Or could there be an aesthetic relation between the two when considered at the extremes, in the same way that the picaresque seems to edge into satire, and fantasy into horror.



[ Parent ]
Sort of what I was going for... (3.33 / 3) (#127)
by jmzero on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:18:31 AM EST

I wasn't really going for analogy - I was just trolling using phrases and thoughts from other debates.

Sometimes there's a point to trolling, though.  In this case, it was to demonstrate that no point of view is so wacky or incoherent that it won't pass (at least to some) as actual rhetoric.  It's an illustration of how low the bar has been set.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

okay (none / 0) (#211)
by pantagruel on Wed Nov 20, 2002 at 09:21:31 AM EST

this was why I thought it somewhat analogically weak and why I was almost taken in at first. There was enough noise created from the method of choosing phrases and thoughts from other debates that it became difficult to tell what exactly was going on, was it a poorly thought out actual system of belief or rhetorical device, or was it a poorly thought out satire of such.

Perhaps it would be possible to write an A.L.I.C.E bot that trolled, in both senses of the word, through Kuro5hin. It would go through the site collecting phrases etc. related to themes, when an article matched some pre-selected criteria, for example subject matter, rating, it would troll that article at various posts in that article.

I wouldn't have thought of that, but I'm evil.



[ Parent ]
trollland uber alles! (2.50 / 6) (#74)
by turmeric on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 09:44:52 PM EST

we make k5! it sways and buckles at our command!

[ Parent ]
K5 does seem to be flooded with trolls lately (1.00 / 1) (#158)
by Shren on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:23:29 PM EST

Are you migrating from somewhere?

[ Parent ]
Refusing to Appeal (4.70 / 17) (#26)
by imrdkl on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 05:34:10 PM EST

This guy has some cast iron gonads. He refuses to appeal the sentence, and is essentially saying "I dare you", to the Mullahs. Can one man topple the pillars of justice in Iran? Probably not, but it seems he can set them to wobbling pretty good.

Heroism. (4.75 / 12) (#37)
by Korimyr the Rat on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 06:41:12 PM EST

Cattle die and kinsmen die,
thyself too soon must die,
but one thing never, I ween, will die, --
fair fame of one who has earned.

[Havamal, 75]

 If all were as brave as this man, I doubt that tyranny could take hold in any society, regardless of race, regardless of culture, and regardless of faith.

 With this stand, his name should be on the minds of all Iranians, and hopefully, on the lips of those who stand to take his place.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

Lack of effectiveness (2.42 / 7) (#133)
by uniball vision micro on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:05:20 AM EST

"If all were as brave as this man, I doubt that tyranny could take hold in any society, regardless of race, regardless of culture, and regardless
    of faith."

Yeah and I'm sure that all the Jews who told the Nazis to screw themselves really made any difference in their eventual fate? Get real

"With this stand, his name should be on the minds of all Iranians, and hopefully, on the lips of those who stand to take his place."

In some countries the government dosn't care. Take a look at Stallanist Russia what good did being "courageous" do then eh?
"So far as the record goes, no lover of drinking has yet gone out into the night and shot himself as a gesture of protest" Gilbert Seldes, The Future of Drinking 1930
[ Parent ]

Had history been different . . . (2.00 / 1) (#169)
by billman on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 07:27:34 PM EST

Had the Jews stood up to the Nazis and refused to go to the camps their fate may have been the same but they would have drawn attention to their situation much sooner and perhaps even drawn more international support to stop Hitler before things got as bad as they did.  

Despite some claims, if you talk to soliders who liberated the camps at the end of the war, most of the people in the towns surrounding the camps really didn't know what was happening.  How supportive would they have been if they knew millions of people were being butchered?  

I don't pretend to have the answer and it's quite possible that many would have shrugged and the course of events would not have been materially altered but given that we know the outcome of silently cooperating I, for one, would not go so peacefully.  

[ Parent ]

Governments (none / 0) (#201)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 11:06:48 AM EST

No government can rule an entire nation of people who are dead-set against it.

You mention Stalin-- let's look at the USSR some years later, when Gorbachev created some liberal reforms and tried to loosen the Politburo's iron grip. The military attempted a coup, to regain control, and was forced to back down-- by the people.

Governments can be brutal, callous creatures-- but even the most draconian of dictatorships knows that there is a point at which they must give way to the will of the people, or find themselves the absolute ruler of nothing more than their prison cell. Or coffin, more likely.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

Remind me of Socrates (4.00 / 3) (#75)
by 3x3eyes on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 10:05:03 PM EST

Did the Mullah's condemn him of corrupting the youth too? This guy know exactly what he is doing and he is willing to die for it. Wonder why great people need to be sacrafice, in order for change can occur..

[ Parent ]
Lack of necessity (2.50 / 2) (#134)
by uniball vision micro on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:08:16 AM EST

"Did the Mullah's condemn him of corrupting the youth too? This guy know exactly what he is doing and he is willing to die for it. Wonder why great people need to be sacrafice, in order for change can occur.. "

They don't it's just deluded people who think that they need to be martyrs. Can anyone who isn't a history buff name any of the wonderful "maytrs" who did anything say 1,000 years ago? These people don't last.
"So far as the record goes, no lover of drinking has yet gone out into the night and shot himself as a gesture of protest" Gilbert Seldes, The Future of Drinking 1930
[ Parent ]

Well (4.00 / 2) (#155)
by br284 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:08:32 PM EST

Christ could have been considered a martyr and he's pretty famous.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Joan of Arc? (none / 0) (#209)
by Cwis on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 11:45:40 AM EST

She was born in 1412 - not quite 1000 years ago, but most people have heard of her.

[ Parent ]
Foolishness (1.00 / 3) (#132)
by uniball vision micro on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:02:42 AM EST

"This guy has some cast iron gonads. He refuses to appeal the sentence, and is essentially saying "I dare you", to the Mullahs. Can one man topple the pillars of justice in Iran? Probably not, but it seems he can set them to wobbling pretty good." Of course he's a complete fool for not thinking more about his life. Not that I particularly like religious enforced laws but if people have big sticks then it makes up for it all.
"So far as the record goes, no lover of drinking has yet gone out into the night and shot himself as a gesture of protest" Gilbert Seldes, The Future of Drinking 1930
[ Parent ]
Death by what means? (4.40 / 5) (#27)
by pla on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 05:43:15 PM EST

I would consider it a near miracle if this guy survived 74 lashes, even *with* decent medical care immediately after (which I don't see as likely).

How does that Christian story go, Pilate stopped the lashings at 39 because they considered 40 more than any man could survive?

The 8 years and subsequent hanging seem like just an insult, basically, "Even if you live, you die".

So will he count as a martyr if he dies from the whipping, or only if they hang him in eight years?


Lashings (4.00 / 6) (#30)
by El Volio on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 06:07:20 PM EST

Actually, it was forbidden to the ancient Jews to give 40 lashes or more (for a reason similar to what you describe), so they often gave 39.

[ Parent ]
The story I was told.. (4.25 / 4) (#64)
by molo on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 08:44:48 PM EST

I was told that 40 lashings were the most that were allowed by law.  The punishment for giving someone more than 40 lashings was death.  To avoid any counting errors, the person doing the whipping would be sure to stop at 39, just in case.

-molo

--
Whenever you walk by a computer and see someone using pico, be kind. Pause for a second and remind yourself that: "There, but for the grace of God, go I." -- Harley Hahn
[ Parent ]

Correction: (none / 0) (#100)
by Anonymous Hiro on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 04:12:06 AM EST

Not supposed to give more than 40.

Deut 25:2
If the guilty man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall make him lie down and have him flogged in his presence with the number of lashes his crime deserves, 3 but he must not give him more than forty lashes. If he is flogged more than that, your brother will be degraded in your eyes.

http://bible.gospelcom.net/cgi-bin/bible?passage=DEUT+25&language=english&am p;version=NIV&showfn=on&showxref=on

[ Parent ]

Samuel Marsden (none / 0) (#167)
by cam on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:53:30 PM EST

it was forbidden to the ancient Jews to give 40 lashes or more

Samuel Marsden was a butcher chaplain in the penal colony of Sydney in the late 1700's and early 1800's. His nickname among the convicts was 'the flogging parson' he also had a hatred for catholic Irishmen of which about a fifth of the convict population were. Joseph Holt wrote about the flogging of two Irishmen, Maurice Fitzgerald and Paddy Galvin who were both sentenced to 300 lashes,

There was two floggers, Richard Rice and John Johnson the Hangman from Sydney. Rice was a left handed man and Johnson was right handed, so they each stood at each side, and I never saw two threshers in a barn move their strokes more handier than those two man killers did. .....

I was leeward to the floggers ... I was two perches from them. The flesh and skin blew in my face as it shook off the cats ( cat-o-nine-tails a whip with nine pieces of leather with knot at the end ). Fitzgeral dreceived his 300 lashes. Doctor Mason - I will never forget him - he used to go feel his pulse, and he smiled and said, "This man will tire you before he will fail - Go on." ......

Next man up was Paddy Galvin, a young boy of about 20 years of age. He was ordered to get 300 lashes. He got one hundred on the back, and you could see his backbone between his shoulder blades. Then the doctor ordered him to get another 100 on the bottom. He got it and then his haunches were in such a jelly that the Doctor ordered him to be flogged on the calves of the legs. He got one hundred there and as a much of a whimper he never gave.

Australia's penal history isnt too pleasant. The cat-o-nine-tails is a particularly nasty punishment tool.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Lashes (none / 0) (#204)
by SolidGold on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 07:16:45 PM EST

The punishment of lashes is 39 lashes, but it was reduced if it was estimated that the person who would receive them would not be able to handle it, and for some other reasons.

[ Parent ]
Death by Bula Bula! (1.00 / 1) (#144)
by jforan on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:31:47 PM EST


I hops to be barley workin'.
[ Parent ]
Attn: America bashers (4.00 / 29) (#29)
by lb008d on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 06:05:37 PM EST

I'd like to say that it's stories like these that make me glad to live in a country like the US. Sure, I can criticise my country and its government with the best of them, but reading news like this makes me step back and realize just how good we have it here.

And, all moral and cultural relativism aside, any country that would execute someone (hell even arrest them) for critical speech is fucked up.

I will now prepare to be downrated :-)

"Kuro5hin: politics and pretension, from the $3,000 leather recliners on the hill overlooking the trenches."DarkZero

Attn flag wavers (3.80 / 20) (#32)
by rantweasel on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 06:14:29 PM EST

I don't mean to run the country down or anything, but are you aware that there have been a number of cases where people were arrested for trying to make their views heard by govt officials in the US?  This Tampa Tribune story is the most recent I've heard.  Of course, the really interesting part is that in Iran, there are students protesting and the reformist govt is making a stink, while in the US, suppression of free speech is being ignored.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Good link (4.16 / 6) (#35)
by lb008d on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 06:21:30 PM EST

However, there is a difference between misdemeanor charges and execution.

I agree they should have been let in no matter what. Sounds like a bunch of thug cops looking to pick on some hippies.

"Kuro5hin: politics and pretension, from the $3,000 leather recliners on the hill overlooking the trenches."DarkZero
[ Parent ]

Oh, I agree completely (3.75 / 4) (#36)
by rantweasel on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 06:35:52 PM EST

A fine, or whatever it is that those Floridians end up with, is really not that big a deal relative to execution.  It's still screwed up, though.

I really want to see this turn out in favor of Khatami.  Every time he pops up in the news, he's doing something good.  He's been trying to slowly move power from the clerics to the reformist government since he was elected, and he's been making a little progress.  This situation looks like it has the potential to either push him (and the majority of Iranians) over the edge and allow him to make some huge leaps, or it could blow up in his face and Iran could move in a Taliban direction.  I think the US, rather than getting all "Axis of Evil" towards Iran, should be doing whatever possible to lend a hand to the protestors, the academics, and the secular government.  If Iran can reform their leadership from within, it makes it a little easier for the same thing to happen in every other theocracy (or partial theocracy).

mathias

[ Parent ]

Interesting Q for historians: (4.00 / 5) (#38)
by lb008d on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 06:41:50 PM EST

How many theocracies have changed into a secular form of government peacefully?

"Kuro5hin: politics and pretension, from the $3,000 leather recliners on the hill overlooking the trenches."DarkZero
[ Parent ]

Example: Turkey (4.50 / 4) (#48)
by strlen on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 07:33:10 PM EST

Turkey is one. Under Kamal Attaturk, they've become a secular state, and nowadays they're much more democratic than other countries in the region.

Iran's Shah Pahlavi also had a secular government, before being overthrown by the Ayatollah.. Pahalavi's dynasty critical mistake was lack of tolerance for dissent, and poor human rights record.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]

although (2.00 / 1) (#60)
by Arthur Treacher on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 08:33:37 PM EST

since the Justice and Development Party, which has Islamic roots, won control of parliament recently, there is some concern from secularists in the country who fear the party may try and carry out an Islamic agenda.  The party itself has said that it is conservative and supports secularism, and will not push an Islamic agenda on the country.

"Henry Ford is more or less history" - Bunk
[ Parent ]
Technically: Britain (4.00 / 2) (#62)
by Skywise on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 08:38:16 PM EST



[ Parent ]
The US shouldn't get involved (4.00 / 3) (#57)
by curien on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 08:23:00 PM EST

If the US really wants to do the "right thing", they'll stay the fuck away from internal Iranian politics. I'm sick and tired of my government jerking around with foreign internal politics.

--
Murder your babies. -- R Mutt
[ Parent ]
Offers of help, aid, etc (3.00 / 2) (#69)
by rantweasel on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 09:12:41 PM EST

I think that the US should be involved, but only as involved as the reformers want them to be.  Now is a great time to warm up US-Iran relations, and small steps like pointing out that the "Axis of Evil" comment applies strictly to the extremist clerics, and that the secular reformists are actually potential trading partners.  Or offering a meeting between Colin Powell and Kamal Kharrazi (the foreign minister).  Olive branch type stuff, burying the hatchet.  Hell, set up some soccer games for the respective national teams.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Not well thought out (5.00 / 2) (#71)
by curien on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 09:24:42 PM EST

I think that the US should... only as involved as the reformers want them to be.

That's great a great idea, but it's not very practical. Which reformers do we listen to? If President Khatami wants a certain level of involvement, the parliament wants a different level, and the student protesters want yet a third, to what extent do we get involved? And what if we do get involved, but we then expect quid pro quo (as we're wont to do)? What if the faction we supported doesn't win the power struggle? We'll be stuck with a government that's hostile to us (with good reason).

We're the most powerful nation on earth, like it or not. Part of the responsibility of power is knowing when not to use it. That's primarily why people are upset with us -- we haven't learned how to mind our own business.

--
Murder your babies. -- R Mutt
[ Parent ]

Actually (none / 0) (#116)
by wiredog on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 08:11:38 AM EST

I think Iran is an example of the US knowing when to butt out.

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]
re-read my post (3.00 / 1) (#156)
by rantweasel on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:14:05 PM EST

If the US offers olive branches to the secular govt, it's entirely up to them how far to respond.  The secular government is democratically elected, they represent the public interest as much as any other democratically elected government.  And again, I'm not talking about anything involved, just talking for now.  Making it clear that the US government does not belive that the secular govt. of Iran is evil.  I'm talking about things that would be handled entirely by the State Dept, be it by telegraph, telephone, whatnot.  Just conversations.  

mathias

[ Parent ]

Oh please! (4.23 / 13) (#40)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 07:01:04 PM EST

And people wonder why the leftists protest movements in the US get labeled as whiny and out-of-touch. Your attempt to draw parallels between someone who is condemned to death for the content of his speech and a handful of people who get misdemeanor tickets for trespassing (after engaging in an activity they were warned against in a venue that had every right to restrict the activities of attendees) is contemptible and demonstrates an appalling lack of perspective. Your outrage serves only to demonstrate your irrelevance.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
However.... (4.57 / 7) (#43)
by lb008d on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 07:15:50 PM EST

I'll take what the article says on it's word.
  1. The location was in a public facility. Had it been private, I'd say they could kick out whomever they wanted.
  2. It appears that people weren't admitted who were carrying signs. Ok, it is the prez talking and there may be some security reason for this, but the fact that "wholesome" signs were handed out inside is fishy.
  3. This is just ugly: Williams was forced to leave the arena grounds because of some printouts critical of the governor found in her pocket.
Now, like I said, there is a world of difference between this and what's happening in Iran.  I'll even call on our good friend Occam and attribute the arrests to paranoid presidential protection (though this quote ``They said, `You're not welcome here,' '' the 20-year-old USF junior said contradicts this).

The old saying of good enough is the enemy of better still applies here: our freedom of speech being considered "good enough" is keeping it from being better.

"Kuro5hin: politics and pretension, from the $3,000 leather recliners on the hill overlooking the trenches."DarkZero
[ Parent ]

Kent State (3.33 / 6) (#44)
by starheart on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 07:16:48 PM EST

I think way too many people forget Kent State where students(hmm, this sounds famaliar) were protesting and were gunned down by national guard(govenment). It wasn't just one person either. It was many people out of a crowd.

[ Parent ]
Does the term 'Bloody Sunday' mean anything? (3.00 / 2) (#51)
by Demiurge on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 07:57:13 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Bloody Sunday (4.50 / 2) (#86)
by winthrop on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:07:52 AM EST

According toWikipedia, Bloody Sunday can refer to any of at least five different massacres which occured on Sundays. :)

[ Parent ]
Kent State (4.00 / 3) (#53)
by wiredog on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 08:06:39 PM EST

4 students, 30 years ago. Shall we look at the numbers killed by the enlightened French in Algeria?

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]
Let's not. (4.66 / 3) (#85)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 11:52:40 PM EST

Then we would have to get into that whole icky debate over exactly how much human life is worth. Instead, can we not agree that both events were tragedies that should not have happened, under unfortunate policies that no civilized country should have pursued?
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Kent State (3.60 / 5) (#72)
by sigwinch on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 09:33:41 PM EST

Ah yes, Kent State, where "protesting" is spelled "throwing bricks at armed soldiers".

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

But does that excuse it? (3.20 / 5) (#84)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 11:44:34 PM EST

I would certainly hope not. As representatives (armed representatives, yes, but representatives nonetheless) of the US government, one would hope that they would have exercised a bit more restraint.

However, those soldiers were also human. Being human is being prone to make many, many mistakes. And Murphy being the bastard that he is, those mistakes usually happen when we least want them to.

Does the incident at Kent State mean that the US is a tyranny? No. But neither is it perfect, as it's an imperfect system populated and run by imperfect people. Even though the history of the US is littered with such tragic events, it does not mean that the US is some despotic nation that is seeking to oppress it's citizens.

I'm not a patriot but I love my country. And damn the America bashers that don't think that people here are trying, every day of their lives, to make it a better place to live.

Hmm. I just previewed that comment. Sigwinch, you can consider the rant portion of that above comment to not be directed towards you.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Yes. (3.50 / 4) (#94)
by Korimyr the Rat on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:01:02 AM EST

 People throwing rocks at soldiers with assault rifles deserve what they get.

 Not only is that a tragically stupid assessment of their situation, but a lucky throw with a rock can kill or cripple a man. Soldiers who are being pelted with stones are well within their rights to open fire.

 It's a right to free speech, not free assault.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

I'm just going to take the coward's way out... (none / 0) (#174)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:12:32 PM EST

...and say that we will agree to disagree, because I see no meaningful debate coming out of this without slinging mud at each other's ethical codes. I assume that you believe that killing in certain situations can be justified; I, on the other hand, believe that ALL killing is wrong. I will always be the first to admit that it's an illogical code of pacifism to follow in such a world, but I am a relentless optimist; I believe that there is always a "better way" (my love for gory slashers, John Woo movies and RE games, however, is inexplicable).

So instead, I will clarify my position a tad. I hold that the troopers should have known better than to openly fire into an unarmed civilian crowd, even if rocks were being thrown at them. They were trained soldiers, after all, and better crowd suppression techniques should have been utilized. However, I also understand that it was a tense and stressful situation, and as already stated, the soldiers were only human. And more likely than not, they were probably fairly inexperienced as well. Mistakes were to be expected. Let's call it a morally neutral situation for now. I know that they didn't fire out of maliciousness, or in blind support of the "evil empire," so to speak; only that they were ordinairy men caught in extraordinairy circumstances. But one must also admit that, in the face of four tragic and untimely deaths and the shadow that this particular event still casts over our liberties, that more ideal solutions not only existed, but should have been pursued.

To conclude, I can only say that the actions that those troopers took were "excusable," for lack of a better term, and I am not condemning them for taking those shots. However, I still consider their actions morally unjustifiable by my own particular moral standards, when better solutions could have possibly lead to no deaths at all.
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Check facts (none / 0) (#190)
by nroberts on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 06:07:55 PM EST

As I wasn't there and had never heard of the rock throwing I decided to check the internet. This is what I found:

http://www.spectacle.org/595/kent.html

Of particular interest:

Guardsmen--none of whom were later punished, civilly, administratively, or criminally-- admitted firing at specific unarmed targets; one man shot a demonstrator who was giving him the finger. The closest student shot was fully sixty feet away; all but one were more than 100 feet away; all but two were more than 200 feet away. One of the dead was 255 feet away; the rest were 300 to 400 feet away. The most distant student shot was more than 700 feet from the Guardsmen.

http://www.hrcr.org/ccr/canfora.html

As soon as Troop G reached the Pagoda at the top of the hill, they turned in unison and without warning, leveled their guns and started firing. I saw smoke and heard the shots before I thought to turn and run. It wasn't until Jimmie Riggs pulled me behind a parked car that it hit me that they were firing live ammunition. The car that shielded us was riddled with bullets. And bullets were ricocheting off of it. Glass from the windows was shattering over us. You could hear the bullets ripping at the grass beside us. Then there was this hideous silence of shock and disbelief that they had done this. When I came from behind the car, I saw Bill Schroeder lying on his back, three feet from me. He had crystal blue eyes. His eyes were open and he was looking up at a very blue sky. I knew he was dead. I looked over and saw a girl lying prone on the lawn of Prentice Hall. I leaned over, and it was Sandy Scheuer, whom I knew very well. And I saw Sandy was dead. Then I remembered where Alan had been standing, much closer than Sandy or Bill. It was at that moment that my friend came up and said, "Alan and Tom got hit."

http://weeklywire.com/ww/05-11-98/alibi_skeleton.html

Mary Hagan, a student who witnessed the shooting, said that after the shooting she heard students calling to national guardsmen for help but that the guardsmen refused.

(That site is text from one of the articles of the day. It has many quotes from officials, like nixon, relating the same sentiments as you but I believe later examination of the event shows a different story entirely.)

Here is a long one: http://www.cs.earlham.edu/~paulsjo/KentState.html/

<> At 11 a.m., about 200 students gathered on the Commons. Earlier that morning, state and local officials had met in Kent. Some officials had assumed that Gov. Rhodes had declared Martial Law to be in effect--but he had not. In fact, martial law was not officially declared until May 5. Nevertheless, the National Guard resolved to disperse any assembly.

As noon approached, the size of the crowd increased to 1,500. Some were merely spectators, while others had gathered specifically to protest the invasion of Cambodia and the continued presence of the National Guard on the campus. Upon orders of Ohio's Assistant Adjutant General Robert Canterbury, an army jeep was driven in front of the assembled students. The students were told by means of a bullhorn to disperse immediately. Students responded with jeers and chants. When the students refused to disperse, Gen. Canterbury ordered the guardsmen to disperse them. Approximately 116 men, equipped with loaded M-1 rifles and tear gas, formed a skirmish line towards the students. Aware of bayonet injuries of the previous evening, students immediately ran away from the attacking National Guardsmen. Retreating up Blanket Hill, some students lobbed tear gas canisters back at the advancing troops, and one straggler was attacked with clubs.

The Guard, after clearing the Commons, marched over the crest of the hill, firing tear gas and scattering the students into a wider area. The Guard then continued marching down the hill and onto a practice football field. For approximately 10 minutes, the guard stayed in this position. During this time, tear gas canisters were thrown back and forth from the Guard's position to a small group of students n the Prentice Hall parking lot, about 100 yards away. Some students responded to the guardsmen's attack by throwing stones. Guardsmen also threw stones at the students. But because of the distance, most stones from both parties fell far short of their targets. The vast majority of students, however, were spectators on the veranda of Taylor Hall. While on the practice field, several members of Troop G, which would within minutes fire the fatal volley, knelt and aimed their weapons at the students in the parking lot.

Gen. Canterbury concluded that the crowd had been dispersed and ordered the Guard to march back to the commons area. Some members of Troop G then huddled briefly. After reassembling on the field, the Guardsmen seemed to begin to retreat as they marched back up the hill, retracing their previous steps. Members of Troop G, while advancing up the hill, continued to glance back to the parking lot, where the most militant and vocal students were located. The students assumed the confrontation was over. Many students began to walk to their next classes. As the guard reached the crest of the Blanket Hill, near the Pagoda of Taylor Hall, about a dozen members of Troop G simultaneously turned around 180 degrees, aimed and fired their weapons into the crowd in the Prentice Hall parking lot. The 1975 civil trials proved that there was a verbal command to fire. A total of 67 shots were fired in 13 seconds. Four students: Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder were killed. Nine students were wounded: Joseph Lewis, John Cleary, Thomas Grace, Robbie Stamps, Donald Scott MacKenzie, Alan Canfora, Douglas Wrentmore, James Russell and Dean Kahler. Of the wounded, one was permanently paralyzed, and several were seriously maimed. All were full-time students.

And from the same text about the day before:

Students attempted to demonstrate that the curfew was unnecessary by peacefully marching towards the town, but were met by guardsmen. Students then staged a spontaneous sit-in at the intersection of East Main and Lincoln Streets and demanded that Mayor Satrom and KSU president Robert White speak with them about the Guard's presence on campus. Assured that this demand would be met, the crowd agreed to move from the street onto the front lawn of campus.

The guard then betrayed the students and announced that the curfew would go into effect immediately. Helicopters and tear gas were used to disperse the demonstrators. As the crowd attempted to escape, some were bayoneted and clubbed by guardsmen. Students were again pursued and prodded back to their dormitories. Tear gas innundated the campus, and helicopters with searchlights hovered overhead all night.

I think maybe those who were not there may want to think about looking into what happened before making comments like:

People throwing rocks at soldiers with assault rifles deserve what they get.
It is clear that there was a history of mutual hostility that was certainly increased by the use of bayonettes on escapees the day before. It is also clear that the troops where in NO PHISICAL DANGER at the time of the shooting and so there was absolutely no legitamacy for the use of deadly force. It is also rather clear that the instigators of violence where the officials and the National Guard - what started as a peaceful demonstration escelated to massive violence when the protestors found themselves in need of defending themselves from brutal beatings and possible slayings at the hands of the National Guard - I of course reffer to the use of clubs and bayonettes on a fleeing crowd.

NR

[ Parent ]

Photograph (none / 0) (#191)
by nroberts on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 06:18:04 PM EST

Here is a photo of the National Guard in fear of physical danger shortly before opening fire on the croud of students at Kent State University:

http://www.library.kent.edu/exhibits/4may95/box113/113exhibit31.html

I can see how they would be affraid, what with all those armed students getting so close to them and all...

For more photos, here is where I got that from:

http://www.library.kent.edu/exhibits/4may95/box113/113.html

[ Parent ]

In my defense... (none / 0) (#200)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 11:01:04 AM EST

 I know absolutely nothing about the Kent State riots, and was only replying to the previous poster's comment about people getting shot for throwing rocks. If the students weren't throwing rocks, than armed soliders firing upon them is cowardly, dishonorable, and murderous.

 

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

Using force is hard (4.40 / 5) (#102)
by sigwinch on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 04:13:44 AM EST

Sigwinch, you can consider the rant portion of that above comment to not be directed towards you.
I agree completely with what you said. It would have been nice if the Guardsmen were politically-savvy master strategists, and could have deduced that shooting near the "protestors" and breaking a few noses would have been enough, and that the political fallout was worth the risks of taking a few rocks. But they were ordinary men, and expecting them to always make the best possible decisions is asking too much.

My rule: If it takes armed men to keep the peace, expect casualties.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Umm... (3.50 / 2) (#115)
by wiredog on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 08:04:41 AM EST

As representatives ... of the US government
They were Ohio National Guard troops, called out by the Governor of Ohio. Paid by Ohio. Representatives of the Ohio Government, not the US Government.

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]
shot an ROTC student in the back (4.66 / 3) (#119)
by anonymous cowerd on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 08:45:08 AM EST

Ah yes, Kent State, where "protesting" is spelled "throwing bricks at armed soldiers".

Get your facts right. Kent state, where a troop of heavily armed National Guardsmen, in absolutely no danger themselves, fired a volley into a plaza filled with students trying to get to class, among others an ROTC student who was hit in the back by an M-1 bullet and died.

Sheer police-state incompetence, and you seem to think it was cool. Or maybe your position is, "I suppose I have the right to petition the government, but if some powerful and famous conservative person decides to try to shut me up then I'll whimper 'o please famous and powerful Sir don't hurt me, I'll just shut up and run away now Sir' so that way everything will be OK."

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

A drowning man asks for pears from the willow tree.
[ Parent ]

Danger? (none / 0) (#173)
by sigwinch on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:29:25 PM EST

Kent state, where a troop of heavily armed National Guardsmen, in absolutely no danger themselves,...
"Absolutely no danger"? The ROTC building burned down by itself? The rocks just picked themselves up off the ground and threw themselves at the soldiers?
...fired a volley into a plaza filled with students trying to get to class, among others an ROTC student who was hit in the back by an M-1 bullet and died.
So? If you see rioters, you fight them or you bug out. Hanging around pretending that nothing unusual is happening is suicide.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

The point is not the degree of suppression (2.75 / 4) (#61)
by rantweasel on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 08:37:45 PM EST

The point is that political speech is being suppressed.  It doesn't matter that there is worse behavior going on elsewhere, bad behavior is bad behavior.  What is going on in Iran is certainly worse, but that doesn't excuse the suppression of other political speech.  And as for the assumptions about my opinions, where did you get the impression that I was not outraged about Aghajari?  

mathias

[ Parent ]

Bzzt... (3.75 / 4) (#82)
by thejones on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 11:38:37 PM EST

Wrong, thanks for playing, please try again sometime.

There was a designated area for protesters to do thier thing. If they had been in that area, they would not have been bothered. Instead, they decided to attempt to disrupt the legitmate activities of a group they were opposed to, and continued to do so after being warned that what they were doing was inappropriate.

Or, in little words, they were told where the sandbox was, and to please go play there. They said no and got a grownup time out.

You do have the right to speak your mind, you don't have an absolute right to do it whenever, wherever, and in whatever manner you please.

[ Parent ]

As was pointed out elsewhere in the thread.... (5.00 / 2) (#153)
by rantweasel on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:32:39 PM EST

They were keeping people out, confiscating signs, and then handing out "approved signs" inside the stadium.    I'm not 100% sure, but I belive that USF is a state school.  That would make it quite definitely public property, and the restrictions on signs is quite definitely content based censorship.  Preventing the one woman (quoted at the end of the article) from entering based on printouts she had in her pockets is also content based censorship.  Even if it was private property, the police (not the school, the police!) kept people from entering the stadium.  It's one thing to say "the no heckling rule will be strictly enforced", or to confiscate all signs, but to prevent them from attending (note the distinction between attendance and protest - if they were hauled out of the stadium for making a ruckus during a speech, that's a whole seperate issue) based on assumptions of future behavior/speech?  That sounds like prior restraint.  They were told that there was a sandbox, but the police arrested them for thinking about playing in the future.  They didn't do anything wrong.  

mathias

[ Parent ]

Incorrect stink (4.00 / 1) (#130)
by Silent Chris on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:00:34 AM EST

The stink was raised not because they were protesting, but they were trying to gain access to a private auditorium where they wanted to protest.  I have every right to protest a university's decision just outside their grounds.  I do not have a right to let myself into the univeristy, walk up to the dean's office, and yell in his face (although they may let me -- that's their decision, not mine).  Just because he is a public figure does not mean he's public no matter where he goes.

[ Parent ]
debatable at best (none / 0) (#162)
by rantweasel on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:25:19 PM EST

They were USF students, so they certainly had implied permission to begin with.  Second, I belive that USF is a state school, which makes it public property.  Also see another comment on the same topic.  

mathias

[ Parent ]

Attn: Usonian self-righteous patriots (2.33 / 18) (#46)
by frawaradaR on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 07:21:40 PM EST

Any country that executes anyone for anything is fucked up. Why? Because if the verdict is based on false assumptions and false proofs (if any), that is if the accused really is innocent, the state has committed a murder.

Of course there is something called "beyond reasonable doubt", but we have seen this fail time after time for hundreds of people on death row in Usonia, after DNA testing have proven them innocent. Now, in some states they are actually denied this possibility, even if it is statistically evident that many of these are innocent. What kind of government is it that decides that innocent people will die no matter what?

So you should be glad living in such a country, unless you happen to be black, poor, uneducated and with less appealing looks. Then chances are that you'll end up on death row, or at least in jail, just because of the percieved notion of guilt imagined by "the people".

Sure, Usonia is probably much better than Iran, for most people anyway, but there are still better places. Such as any Western democracy where they have long since gone passed the brutal and medieval philosophy of punishment, retribution, retaliation and vengeance (concepts shared with Iran, Irak, and virtually all of the Usonian "enemy" states).

I swear, you are so obsessed with the concept of revenge...

frawaradaR anahaha islaginaR!
[ Parent ]

Boy did I hit a nerve! (4.50 / 4) (#52)
by lb008d on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 08:05:53 PM EST

Usonia is probably much better than Iran

That was my point. And, had you read my comment and others I posted in this thread, you would realize that I believe society could be better.

I apologize if it sounded self-righteous. I did say a country like the US, which I assumed would be interpreted as "any country with a reasonable amount of free speech".

BTW, I agree on executions. You can never be 100% sure in 100% of the cases, and locking someone up with no parole is usually cheaper in the long run (appeals and all).

"Kuro5hin: politics and pretension, from the $3,000 leather recliners on the hill overlooking the trenches."DarkZero
[ Parent ]

USonia? (4.09 / 11) (#54)
by BinaryTree on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 08:06:46 PM EST

That's a good one.

Shut up, jealous Swedonian.

[ Parent ]

What makes you the expert? (3.92 / 14) (#63)
by gr3y on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 08:42:28 PM EST

What kind of government is it that decides that innocent people will die no matter what?

The U. S. government hasn't decided that. We have, and if we don't like the law, we vote against it. You obviously don't understand what you're talking about because you made a statement that makes no sense at all. The state does not decide to execute "innocent" people "no matter what". The state executes if the crime merits it, if there is no "reasonable doubt", and if a jury of American citizens decides the crime committed merits the death sentence. That decision is, hopefully, based on the threat to society that the convicted represents. The jury has no revenge motive, because no one with a revenge motive is allowed to serve on the jury.

Witness the recent elections in Virginia. One of the items on the ballot was a referendum allowing prisoners on death row to submit DNA for testing that might exonerate them. It passed, and I voted for it, because DNA testing is another tool that might be used to prove innocence, and I believe it's better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent person be wrongly put to death.

I am glad I live in the United States of America. Your attempt to sarcastically underline the differences between the U. S. and "Western democracies" failed miserably, because it is not constructive (or polite), you do not live here, and, frankly, you do not know what you're talking about.

Where is "Usonia", by the way? Are you referring to the "U. S."? There are damned few of us who would refer to Sweden as "Swoden", even if we were so inclined. It's childish and petulant, and marks you as such.

Try to be more constructive next time.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Usonia [OT] (4.66 / 6) (#73)
by mcc on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 09:33:45 PM EST

Where is "Usonia", by the way? Are you referring to the "U. S."?

I don't know what the original poster was talking about-- i assume that "Usonia" is simply the logical progression of the horribly irritating tendency on internet discussion boards to call citizens of the USA "USians" for lack of a better short term-- but did you try typing "usonia" into Google? I did just to see what i would get, and the results were actually kind of neat.

Apparently "usonia" is the word Frank Lloyd Wright (Some really influential figure in modern architecture. The guy who designed the Guggenheim.) used to describe his vision of America.

Search for "usonia" and you get back like hundreds of links on it.. he wanted america to eventually be based around this crazy organic-skyscrapers motif. This site in particular is really interesting-- it's some archive of conceptual art of Wright's Usonia plans from back in the 50s, and it's just all these crazy sketches of  creative landscaping and retro-futuristic skyscrapers that will never exist. I don't know how well any of this would work if they actually built it, but it looks like the stuff the man came up with that was never built is much more interesting than the stuff that was... :)

I doubt highly that "frawaradaR" was trying to make any kind of reference to this, though.

---
Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame
[ Parent ]

Of course, you could try the proper short term (3.25 / 4) (#105)
by NaCh0 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 04:29:12 AM EST

American

Learn it -- love it.
--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
[ Parent ]

Or better yet... (5.00 / 4) (#110)
by cpatrick on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:03:26 AM EST

“Yank.”

[ Parent ]
Hold on now! (1.00 / 1) (#117)
by wiredog on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 08:14:29 AM EST

"Yank"? Better not be calling someone from the South "Yank"!

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]
Quite right (2.50 / 4) (#121)
by Gully Foyle on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:49:56 AM EST

Someone from South America isn't a Yank. Only people from Usonia are.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

Lamerican (1.62 / 8) (#120)
by frawaradaR on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 08:53:11 AM EST

Sure, you are an American, living on the North American continent. But canadiennes are also Americans, as well as los mexicanos. You are a Usonian American, living in USA. They are Canadian and Mexican Americans, living in Canada/Quebec and the United States of Mexico respectively. As usual, you Usonians are trying to equate "America" with that central North American republic, ignoring the rest (and putting up huge walls on your borders to show that you really love freedom, as long as it is Yours and not Theirs).

Of course there is a problem as to what one should call the people in your faraway imperial colonies, for instance on Hawaii which is not anywhere near the Americas. Usonian is a good choice. This will be even clearer after you have expanded your empire and made half of the Middle East into parking lots and holiday resorts.

frawaradaR anahaha islaginaR!
[ Parent ]

Funny how you mention US immigration policies... (none / 0) (#176)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:45:47 PM EST

...while the liberals are putting a slow stranglehold on Europe.
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

I understand... (none / 0) (#186)
by frawaradaR on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 11:59:10 AM EST

... that "liberal" is some kind of name calling in America, while it has a somewhat more positive connotation elsewhere. FYI: current European immigration policies are right wing policies. We have had a huge upswing of fascist and nationalist forces since the minority in the USA decided that Dubya should be president. For some odd reason, Europe seems to follow the American political pattern with a slight delay.

frawaradaR anahaha islaginaR!
[ Parent ]
For clarifications sake... (none / 0) (#193)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 08:48:27 PM EST

Liberal is not calling someone names in America. It's what you call a Democrat here, or anybody that swings toward the leftist/more socialist route. However, in Europe, to be liberal is to be fascist/nationalist (like LePen) while being conservative is to maintain the old socialist-leaning status quo.

So my point stands. The liberals are putting a slow stranglehold on Europe.
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

re: American (3.00 / 2) (#166)
by kjb on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:46:47 PM EST

Well, yes, but that doesn't fit in with the whole holier-than-thou act that some European smart-asses like to use.

--
Now watch this drive.
[ Parent ]

Ahhhh, I can feel it, it BURNS, IT BURNS! (none / 0) (#181)
by kjb on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 03:00:22 AM EST

The sting of the silent 1-giver. I'm Melting, I'm Melting! The wicked witch of the West is melting! OH NO! I guess I hit a nerve, eh?

--
Now watch this drive.
[ Parent ]

Experience (3.16 / 12) (#78)
by frawaradaR on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 10:34:23 PM EST

You live there, I lived there. But you never lived here (in a Western democracy), and thus have no perspective whatsoever but the Usonian.

The _state_ governments in certain states, those who refuse people on death row DNA tests, DNA tests that could liberate some of them, DNA tests that _would_ liberate a whole bunch of them (purely on statistical grounds from previous results in other states), _deliberately_ put _innocent_ people to death.

_You_ didn't make such a law, and such a law is not democratic but in the most basic sense (democracy has evolved quite a bit since Greek state democracy was invented).

And the whole purpose of the death penalty is of course revenge on behalf of the victims, executed by the government. If you just want to protect society, it is good enough putting people behind bars. Revenge is a valid emotion; I too want to see cold blooded child molesters burn in pain and agony, but it is hardly consonant with modern standards of judicial methods, just because there always are and will be innocent people that are irreversibly punished by the state, no matter how sophisticated the legal system is.

The death penalty is one of a few medieval leftovers the USA has in common with states like Iran, Iraq and Saudi-Arabia. The extreme religiosity is another, and they are very much linked. The day you guys get a black atheist woman as president, I am sure you will also have matured enough to abolish medieval English common law. You have already lived without apartheid for some 40 years now... there may yet be hope.

frawaradaR anahaha islaginaR!
[ Parent ]

STR and PCR aren't panacean (4.50 / 2) (#99)
by Lode Runner on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 04:06:14 AM EST

1.) Jurisprudence: put down the Benetton agitprop and take the time to thoroughly examine a few contemporary US death penalty cases. You will find that these cases --even Mumia's-- generally are subjected to a great deal more scrutiny and their verdicts are much more easily appealed than Western European cases for similar crimes. The (im)morality and structural function of capital punishment are separate --but related-- arguments.

2.) As for DNA testing, many states are not implementing it because the contamination-prone forensic data gathering practices and the crude amplification techniques that comprise the DNA tests present too many ethical problems.

The worry isn't so much that such tests will exculpate convicts society and/or The Interests want to do away with, but rather that the tests could be (and have been) abused in the hands of overzealous prosecutors and crooked defense attorneys trying to protect their clients by framing innocents.

Just because I can use PCR to amplify a DNA sequence a billion times doesn't mean that I'm amplifying the right sequence or that I can produce anything more than context-free circumstantial evidence. And that's why I applaud efforts by my state to keep arguments based on DNA testing marginal until such testing becomes more reliable AND until a protocol is developed to convincingly situate DNA evidence in the environment from which it was drawn.

[ Parent ]

extreme religiosity? (2.33 / 3) (#143)
by mmealman on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:27:41 PM EST

Yes, America is so religious that the use of the word "God" was stricken from our national pledge because it was un-constitutional and school prayer is likewise outlawed.

[ Parent ]
Überreligious zealots (2.71 / 7) (#147)
by frawaradaR on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:50:18 PM EST

Yeah, and on every legal tender it says "In God We Trust". Now, you won't find that on coins and bills in Western democracies, but most surely in Islamic dicatorships (we could pretend that God = Allah for simplicity).

No European president or head of state will utter the word God in a maxime or a speech, but for a Usonian president it is _mandatory_ to utter the phrase "and may God be with you". Now, this brings to mind Osama bin Laden's speeches, which end the very same way...

No sane politician on this side of the Atlantic would use words such as "crusade", axis of _evil_" and similar religiously colored phrases. That could only happen in good ole Yankee doodle dandyland (and of course in the Middle East).

Neither would you in this part of the world see any Christian attempts, in the spirit of that madman Paul, to censor nipples on TV... well, maybe in Spain.

Walking around in any Usonian city (not that many people do... gotta take the car 250 meters to the supermarket to get the sodapop for the barbecue) you'll find a little church in almost every street corner.

For people from Europe it is very evident that Usonia is all about religion. Good luck with your "Holy War".

frawaradaR anahaha islaginaR!
[ Parent ]

If it weren't for your attitude (3.50 / 2) (#150)
by lb008d on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 01:17:53 PM EST

you could make some good points in a discussion.

Now, you won't find that on coins and bills in Western democracies, but most surely in Islamic dicatorships

I searched on Google for translations of the text on a Saudi Riyal and an Iraqi Dinar, and couldn't find one. Could you provide a translation?

As for the rest of the comment, phrases like Usonian, good ole Yankee doodle dandyland and gotta take the car 250 meters to the supermarket to get the sodapop for the barbecue do nothing to serve any argument you were attempting to present.

"Kuro5hin: politics and pretension, from the $3,000 leather recliners on the hill overlooking the trenches."DarkZero
[ Parent ]

Dude, you're a prick. (1.00 / 2) (#178)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 12:54:14 AM EST

Seriously. What's wrong with a church at every street corner, if that's what people want? It's their right to worship, after all, and it's not like the local government was helping fund the construction of the damn things. And I have absolutely no problem with Dubya invoking God every time he speaks - he knows his population, which happens to be mostly Christian. It's not like Christianity is forced on me, or that I can't see a good secular movie with gratuitous sex scenes left and right (for the record, I am an apathetic agnostic, but I have a healthy amount of respect for Christian theology and ethical teachings). Unless you know something that we don't, like where the US is keeping all those secret crematoriums that they're herding the Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims into every night.

Look, if you think Bush is waging some sort of Holy War on Islam, you're blindingly ignorant. Intelligent folks realize that there's a whole other agenda going on here in the Mid East, comprised of a variety of motives - some good, some bad. Does that excuse the US's actions? Depends on your ethics. But to think that religion is even a minor cause behind foreign policy (or hell, even most domestic issues) is to admit to your sheer ignorance in regards to world affairs.

And you know, I think that's your problem, this entire "Let's blame the US for EVERYTHING" attitude. True, the US is often hypocritical, such as disguising military actions as foreign aid, or using its "might" to bully around (or blithely ignore) UN policies. However, things are never as simple as they appear, and to solely blame the US for the world's ills or to narrowly criticize it's foreign and domestic policies is to ignore the effects and impacts of the socio-economic and political maneuvers put into play every day on the world stage. It's not like there's a country out there with a spotless record or one that doesn't have a hidden agenda. If anything, I'd say that the US is pretty much par for the course; it just seems like the US is racking up more questionable policy decisions because the entire world has its eyes on the last remaining superpower (whether being the last remaining superpower is beneficial or not is debatable).

To conclude:

1. The US is secular. Yes, believe it or not, the government is secular. It just happens to be a democracy where most of its citizens are religious. See the difference? For example, my grants are not denied because I don't worship Christianity. Want me to come up with more?

2. Stop being such a close-minded ass. It's okay to criticize US policy; in fact, it's the only defense we have against the abuse of power, anywhere. However, your vaunted European democracies are often not that much better. Stop pretending they are. In other words, expel that shit from your system and keep an eye on the world, not just the US.

Grow up and lose the attitude, junior. Come back when you can have a rational, civil discussion with the adults, okay?
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Secular my ass (5.00 / 3) (#185)
by frawaradaR on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 11:50:11 AM EST

As long as you need God's help in courts, you obviously don't have a secular system. A secular system also doesn't have a certain religious sentence on its coins.

And as long as dubya preeches the majority religion on national televison, he fucks with the _minority_, those that either believe in other gods or are atheists. What would happen if he instead blessed Allah? Think about that one, because that is exactly what _modern_ democracy is about, protection of minorities rather than the absolute rule of the majority. A secular chief of state had better keep his mouth shut and remain neutral on religious issues, because in a secular state such sentiments are just that, _personal_.

And certainly religion has a thing or two to do with the current war on terrorism. On the one hand we have a bunch of extreme muslims waging a holy war on America for its intervention in the Middle East. On the other we have dubya talking about a "crusade", something that just serves to revive the Arab world's notion of Christian imperialism. That the US supports the Jewish state against the neighboring Arab states will always be a testimony to this.

Finally, do I blame the US for everything? Hardly. I love America just as much as I hate it, an emotion not that uncommon in Europe. I love it when it does what it promises in the rhetoric, and I hate it when it shatters the very ideals of America and when it divides the world in us and them, negating the rights of _other_ people to pursue liberty, freedom and happiness.

Whenever America acts as if it is above international law and agreements, people will react with bitterness, resentment and hate. Currently, you keep people on Guantanama Bay without a valid reason. They haven't been charged, and they are not prisoners of war, since there is no war. There is no such thing as "illegal combattants" in international law. The US stance on these prisoners is that the goal (of waging war against terror) justifies the means, even if those means happen to violate the very human rights the US tries to instill into _others_. This is hypocrisy.

When America wants to have immunity from prosecution in the international war tribunal, they bluntly say that they are the moral right against which everything else should be measured, which just brings to mind Song My and other awful crimes America committed some 30 years ago.

America is not and never will be perfect. It needs checks and balances also on the international arena. Evry few decades or so, there seems to be a swing toward fascist tendencies in America. In the fifties you had McCarthy and relentless pursuit on "communists", where a lot of "American" freedoms were vaporized within a short span of time. You have something similar now with the "Patriot Act", which effectively annihilates the constitution. If the only remaining super power is unleashed in one of its down periods, things may go awfully wrong.

The problem with America is its self-righteousness. A little bit more modesty would be in place for a young nation that just recently abolished its apartheid system and still upholds a penalty system worthy a third world dictatorship.

frawaradaR anahaha islaginaR!
[ Parent ]

Hmm. Thank you... (none / 0) (#195)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 10:31:57 PM EST

...for not using the term "Usonian." You have no idea what a world of difference that makes.

Also, thanks for (at least the moment) dropping the superiority act. As such, I apologize for the insulting tone in my previous post, and shall afford you the same level of respect that you have shown.

What can I say? I agree with you on almost all of your points. I am no defender of US foreign and domestic policies. The subject of the continued lopsided aid given to Israel is especially troubling for me (especially when you consider that by all technicalities, Israel is the UN - and to a much lesser extent, GB's - responsibility). The Patriot Act and the coining of the term "Enemy Combatant" scare the living hell out of me. And when the US makes an ass of itself to the rest of the international community, by acting superior and "perfect" in the face of an imperfect world, assuming that it represents the will of its citizens in its actions, it angers me.

But I still love my country, and the principles on which it was founded. And I appreciate the sacrifices, the blood and the tears that went into forging this nation. But most of all, I cherish that American notion of placing liberty as more important than anything else. This is not the land where I was born, but it will most certainly be the land where I will be put to rest.

However, we seem to have different definitions of the word secular. I hold that the institution of the US government is secular, as it should be, for it shows no bias towards any particular religion, nor does it base its internal policies or procedures on any type of religious creed (even though from a moral standpoint, Christianity wouldn't be that bad of one to base it off of - turn the other cheek and all that). If the voters happen to choose a religious leader or representative, then so be it. But I know that most decisions made by such representatives are not usually based off religious dogma or ethical codes. Yes, the decisions might be ones made for greed or special interests (yuck) but rarely does religion play a role in it. The day that Hindus and Muslims are persecuted for what they choose to worship, then I'll believe that the US is a religious state.

Secondly, perhaps I should clarify my statement about war a little. While the arabic states might be pursuing conflict based on religious dogma, the US is most certainly not, despite the use of such terms as "crusade." So Dubya's an evil bastard tugging at the sleeves of the faithful to try and support HIS war. But I think I can safely say that the upcoming Iraqi conflict is motivated by various reasons, but not a single religious one. For example, one could point out that having US troops stationed in Iraq would be strategically beneficial in that region. Or one could observe that Bush really started pushing for this war just as the crucial 2002 senatorial elections were taking place (which, under ideal circumstances, the Democrats should have won - after all, the US economy has suffered a net loss of 9 trillion dollars under the Bush Administration). Likewise, you can say that the war is a cover-up for a failing economy and a nearly non-existent economic agenda, or as a distraction away from Bush's (and Cheney's) connections to the recent business scandals. I mean, it's an awfully convenient war, isn't it?

However, I can't think of a single valid religious reason to pack Saddam away (other than he's a cold-hearted bastard), and even though I don't like him, I trust that Bush has more than enough sense than to throw the lives of our boys away for some far-fetched reason based off of Christianity.
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Crusades, imperialism, what gives? (1.00 / 1) (#196)
by afc on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 11:15:57 PM EST

On the other we have dubya talking about a "crusade", something that just serves to revive the Arab world's notion of Christian imperialism.

You have your history in a twist there, buddy. What do the Crusades have to do with imperialism? If anything, they were defensive wars waged by decentralized forces, not conquest wars waged by an empire.

In the fifties you had McCarthy and relentless pursuit on "communists", where a lot of "American" freedoms were vaporized within a short span of time.

That should be communists, no quotes. And what "freedoms" are we talking about here? The freedom to work for Uncle Sam while being a paid soviet spy? Or the "freedom" to blackball anti-communists while pretending you were not a "fellow traveler"?

The problem with America is its self-righteousness. A little bit more modesty would be in place for a young nation that just recently abolished its apartheid system and still upholds a penalty system worthy a third world dictatorship.

And they should get those lessons on how to curb their self-righteousness from the citizens of a country that just recently abolished eugenics and forced sterilization, and which stood neutral during the war with the Nazis, right? Oops, sorry, that should have read "neutral".
--

Information wants to be beer, or something.
[ Parent ]

Both (5.00 / 1) (#197)
by frawaradaR on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 03:43:50 AM EST

What did the crusades have to do with imperialism? For one thing, Jerusalem is not in Europe, yet it was under European siege for nearly the entire 12th century. Why? Because it is the Holy City, the city which plays an immense role in the Christianity that Europe had acquired under Roman rule. It certainly wasn't necessary to capture Jerualem to stop the Arab expansion. Furthermore, Richard Plantagenet had nothing to fear whatsoever from Arab imperialism, but yet he was very involved in the crusades, for pure imperialistic reasons. Imperialism was the norm back then. Today it is extinct.

Man, I didn't know Bobby Fischer was employed by Uncle Sam (http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/4535883.htm). Yet the FBI kept an eye on him and his entire family for 30 years, thinking he might be a Soviet spy. Were they afraid he was gonna give away the best American pawn defenses? Likewise, they spied on Einstein and a whole bunch of his European colleagues just because they stated they were socialists, atheists or whatever. So much for freedom of thought and expression.

America should learn from its own and other's mistakes and not take anything for granted. One lesson in history is evident: no empire lasts forever, not even America. One lesson Europe has learned is to cooperate in a full-fledged union to avoid the nationalist wars that have plagued its entire history. We don't see ourselves as the center of the universe, like you do, but we do feel we have both a right and an obligation to utter discontempt whenever appropriate.

frawaradaR anahaha islaginaR!
[ Parent ]

I honestly hope... (none / 0) (#205)
by afc on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 10:50:11 PM EST

...you're majoring in computer science, 'cause your apalling knowledge of history makes me lose whatever little admiration I still have left for the good (albeit socialist) Swedish education system.

For one thing, Jerusalem is not in Europe, yet it was under European siege for nearly the entire 12th century. Why? Because it is the Holy City, the city which plays an immense role in the Christianity that Europe had acquired under Roman rule. It certainly wasn't necessary to capture Jerualem to stop the Arab expansion. Furthermore, Richard Plantagenet had nothing to fear whatsoever from Arab imperialism, but yet he was very involved in the crusades, for pure imperialistic reasons. Imperialism was the norm back then. Today it is extinct.

Let me remind you then what you forgot in your history lessons: for six centuries before Muhammad, the Palestine, plus Syria, Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and the whole of North Africa was majoritarily Christian. In less than a century after the prophet's death, Muslim Arabs subdued the entire region and were knocking at the doors of modern day France, wherefrom, were it not for Charles Martel, they would have managed to invade Western Europe, and today you and I would probably be praying towards Mecca six times a day. That's why I said the Crusades were defensive wars in reaction to prior aggression. And I believe you meant to say that Jerusalem was under Christian rule, not siege, during the 12th century.

Imperialism is a modern (14th-19th centuries) notion, even though the notion of an empire is not. But, slice it any way you want to, the Crusades were not "imperialistic" endeavors.

Man, I didn't know Bobby Fischer was employed by Uncle Sam .... Yet the FBI kept an eye on him ... thinking he might be a Soviet spy. [...] Likewise, they spied on Einstein and a ... bunch of his European colleagues ... because they stated they were socialists, atheists or whatever. So much for freedom of thought and expression.

Funny, I thought you were talking about McCarthyism. You really like to go off tangents, don't you? That having said, during the Cold War the CIA and the FBI spied upon anybody that might have the flimsiest tie to the Soviet Union, with some justification, even though I'm not a fan of either agency. Heck, they even spied on themselves!

Anyways, I fail to see how being snooped upon, no matter how outrageous and intrusive it might be, is an infringement of one's freedom of though and expression.

America should learn from its own and other's mistakes and not take anything for granted. One lesson in history is evident: no empire lasts forever, not even America.

On that, we can at last agree. I'm just not to sure I will like whatever replaces the American empire, though I'm mostly sure I won't see it in my lifetime.

One lesson Europe has learned is to cooperate in a full-fledged union to avoid the nationalist wars that have plagued its entire history.

Or, alternatively, Europe has degenerated and decayed to the point of transmogrifying into a huge, centralized, burocratic state which will slowly but tenaciously chomp away at whatever freedoms its citizens still have. Don't worry, it will all be in the name of the public good.

We don't see ourselves as the center of the universe, like you do, but we do feel we have both a right and an obligation to utter discontempt whenever appropriate.

You're right, I prefer to express my utter contempt whenever I fell like it ;-).
--

Information wants to be beer, or something.
[ Parent ]

Attn: Eurotrash self-righteous pansies (2.36 / 11) (#67)
by Hobbes2100 on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 09:06:26 PM EST

So you should be glad living in such a country, unless you happen to be black, poor, uneducated and with less appealing looks. Then chances are that you'll end up on death row, or at least in jail, just because of the percieved notion of guilt imagined by "the people".

Wake up and smell the coffee. Currently, there are a number of minorities in high positions of power in the US government. There are people who started out poor and are now (very) rich. Roseanne O'Donnell has done well for herself and she isn't attractive. While I don't strictly believe it, some would argue that George W. Bush isn't particularly well educated. Sports stars (primarily black and poorly educated -- college "educations" aside) seem to do well for themselves.

The US provides opportunity. If you want guarantees, you'll need to look elsewhere.

Regards,
Mark

P.S. I swear, you are so obsessed with forgiveness that you couldn't right a wrong if it killed you.
Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? --Iuvenalis
But who will guard the guardians themselves? -- Juvenal
[ Parent ]

Indeed... (3.87 / 8) (#59)
by kwertii on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 08:30:49 PM EST

And, all moral and cultural relativism aside, any country that would execute someone (hell even arrest them) for critical speech is fucked up.

e.g.

* United States, Statutes at Large, Washington, D.C., 1918, Vol. XL, pp 553 ff.

Whoever ... [among other things] shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States ... and whoever shall by word or act support or favor the cause of any country with which the United States is at war or by word or act oppose the cause of the United States therein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.



----
"He lives most gaily who knows best how to deceive himself." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

[ Parent ]
Irrelevant. (3.00 / 6) (#80)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 11:01:19 PM EST

I am assuming that you don't live in the US. As far as I know, not too many writers/public speakers/artists/etc. are being jailed and/or fined around here, despite many of them being quite vitriolic (take Chomsky, for example). Hell, the columnists in any liberal news source are much less polite, calling the current government and its representatives all sorts of nasty names (not necessarily being "critical"). And the criticism is especially prolific now, considering that the US is jumping from one conflct into another.

Go home, junior, and take your anachronistic garbage with you.
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

My apologies. (2.00 / 3) (#81)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 11:12:45 PM EST

I'm just in a pissy mood right now (and my previous Adequate tendencies tend to show through at these times). Please ignore the ad hominem content in the previous post. Thank you.
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

It was enforced (4.50 / 2) (#139)
by aphrael on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:30:54 AM EST

during WWI and the years immediately afterwards. Laws of this nature were pretty much invalidated by the supreme court in the late 1920s.

[ Parent ]
Chomsky as a professor. (none / 0) (#192)
by drc500free on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 07:09:17 PM EST

It's a shame that he is so gifted. I'm just finishing an intro class in linguistics, which I find very interesting. I want to take the advanced intro class, but I know that if I had to be taught by him every week for a semester I'd probably punch him in the face. Plus the prereq is "permission of instructor" which means I'd probably have to talk to him. He does speak politics using his academic status as a platform, like that fool at Xavier, but it's a shame that there are many students like myself who won't take his class because he is so political.

[ Parent ]
A difference of opinons. (none / 0) (#194)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 09:37:06 PM EST

Hmm. Personally, I would love to take a class taught by Chomsky. But I understand why a lot of people are wary of him - sort of the same reason why I'm very wary of people like David Horowitz or Anne Coulter.

Even though I greatly respect and admire the man, he also unsettles me at times. One can't help but feel that on most points he's right, but there's absolutely nothing one can do about it...

Also, kick me in the ass and call me ignorant, but who's "that fool at Xavier?"
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Absolutely (3.25 / 8) (#91)
by Trevor OLeary on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:37:09 AM EST

It is our values and unwavering faith in God that makes America different from every other nation on Earth. Until these Iraqis accept that the US is God's chosen nation and that our society, values and religion are the best possible, they are doomed to live in squalid poverty beneath the hail of bombs from our fighter planes. We have to invade them - how else will they realize the true path to righteousness?

[ Parent ]
Unwavering faith in God? (3.57 / 7) (#93)
by Korimyr the Rat on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:53:14 AM EST

 Avowed church membership is four times as high (as a percentage) now than it was in the 1780s. This didn't become a "Christian nation" until the 1950s, when the anti-Communist zealots in our country embraced religion as a means of social control.

 Not that I'm soft on Communism-- but I wonder if sacrificing our secular ideals is too high a price to pay for opposing it.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

Communism and Islam (2.60 / 5) (#106)
by Trevor OLeary on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:09:31 AM EST

Which is worse? I really don't know. Lately I think Islam.

Did you see K19? Seeing those Communists die from radiation sickness was very satisfying.

[ Parent ]

If Trevor OLeary were Arabic (3.28 / 7) (#96)
by Arthur Treacher on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:08:38 AM EST

He would have written this:

It is our values and unwavering faith in Allah that makes Islam different from every other society on Earth. Until these Americans accept that Al Qaida are Allah's chosen and that our society, values and religion are the best possible, they are doomed to live in decadent godless immorality beneath the hail of bombs from our fearless martyrs. We have to invade them - how else will they realize the true path to righteousness?



"Henry Ford is more or less history" - Bunk
[ Parent ]

If I was Arabic (3.00 / 2) (#107)
by Trevor OLeary on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:10:41 AM EST

That wouldn't make me a Muslim, just racially Arabic. Unless you believe race affects behaviour, like the Nazis did?


[ Parent ]
If Trevor OLeary were Arabic (1.60 / 5) (#97)
by Arthur Treacher on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:09:00 AM EST

He would have written this:

It is our values and unwavering faith in Allah that makes Islam different from every other society on Earth. Until these Americans accept that Al Qaida are Allah's chosen and that our society, values and religion are the best possible, they are doomed to live in decadent godless immorality beneath the hail of bombs from our fearless martyrs. We have to invade them - how else will they realize the true path to righteousness?



"Henry Ford is more or less history" - Bunk
[ Parent ]

Yes! (3.00 / 2) (#112)
by Gord ca on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:14:39 AM EST

I know the feeling. Look around and the local governments ("Western Democracies") look rather corrupt, unresponsive, stupid, etc (at least to such jaded liberal students as myself). Then look at Iran, China, etc and things look a lot better.

Maybe the best thing about the current democracies is they can (theoretically) be improved without violence. Improving your country through shooting the current leaders is a strategy with a bad track record. Improving the situation through current democratic practice is painfully slow, but forces everyone to have a long think about where they're going, which makes having a better situation later much more likely.

(Forgive if this was a bit too much of a Me Too! post. I had to get that out of my system.)

If I'm attacking your idea, it's probably because I like it
[ Parent ]

Looks familiar... (2.90 / 10) (#31)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 06:11:21 PM EST

A 12-member Council of Guardians, led by the country's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, officially ensures that legislation is in accordance with the constitution and Islamic precepts, but in reality enjoys extensive powers and influence over all aspects of policy.

In other words, yet another stone-age idealogue facist regime. As with every other such regime, it is only a matter of time.
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.

Careful... (3.62 / 8) (#34)
by Dolohov on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 06:19:29 PM EST

There are those who say that the US Supreme Court could be described in a very similar manner to that of Iran's Council of Guardians. (Of course, those people would tend to agree with your analysis in some cases)

[ Parent ]
An American Hypocrite! What are the chances? (2.07 / 14) (#45)
by DominantParadigm on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 07:19:03 PM EST

A 12-member Council of Guardians, led by the country's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, officially ensures that legislation is in accordance with the constitution and Islamic precepts, but in reality enjoys extensive powers and influence over all aspects of policy.

In other words, yet another stone-age idealogue facist regime. As with every other such regime, it is only a matter of time.

Strong words from somebody who sucks on the teet of the American Constitution.

Different peoples, but you both have one rule of law that supersedes the democratic process. It just happens that you both have a different one.



Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
Wrong. (4.20 / 5) (#50)
by gr3y on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 07:52:18 PM EST

The Constitution is the embodiment of the democratic process in America. There are some short-term problems (Ashcroft taking the power of the fed on himself, for one), but they are usually resolved by the courts in time, up to the highest court in the land if necessary - the Supreme Court.

Iran has a long way to go before their Constitution is the embodiment of any democratic process, because the "Council of Guardians" (shooray-eh negabaani) can circumvent that process whenever they please. They are the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branch of government. They have historically had absolute veto power over any reform, rule, or law of the land, because Iran is an Islamic Republic. It is not, and makes no claim to be, a democracy.

The situations are not similar, no matter how skewed your world view is, or how disappointed you are that the U. S. federal government, after much deliberation, does not do what you would like it to do. A more accurate observation might be: the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is what the government of the U. S. might aspire to be if Falwell, Robertson, or Graham were in charge.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

if it quacks... (4.00 / 1) (#146)
by dirtmerchant on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:47:27 PM EST

It is not, and makes no claim to be, a democracy

but which is worse, admitting what you are up front or calling yourselves a democracy (with a straight face, nonetheless) like the us?


-- "The universe not only may be queerer than we think, but queerer than we can think" - JBS Haldane
[ Parent ]
I'll admit... (none / 0) (#182)
by gr3y on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 03:02:03 AM EST

the U. S. has some problems, but I don't think we, as a people, merely give "lip service" to democracy. I'm disappointed that more people don't vote, and make their voices heard, but that may be because they've allowed special interests to convince them that their vote doesn't matter, when the evidence does not support that argument:

There are states in the U. S., and districts throughout the country, that historically vote Democrat or Republican. Obviously, those people are aware that their vote accomplishes something, because they keep spending it the same way. They may not like what it accomplishes, but that's a separate issue entirely.

I'll be the first to admit I'd like more than two parties to share federal campaign funds in this country, because the Democrats and Republicans have grown increasingly inbred, and it's difficult to tell them apart, and that we're (U. S. citizens) dangerously close to a one-party system with all the appearance of a two-party one.

If you explain why you think the U. S. is not a democracy, I'll consider your argument(s), but I haven't come to that conclusion myself, so I can't answer your question.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

One invalid premise destroys an argument (2.50 / 2) (#149)
by DominantParadigm on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 01:09:27 PM EST

They have historically had absolute veto power over any reform, rule, or law of the land, because Iran is an Islamic Republic. It is not, and makes no claim to be, a democracy.

See Section 9, Article 114, and others (I haven't had a chance to browse them all).

Whoops. So sorry. Have a nice day, dude!

PS : Your one True God is your constitution. You can call it whatever you like, but you're beholden to it. You might see it another way, but that's a matter of your perceptions.

PS Iranians aren't forced to follow the rule of law laid down in constitution like you are, they're forced to follow the decisions made by the ruling clerics who filter laws in exactly the same way.

I'm simply astounded that you can't see the obvious similarities between the two.



Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
constitutionalism (4.60 / 5) (#151)
by aphrael on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:08:43 PM EST

Yes, you're right to a certain extent; our constitution is on some level profoundly anti-democratic.

This is in many respects a feature. The limitations on democracy are designed to ensure that, in some mass hysteria, the people don't give up their rights and freedoms, because they *can't*. Someone will step in and say, look, here's a founding principle that's violated by that law, so the law is invalid.

As an example, consider the popular hysteria over children accessing pornography in the 90s. Congress has tried several times to pass laws restricting access to pornography on the internet; several times the courts have said, basically, "the people of this country said that free speech is a founding principle, and this law is inconsistent with that, so the law is invalid."

This is a perfectly reasonable check on the power of the legislature, and you are absolutely correct that this is structurally analagous to the role the grand council plays in Iran.

The difference, though, is this: in the US, if the people decide that [x] is no longer valid as a founding principle, there is a means for them to change it (via amendment), and those changes are only required to be vetted by the people; there is no institutional agency which must approve them. In Iran, constitutional changes must be approved by the council --- which makes changes to the power of the council next to impossible, as it would have to voluntarily agree to those changes.

Also, in the US, if the courts become significantly out-of-touch with popular opinion, there are legal mechanisms which can force them back into line; the jurisdiction of courts can be changed, new members can be added, etc. These are weapons which are very seldom used, but they *can be* used; there is no analog in the Iranian constitution if the Grand Council's views of what 'founding principles' are and the people's views diverge.

Both of these make the American constitution *significantly* more flexible than the Iranian one. (And I won't even get into the question of the courts vetting political candidates, for which there is *zero* analog in the US system).

[ Parent ]

Few other things (none / 0) (#172)
by strlen on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:25:56 PM EST

In addition, in Iran, the rule of clerics is to limit freedom, and ensure a theocracy, wheras the rule of the constitution is quite the opposite: to ensure individuals enjoy as much freedom as possible, and to ensure that this isn't a theocracy.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
your distinction (none / 0) (#203)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 05:23:29 PM EST

your distinction is a distinction of content; the distinctions I was talking about were distinctions of form.

The US has this annoying habit of criticizing forms because it dislikes the content being placed in that form, even though it uses very similar forms itself.

[ Parent ]

One word: Iraq. (none / 0) (#180)
by gr3y on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 02:40:05 AM EST

Section 9, Article 114:

The President is elected for a four-year term by the direct vote of the people. His re-election for a successive term is permissible only once.

The people of Iraq just "re-elected" Saddam Hussein. Does that make Iraq a democracy? No? That's because having a vote doesn't mean anything if you can only vote for a dictator, or a figurehead.

It's obvious you don't know what you're talking about, and have no sense of perspective. I'm forced to wonder if it's because you have no knowledge of the history of Iran since the overthrow of the Shah. I'd educate you, but I feel it would be pointless.

PS : Your one True God is your constitution. You can call it whatever you like, but you're beholden to it.

Of course you, in your position as a perfect stranger, based on the relatively few words I've posted here, know this for fact. I reiterate what I said before: it's obvious you don't know what you're talking about, and you really shouldn't extend this argument any farther.

PS Iranians aren't forced to follow the rule of law laid down in constitution like you are, they're forced to follow the decisions made by the ruling clerics who filter laws in exactly the same way.

That's a "post-post-scriptum", isn't it, a "PPS"? In any case, I doubt the ten minutes of research you did on the internet has adequately prepared you to discuss the reality of the political situation inside Iran, since you equate "theocratic republic" with "democratic republic", and are incapable of seeing any difference between the two.

I'm simply astounded you haven't offered a single fact to support your argument that is not trivially refuted.

Cheers.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Excuse me? (none / 0) (#212)
by EriKZ on Mon Nov 25, 2002 at 11:16:33 PM EST


"Your one True God is your constitution. You can call it whatever you like, but you're beholden to it. You might see it another way, but that's a matter of your perceptions."

No, really, it's not a simple matter of perception. Why don't you go to those religious zealots and suggest they amend one of "God's Laws" because you think it's wrong.

I don't see the problem, after all, the US has "Amendments", and you're saying they're basically the same. Of course, you're very, very wrong.


[ Parent ]

The obvious difference being... (3.16 / 6) (#66)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 09:03:18 PM EST

...that my rule of law that 'supercedes' the democratic process also reinforces the democratic process, rather than undermining it to accomodate the unilateral whims of God-talking-guys.
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

What would a post-Ayatollah Iran look like? (4.33 / 6) (#39)
by goonie on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 06:44:25 PM EST

Many countries who throw off brutal, oppressive regimes seem to screw it up for themselves afterwards. The ones that succeed seem to be the ones with a reasonably well-educated populace and build a strong economy. Does Iran fit into that category? Socially, how liberal would the country be? Liberal enough to be able to join the modern world?

Yes (4.10 / 10) (#42)
by strlen on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 07:06:32 PM EST

Ever spoken to an Iranian, even a recent immigrant? Most of them are very well educated. Iran should do very well if they shrug the hard-line Isalmists rulers. They already had  a secular government under the shah, problem was that it was also a totalitarian government. Iran already has a decent economy, and a good manufactureing sector. They manufacture their own fighter planes, for instance. There's also a good amount of cities, etc.. If there's any place in Middle East that's ready to become a full liberal demoracy, it's Iran.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Re: Yes (4.00 / 5) (#47)
by El Volio on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 07:24:14 PM EST

My high school calculus teacher was from Iran. He used to tell us that when the Ayatollah took power and the students were in the streets shouting, "Yankee go home!", he said, "Yes, and take me with you!"

My (admittedly limited) experience with Iranians matches well with what you're saying. This is not Afghanistan; Iran is a wholly different place, and one where subtle changes are accumulating over time. Let's also remember that this is Persia, and many Iranians take their heritage as such fairly seriously -- at least with a dollop of pride, anyway, as they should.

[ Parent ]

Indeed (4.00 / 4) (#49)
by Arthur Treacher on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 07:48:32 PM EST

Although many smart, educated Iranians left Iran when the shah fell from power, many did not.  I did some programming for an Iranian woman who owned a small computer company in the 80's; she was from a family of mostly university educated professionals, many of whom had chosen to remain in Iran.

"Henry Ford is more or less history" - Bunk
[ Parent ]
They've already done that. (4.90 / 10) (#55)
by gr3y on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 08:14:54 PM EST

The Iranians threw off the brutal, oppressive regime of the Shah.

Yes, they screwed it up afterwards. I only mention this because perhaps it is the nature of rebellion that the years immediately succeeding a successful rebellion (or indeed the suppression of one) are full of turmoil - old scores are settled leading to a new generation of scores to settle.

However, Iranians are educated (overseas) if their families are wealthy enough, seem to be moderate to right in their political views (a small Christian minority in the country is tolerated - as are the Zoroastrians, and even some of the dreaded Sunni Muslims which constitute most of the Muslim population of the rest of the Arab world, and with whom Shi'a Muslims have profound theological differences), and have a proud history and culture, including some of the world's finest acknowledged poetry. In my opinion, Iranians are not "liberal" as most Americans think of the word, but are right of middle because their religion is more central to their government, philosophy, and culture, and Islam is more conservative and uniform than religion in America.

The students in Iran were the Ayatollah's supporters, and they are now Khatami's supporters. I hope change is imminent. Iran's history and culture is an ancient and beautiful one, but their present government is no less repressive than the Shah. They simply exchanged one brutal dictator for another (and a council of dictators).

If the students continue demonstrating, the government may respond. It ignores, to its peril, the will of the people, who want a free press, an end to corruption in the government, an end to the "elimination" of political "liabilities"...

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

Re: Persians (4.66 / 6) (#58)
by graal on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 08:24:36 PM EST

Yes indeedy. Iranians bristle if you refer to them as "Arabs". They will correct you.

Also, I dug this article up (courtesy of Google) that mentions some of the Christian minorities in Iran. Last year, President Khatami met with the Pope in the Vatican.

--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

Check it out: (4.00 / 2) (#65)
by gr3y on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 08:47:07 PM EST

CIA world factbook article on Iran.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

thoughts (2.33 / 3) (#140)
by uniball vision micro on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:31:21 AM EST

"CIA world factbook article on Iran."

Who is educated and dosn't know about this source already. And how does this relate directly to the issue the article talks about.
"So far as the record goes, no lover of drinking has yet gone out into the night and shot himself as a gesture of protest" Gilbert Seldes, The Future of Drinking 1930
[ Parent ]

Persians (4.00 / 3) (#70)
by cam on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 09:13:20 PM EST

Yes indeedy. Iranians bristle if you refer to them as "Arabs".

My uncle is Iranian, he calls himself Persian.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

There is ... (4.33 / 3) (#109)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:41:22 AM EST

... a Jewish minority, as well as Christians and Zoroastrians. In spite of its theocratic nature, the Iranian regime seems to be pretty tolerant, although non-Shia do face some discrimination.  

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
The iranians (1.25 / 4) (#138)
by uniball vision micro on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:25:05 AM EST

"The Iranians threw off the brutal, oppressive regime of the Shah. "

Better than the Islamic fundamentalists. I trust a guy to at least be somewhat open to human reason. Religious fanatacis are not.

"Yes, they screwed it up afterwards. I only mention this because perhaps it is the nature of rebellion that the years immediately succeeding a
    successful rebellion (or indeed the suppression of one) are full of turmoil - old scores are settled leading to a new generation of scores to
    settle. "

Depending on the level of turmoil this can be a brutal thing. In Russia there was mass anarchy until they brutal communist thugs finally bludgeoned people into thinking their way they killed whole towns and wiped them off the map (some still havn't been found today as nobody really knew about them in the past).

"However, Iranians are educated (overseas) if their families are wealthy enough, seem to be moderate to right in their political views (a small
    Christian minority in the country is tolerated - as are the Zoroastrians, and even some of the dreaded Sunni Muslims which constitute most of
    the Muslim population of the rest of the Arab world, and with whom Shi'a Muslims have profound theological differences), and have a proud
    history and culture, including some of the world's finest acknowledged poetry. In my opinion, Iranians are not "liberal" as most Americans
    think of the word, but are right of middle because their religion is more central to their government, philosophy, and culture, and Islam is more
    conservative and uniform than religion in America. "

Which means that they are more open to social control than Americans and American like governments.

"The students in Iran were the Ayatollah's supporters, and they are now Khatami's supporters. I hope change is imminent. Iran's history and
    culture is an ancient and beautiful one, but their present government is no less repressive than the Shah. They simply exchanged one brutal
    dictator for another (and a council of dictators). "

The definition of "student" here is important. A person who attends a madrassa or who is heavily indoctrinated in Islamic thought isn't going to be the same person as a person who has a chance for a balanced education.

"If the students continue demonstrating, the government may respond. It ignores, to its peril, the will of the people, who want a free press, an
    end to corruption in the government, an end to the "elimination" of political "liabilities"... "

Yeah they just have to repress people enough and make public examples of those who get out of line. Then the rest of the rational people feel the mistake they have made.
"So far as the record goes, no lover of drinking has yet gone out into the night and shot himself as a gesture of protest" Gilbert Seldes, The Future of Drinking 1930
[ Parent ]

Didn't this already happen? (3.60 / 5) (#56)
by epepke on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 08:17:04 PM EST

I seem to remember something about a Shah in the 1970's and all sorts of protests about how horrible he was.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Why not? (4.77 / 9) (#68)
by cam on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 09:11:20 PM EST

Liberal enough to be able to join the modern world?

The Legislative is progressive, I dont know what the Iranian judicial is like. It appears that a theocratic executive is the arm of government that is screwing it up for the Iranians. If that is replaced their system of government is probably more progressive than most modern nations. Why shouldnt it succeed.

I was surprised when Bush put Iran in the axis of evil, I got the impression from world news that Iran was on the bubble of freeing themselves from theocracy and religious intrusion on state affairs. I think Iran will be the first Middle Eastern nation to join the western liberal tradition. It appears the Iranian people and legislative want that future enough.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

"Evil" Iran (4.00 / 7) (#76)
by sigwinch on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 10:06:47 PM EST

I was surprised when Bush put Iran in the axis of evil,....
The Bush administration has made it clear that the US is friendly towards the people of Iran. It is the theocratic tyrants, who have done evil things, they wish to remove from power.
...I got the impression from world news that Iran was on the bubble of freeing themselves from theocracy and religious intrusion on state affairs.
They certainly seem to be trying, and the government seems to be cautious about supressing them. Both are hopeful signs.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Clear as Mud (3.83 / 6) (#79)
by cam on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 10:48:26 PM EST

The Bush administration has made it clear that the US is friendly towards the people of Iran.

Clear enough that I didnt hear it.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Bush and Iran (4.00 / 2) (#101)
by sigwinch on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 04:13:10 AM EST

In the 2002 State of the Union address he said:
Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.
And on July 12 he said:
The people of Iran want the same freedoms, human rights, and opportunities as people around the world. Their government should listen to their hopes.
Naturally the latter statement was played up by the anti-American contingent as threatening the poor beseiged Ayatolla, and "backfiring" by bringing greater repression of the Iranian people.

Is that clearer?

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Re: Bush and Iran (5.00 / 2) (#154)
by Amesha Spentas on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:47:40 PM EST

The Bush administration has made it clear that the US is friendly towards the people of Iran.

Well this certainly is a change. The CIA imposed the Shah on Iran much to the dismay of people. Have we learned to stop meddling?

Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.

Nope. Sounds like he still wants to mettle. But this time he will say he is meddling "to topple terror." Instead of "To prevent the spread of Communism" like those leaders before him.
If The US stays out of Iran for the next revolution/evolution. I think that relations could/would certainly improve and the rule of the government would be much less totalitarian.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

It's been speculated the reason why is . . . (3.00 / 2) (#168)
by billman on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 07:09:49 PM EST

The Iranians don't want a US approved government.  If Bush comes out strongly supporting Iran's reformists it actually diminishes their power because many will feel they are simply pawns of the US.  The Iranain reformists need to come to power of their own doing and only after doing so can the US extend a hand of friendship and to greet them as equals.  

The US wants an ally in Iran.  It just can't look to the world like they are propping up a leader in Iran.  Many have asked why Iraq and not Iran.  This is why.  Regime change is coming.  No need to force it and take the backlash associated with it.  

[ Parent ]

National effacy (1.00 / 2) (#135)
by uniball vision micro on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:18:04 AM EST

"Many countries who throw off brutal, oppressive regimes seem to screw it up for themselves afterwards. The ones that succeed seem to be the
    ones with a reasonably well-educated populace and build a strong economy. Does Iran fit into that category? Socially, how liberal would the
    country be? Liberal enough to be able to join the modern world?"

It could the Shah wasn't so bad until he had difficulty with people and respect. Personally I believe that all these countries are just ruining themselves because they got rid of the Europeans that were running the show. They failed to realize that all the internal improvements and such were being done for them.
"So far as the record goes, no lover of drinking has yet gone out into the night and shot himself as a gesture of protest" Gilbert Seldes, The Future of Drinking 1930
[ Parent ]

All governments are U.S. governments (1.66 / 21) (#41)
by lvogel on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 07:05:27 PM EST

Thanks to the CIA, we can all rest knowing that they will help overthrow bad ones and put good ones in their stead. Isn't that what they've been doing all along? Isn't everyone sleeping well?

The only thing Iran is on the cusp of is Iraq and other border countries. Nothing new is going to happen.
-- ----------------------
"When you're on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog!"

-a dog

I agree.. (1.83 / 6) (#77)
by MessiahWWKD on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 10:24:03 PM EST

After all.. Compared to the USA, Iran is a Utopia! Sure, you might not have freedom of speech, but at least you have no DMCA law! Same with Britain! They might be creating Big Brother, but at least they don't allow businesses to protect their intellectual property, thereby allowing us Lunix hackers to create something worth using!
Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
IHBT (none / 0) (#113)
by anonimouse on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:22:35 AM EST

..but Britain and the EC are proposing/ have implemented similar DMCA legislation.
~
Sleepyhel:
Relationships and friendships are complex beasts. There's nothing wrong with doing things a little differently.
[ Parent ]
I have a solution (2.33 / 6) (#83)
by elzubeir on Thu Nov 14, 2002 at 11:42:34 PM EST

The students lynch the goddamn clerics, execute them in public (make sure they call all the international and local news networks).

Then they should turn Iran into a communist anti-religious extremist country. After all, it seems that Iran has been swinging from one extreme to another.. wonder when they'll find the balance.

On a serious note though, Iran is by far the most promising of all the 'Islamic' republics in terms of how they 'relatively' respect their constitution and system.

'Islamic' republics (none / 0) (#141)
by Amesha Spentas on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:59:07 AM EST

Isn't Iran the only 'Islamic' republic? The other countries are either Islamic or republic or none of the above.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

Pakistan (4.00 / 2) (#159)
by Lode Runner on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:25:11 PM EST

officially calls itself an "Islamic Republic."

[ Parent ]
Ahh.... (none / 0) (#161)
by Amesha Spentas on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:04:44 PM EST

Thanks. I did not know that.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

Constitutional loophole (3.85 / 7) (#87)
by David McCabe on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:48:25 AM EST

It seems that many of the rights granted in their constitution are succeded with `except as provided by law'. What kind of a constitution is one where large portions of it may simply be overridden by legistrature? What's the point of having it there?

Heh (4.50 / 2) (#89)
by sticky on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 01:16:13 AM EST

Canada actually has just such a constitution. Not only can the rights guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms be subjected to "reasonable limitations" by the courts, but the Notwithstanding Clause actually allows for completely overriding those rights by legislatures with a 2/3 majority vote.


Don't eat the shrimp.---God
[ Parent ]
Still Fair (none / 0) (#123)
by virg on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:06:55 AM EST

> Not only can the rights guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms be subjected to "reasonable limitations" by the courts, but the Notwithstanding Clause actually allows for completely overriding those rights by legislatures with a 2/3 majority vote.

Geez, how much more do you want? Overriding rights by 2/3 majority seems fair, since you'd have a really hard time getting such a large group to go along with an idea that it probably wouldn't happen very often.

Heck, even the U.S. can amend the Constitution by that level of consent.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Nuh-uh. (none / 0) (#213)
by vectro on Tue Dec 03, 2002 at 02:45:25 PM EST

It takes 2/3 of the Congress to propose an amendment, but to actually amend the constitution requires ratification by 3/4 of the states. See here: US Constitution, Article V.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Canadian Constitution. (4.00 / 1) (#136)
by israfil on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:19:11 AM EST

...notwistanding such limitations [to rights] as can be reasonably justified in a free and democratic society.

The above has a LOT to do with culture of legal applicability.  The Iranian situation is comparable, but with a vastly different tradition of application of overrides.

i
i. - this sig provided by /dev/arandom and an infinite number of monkeys with keyboards.
[ Parent ]

As far as I can tell (4.50 / 2) (#114)
by daragh on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:50:18 AM EST

While the US-ian constitution may not actually have such a clause, it seems that this is how it effectively operates. E.g. the US government calls you an enemy combatant as per recent legistation, and they suspend many of your constitutional rights...

No work.
[ Parent ]

Oh COME ON. (3.40 / 5) (#122)
by derek3000 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:01:14 AM EST

While the US-ian constitution...

Enough already, for chrissakes.

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars
[ Parent ]

Alright (5.00 / 1) (#124)
by daragh on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:14:41 AM EST

The Constitution of the United States of America.

Happy now?

No work.
[ Parent ]

Thank you. (3.00 / 2) (#128)
by derek3000 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:37:20 AM EST

Honestly.

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars
[ Parent ]

so now answer the question (3.00 / 1) (#157)
by Shren on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:16:07 PM EST

The constutional rights of US citizens is eroded all the time by the application of new laws. Don't asset forfiture laws make a mockery of the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure? Could the only difference in this regard be that Iran is honest about it?

[ Parent ]
Nuh-uh. (none / 0) (#198)
by derek3000 on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 08:54:19 AM EST

Could the only difference in this regard be that Iran is honest about it?

Of course not. America is the greatest country in the world, and Iran isn't. That's another difference.

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars
[ Parent ]

Maybe you are unfamiliar with (3.00 / 4) (#163)
by emad on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:50:13 PM EST

the concept of amendments in the constitution of the US?

[ Parent ]
Possible revolution in Iran... (2.57 / 7) (#88)
by bunsen on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:56:12 AM EST

...and me without my Ayatollah Assahola shirt!

(Though a company called Zion Direct seems to still be printing them, and selling them through ebay.)

---
Do you want your possessions identified? [ynq] (n)

Attention all K5 dilletantes. (4.11 / 17) (#90)
by Apuleius on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 01:34:18 AM EST

Not only are hundreds of thousands of Iranians risking their lives to try to bring a better future to their country, but there is now a guy getting set to become this revolution's martyr. So maybe, just maybe, you can look past your own noses, think about this situation a little more deeply, and find something less inane to say than your oh-so-clever comparisons of the Mullas versus the current US administration.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
Be careful what you wish for (4.56 / 16) (#92)
by epepke on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:45:53 AM EST

A hell of a lot of people risk their lives or even sacrifice them to try to bring a better future.

Damned few people ever do anything that has much likelihood of actually bringing a better future.

All of the angry, teeth-gritting Iranians I remember from 1978 in the infinite corridor at M.I.T. were desperately serious about getting rid of the bad old Shah and bringing in a Nu-Perfect Shiite Regime. Trouble is that it wasn't so hot when they got what they wanted. Now it's about to happen again, and the revolution is going to be Just Peachy this time around. Hallelujah, hosannah, hooray.

Earnest belief and self-sacrifice impress a lot of people, that is until they get old enough and see enough happen that they realize that the majority of it is complete bullshit. To paraphrase Neil Gaiman, it isn't enough to have your heart in the right place if your brain is somewhere with a lot of dust and spiders that doesn't get much light. Dying for a cause is a hell of a lot cheaper and easier than living for one, and there are far more people willing to do it than there are who are willing to put in the hard work actually to do something.

So, now, Iran is at the cusp, just about ready to become a modern democracy. Fine, but I've heard it before. I hear that China is on the verge of becoming this wonderful economic powerhouse every five years or so. Every year for the past decade I've heard someone claim that they'll have a cold-fusion water heater within a year. Moore's Law has been coming to an end for 15 years, and we've been on the verge of running out of oil for at least 30. Maybe some of these things may actually happen, but until then, a good dose of cynicism is not only appropriate but entirely rational.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Action is better than sitting on your ass waiting (2.66 / 3) (#103)
by NaCh0 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 04:18:59 AM EST

Do you have a better solution than praying to Allah that the oppresion will automatically stop some day? How else should a country change from within?
--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
[ Parent ]
By all means, change... (2.33 / 3) (#108)
by synaesthesia on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:35:13 AM EST

...but to make the obvious point: those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
Shifting slowly to a liberal society (4.66 / 3) (#111)
by svampa on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:06:00 AM EST

The current regime is more liberal than Ayatola Homeini's was. Iran regime has been slowly shifting to freedom, if there is stability, next leaders will be a little more liberal, and so on.

In west countries we have a misconception. Those regimes are not a dictatorship hated by people, that leads the country only because the strength of its army, they are usually supported by a big lot of people, and ignored by even more people. If the reaction against regime is from a small group, but not a feeling from the whole society, that sees west as vampires that suck oil and jeopardices their cultural identity, it will be usefull only to fill west newpapers titles.

It's the society what must change, if they only try change the regimen it will go worse. Protest is a way to change society, but If there are riots and violence, the regime will use violence, people will think "We were in peace, all those pro-USA should be hanged" and everything will go backward.

Slow but firm changes are better than revolutions.



[ Parent ]
Regimen, regime (none / 0) (#125)
by lordpixel on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:14:42 AM EST

BTW:

Typically a regimen is a system of repeated behaviour or training, whereas a regime is a government or period of rule.

Hence: this diet regimen makes me feel like I'm living under some kind of milatry regime.

Or even spell it régime if you prefer.

I am the cat who walks through walls, all places and all times are alike to me.
[ Parent ]

Aren't we the smug spell-checker (5.00 / 1) (#177)
by dmr on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 12:10:31 AM EST

BTW: Typically a regimen is a system of repeated behaviour or training, whereas a regime is a government or period of rule.

Hence: this diet regimen makes me feel like I'm living under some kind of milatry regime.

The original post used regime correctly (if without the accent) several times before making what is clearly a typo. What's your excuse for "milatry"?

[ Parent ]

hmmm, I guess I was bored. (none / 0) (#208)
by lordpixel on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 11:21:48 AM EST

I usually only nitpick on Tuesdays.

I apologise. It was a pointless comment.

I am the cat who walks through walls, all places and all times are alike to me.
[ Parent ]

Why ask me? (5.00 / 1) (#179)
by epepke on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 01:49:34 AM EST

Although in principle I agree with svampa, I'm not an Iranian insider. I'm a Westerner. Therefore, anything I could suggest would probably be labeled 1) useless, and 2) bad Western influence, pretty much by definition.

If I were dictator of the planet, I would support worldwide mobility for every person alive. Not only would it give everyone the chance to try out different systems, but it would provide a natural, non-coercive antagonist to the "homeland" fixation that seems to be at the root of most of the world's problems. But I'm not the dictator of the planet.

Which is just as well, because I like those Dead White European Male ideas of secular governments, with real constitutions with teeth that get some basic rights down pat, tolerance of difference and respect for the rights of the individual over the oh-so-gratifying shrieks of the mob that play such a pivotal role in all revolutions. Don't bother to tell me that makes me bad; I've heard it plenty of times already.

As far as doing something's being better, well, the graveyards of the world are chock full of people who were killed by people who got things done. And, by the way, the belief of the revolution as a deus ex machina is a perfect setup for the next batch of repressive goons. But that's my Western liberalism talking, and as just about every leftist knows, it's evil.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Angry, teeth-gritting Iranians (none / 0) (#160)
by Amesha Spentas on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:03:53 PM EST

All of the angry, teeth-gritting Iranians I remember from 1978 in the infinite corridor at M.I.T. were desperately serious about getting rid of the bad old Shah and bringing in a Nu-Perfect Shiite Regime. Trouble is that it wasn't so hot when they got what they wanted. Now it's about to happen again, and the revolution is going to be Just Peachy this time around. Hallelujah, hosannah, hooray.

Nahh, All of those Iranians were killed by Iraq in their 8-year war. Unfortunately the US didn't give Saddam enough chemical weapons to do a complete job, so some lived and their kids are now rebelling against them. Kind of like the US, kids rebelling against their parents each generation. If Bush can keep his hands off Iran, this revolution might allow the US and Iran to begin a friendly relationship.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

Geez. (1.37 / 16) (#95)
by Namagomi on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:04:54 AM EST

You really need to shut up. Usonia? I mean, what's the point?

----
There is no #nekomimi cabal.
They have eight years to brainwash him (2.00 / 1) (#118)
by truffle on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 08:15:55 AM EST

Into recanting and being a good little drone.

meow

Uhhh.... (none / 0) (#131)
by Amesha Spentas on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:01:51 AM EST

They have eight years to brainwash him

Isn't that what the last twenty were supposed to do? This looks real.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

Wait a generation (4.57 / 7) (#137)
by dcheesi on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:20:08 AM EST

My personal theory with these situations is that the first uprising will always fail. Even though the new generation wants to overthrow the regime, the older generation which is in power still remembers the revolution, and they won't/can't let go. The uprising is crushed, and the young ones are forced to give up and try to fit in. It's only when all of the original revolutionaries are dead that true change can occur. Then when the next generation revolts, the ones in power wake up and remember their own youthful idealism, and enough of them side with their kids to make something happen.

This is what happened in Russia & eastern Europe. The Prague Spring, etc., were squashed, but a generation later, the leaders and the military were seeded with one-time reformers who remembered when they were on the other side of the fence. Another example would be Tiananmen Square in China; it was the 'first' revolt, which ended violently. If there is a major uprising in Iran now, I predict that it will be crushed as well. It might be better if they could skip that bloody first attempt; but then who knows if the later attempts would succeed as easily?

"First uprising"? (3.50 / 2) (#170)
by mesozoic on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:13:35 PM EST

Remember that the current government of Iran is the direct result of an Islamic fundamentalist uprising in the 1970s.  Before that, Iran was a progressive, modern, and relatively stable Western Arab nation.  If their development hadn't been derailed by religious fundamentalism, they would probably have become a fairly self-sufficient nation by now, with stable ties to the world economy and a strong middle class.

Instead, the old farts control the military and the high courts, and all the young people (who desperately want to reintegrate with Western culture) have to live their lives in utmost secrecy.

This isn't a first uprising; this is a growing backlash against the uprising.  But you're right that it will take time for the progressive elements of Iranian culture to reform the country.

One thing that will probably accelerate their efforts, however, is - surprise surprise - a successful ouster of Saddam Hussein.  Should Iraq's current regime fall, Iraqis will be treated to a degree of economic freedom almost unheard of in the Arab world.  Their neighbors (and long-time  enemies) in Iran will say, "Hey, if they've got democracy, a stable economy, and better standards of living, we want that too!"  People who previously sat on the sidelines of the Iranian debate will find a modernized Iraq all the more reason to support reforms in their own country.

"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right." -- Salvor Hardin, Isaac Asimov's Foundation
[ Parent ]

Few corrections.. that should be noted (5.00 / 3) (#175)
by little jackal on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:39:42 PM EST

To begin with, The Government of Iran that was ousted in 1970 was NOT a democratic, progressive or modern state. It had good relations with the west, that much is true, but only because in return for the cheap oil they provided for the USA, they were showered with military gear. In fact, in many respects that government was much worse than what is in place right now.

Now as for the revolution, any study of it will reveal that it was not a religious uprising to begin with but was steered in that direction in the final stages. (there is an open question on who was behind it!)
By looking at the situation the way you have , you will miss the important point. The 1970 revolution was to achieve some sort of democracy, to overthrow an oppressive Feudal system (also known as a Monarchy) and to give the power to the people and not a select few. So, the ideals of a democratic state are still within the "old-timers" that were riotting in the streets in 1970! In fact, the attitude of most youth today is more passive than their parents were in the 1960's Iran.

I don't know what will become of this series of events, but I hope it will awaken more of the youth there.

PS. I'm not so sure the young people "desperately want to reintegrate with Western culture" : To eat McDonalds, shop at the GAP and wear Nike shoes. Soon after will come the SUV and god knows what next! -lj

the shared gravitational mass would create a supercluster of obese bodies with all the remaining fit bodies orbiting around it. -skewedtree
[ Parent ]

Good point. Here's why it won't repeat. (none / 0) (#183)
by mesozoic on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 04:33:59 AM EST

Whether you like it or not, back then, governments like the US could afford to ignore what happened in Iran as long as they provided oil. That's what happened. In the wake of terrorism, however, I think Americans (or at least some of us) have realized that we can no longer afford to ignore places like the Middle East.

I think this is a reasonable statement. By providing oil money to oppressive regimes like Iraq--or like our 'friends' in the House of Saud--we give extremists a reason to blame us for the problems facing their people. It's true that not everything is our fault, but it makes us a convenient cultural scapegoat.

Now, if there were a democratic uprising in Iran tomorrow, I seriously doubt the US would choose to get heavily involved. We have to much at stake with Iraq to risk really pissing people off.

However, once we get rid of Saddam, you can bet your ass we're not going to let another dictator take over. Iraq is too valuable to be left to someone like Saddam Hussein; America has as much to gain from a democratic Iraq as the Iraqis do. We will probably have to fight a limited amount of reactionary terrorism, but only a fraction of what we are seeing in Afghanistan. Most Iraqis have been so beaten up by Saddam's regime that if (when) we begin to help rebuild their country, they'll be glad to have him gone.

So what happens when Iranians see that their neighbors are suddenly living freely and being helped to pick up the pieces? Suddenly the voices for democracy get louder. Public opinion shifts. When Iran does start to demand democratic changes for itself, I'm willing to bet the US will help.

This needs to be America's long-term goal: to win the public relations battle with the Arab people; to show them that a democratic way of life is infinitely preferable to terrorism; to prove to the masses that we can be a better ally than an enemy.

"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right." -- Salvor Hardin, Isaac Asimov's Foundation
[ Parent ]

Hilarity Ensues (none / 0) (#187)
by DominantParadigm on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 01:16:03 PM EST

Whether you like it or not, back then, governments like the US could afford to ignore what happened in Iran as long as they provided oil.

Uh, dude?

The US MADE IT HAPPEN in the first place!!!!!

Read the history of the place ; don't take my or anyone else's word for it though, find out what the CIA did in the final days , in their own words! , right before they got there sorry asses kicked out.



Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
Overstatement (none / 0) (#210)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 12:27:44 PM EST

Um, since the Shah's hold on power actualy predates the existence of the CIA (http://www.sedona.net/pahlavi/pahlera.html) don't you think that the statement "The US MADE IT HAPPEN in the first place!!!!! " is more then a bit of an exageration?

While we certainly played a significant role in keeping the Shah in power (the 1953 coup) we certainly didn't put him in power in the first place..... his father did that.... after he put himself in power with the support of loyal troops.

Really Britain and Imperial Russia probably had alot more to do with the direction Iran took than the U.S. did.

Let's try for a little bit of perspective rather then devolving into the typical Kuro "The U.S. is responsible for all the ills of the world" rant shall we?

Not trying to minimize the things that we have actualy done.... but it really is an absurdly oversimplistic and inaccurate view of the world to look at any particular messed up situation today, point your finger at the U.S. and say "they did it".

Even for situations in which the U.S. WAS heavly involved (like Iran) that sort of view is wildly inaccurate. It ignores thousands of years of recorded history before the U.S. was even a nation, the roles other powers played (the U.S. is not the only nation in the world... and wasn't even really considered a "Major Power" much before 1900) and the roles the peoples indiginous to that region themselves played.

[ Parent ]

Oh, one other thing. (none / 0) (#184)
by mesozoic on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 04:35:39 AM EST

Iraq is sitting on top of a significant portion of the world's oil supply.  They are the last people who would ever object to SUVs. :)

"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right." -- Salvor Hardin, Isaac Asimov's Foundation
[ Parent ]
Don't count on it (5.00 / 1) (#145)
by DesScorp on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:43:32 PM EST

There have been comparisons to the situation in Iran, and the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. Sorry, but it's a different situation. There was a great deal of sympathy for reform within the power structures of those communist countries. It takes the threat of violence from a unified and committed government and military to put down reform. If there are serious divisions within those ranks, then the public has a chance. Witness the attempted coup against Gorbachev in Moscow. Remember, the Red Army largely supported Yeltsin and the public, and so the coup failed.

Contrast this with Iran. The military/police/religious forces are pretty united, and very committed. If the govermnet orders the crackdown, the reform movement will be brutally put down, with no sympathy from the troops. The goverment has the guns, and the loyalty of the troops. Thus, for now, this "movement" is toast. Maybe things will improve in the future, but right now, don't hold your breath.

 
Go straight to Hell; Do not pass Go, Do not collect 200 Dollars

The parallel I had in mind... (3.00 / 2) (#148)
by graal on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:56:46 PM EST

...is Tiananmen Square. There are some interesting similarities: widespread student unrest centering around a popular figure who's run awry of the establishment. Here's hoping that the demonstrations in Iran a little differently, though.Why there hasn't been more coverage (and by coverage, I mean on the b00b t00b) is baffling to me. I wonder how the dynamics of the situation would change if the whole thing were being broadcast 'round the clock on CNN.

--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

The good news is..... (5.00 / 1) (#152)
by DesScorp on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:31:19 PM EST

Remember the Prague Spring of 1968? The seeds of democratic reform were planted within there before being brutally cracked down. When outside help (pressure from the West) put a dent in the armor of the communist goverments 20 years later, many of those same vets stepped up to the plate again, this time with the help of people that grew up with stories of that first attempt at freedom.

Hopefully, that's what we're seeing in Iran right now. The first steps to a thriving underground movement that's hard to crush. It'll probably take decades, but it can pay dividends eventually. On that day, I'll join you for a toast to their new freedom :)
Go straight to Hell; Do not pass Go, Do not collect 200 Dollars
[ Parent ]

Sudan too (none / 0) (#164)
by elzubeir on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:53:52 PM EST

Sudan is one of the 'better' examples of an Islamic republic. Of course, this is only relative to the Islamic world.

oops, wrong thread, ignore [n/t] (none / 0) (#165)
by elzubeir on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:54:32 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Re: Sudan (none / 0) (#171)
by strlen on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:22:52 PM EST

I may not be fully aware of the whole situation, but isn't there a quite bloody civil war in Sudan, and isn't there a problem with the Northerners, enslaving Southern blacks? I've read there was a whole slavery problem in Sudan.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
enslaving? (none / 0) (#199)
by elzubeir on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 08:55:02 AM EST

The North is enslaving the South in Sudan just like the North of the world is enslaving the South. But really, this is 'tribal' unrest that the government has no control over, thanks to American support to the rebels. Yes, all this 'slavery' stuff happens in the south, where the rebels are in control.. and we get blamed for it, go figure.

[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#202)
by strlen on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 11:49:54 AM EST

Thanks for the insight, into the situation. But then again, if there's a civil war, or some sort of other civil unrest, you can't say either side is without the blame. So you can't call Sudan a success, if there's such a civil unrest going on, on such a great scale.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Oh, no doubt (none / 0) (#207)
by elzubeir on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 10:29:26 AM EST

That is why I am stressting the 'relative' to the Islamic world aspect of it. But to make it evern more interesting, the Sudanese government has yet to call the civil war a civil war. They simply refer to it as a rebel movement. Also, if you are in the North, the only impact from the war is the economic one. There are no tanks and people with machine guys gunning people down. It's not exactly Beirut in the 80's.

[ Parent ]
Just the place for ..... (none / 0) (#188)
by jefu on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 02:28:29 PM EST

UNDERDOG!

Actually, it does sound like it might be a good place for people to try out non-violent civil disobedience.

An interesting strategy - one with credit for at least two major wins against "forces of darkness" (not sneer quotes) - Indian subcontinent independence and racial civil rights in the US.

Though both of these may have been sullied by reactions back into darkness of one sort or another - the Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi civil wars and difficulties and in the US a gaining of civil rights followed by violence (inner city riots) and other problems (drugs, gangs and the like).

And its not clear that either would have worked without at least the implicit threat of violence lurking behind.

Still the ideas behind it are interesting and tempting and it would be interesting to see if it is effective in another instance.

On the other hand, the government clearly has its senses about it too: 74 lashes would probably put Aghajari out of commission long enough to keep him out of the front pages after the first few weeks or so, then by delaying his martyrdom by execution, they're helping to keep things quiet even longer.

But does this remind anyone else of the "Hunting of the Snark" where the Snark sentences the pig :

"Transportation for life" was the sentence it gave,
"And then to be fined forty pound."
The Jury all cheered, though the Judge said he feared
That the phrase was not legally sound.

But their wild exultation was suddenly checked
When the jailer informed them, with tears,
Such a sentence would have not the slightest effect,
As the pig had been dead for some years.
(The "Snark" in all of its surreally funny awfulness is almost universally applicable.)

Ironical (none / 0) (#189)
by jefu on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 02:49:57 PM EST

Given access to the internet and PK cryptosystems, its also easy to see how this situation (or something similar) could also serve also as a way to test the efficacy of the internet as a subversive communications mechanism.

A PK encrypted message is perfectly suited for a bulletin board type thing - just post it suitable encrypted. Everyone can read the cryptotext and there is no indication of who it is intended for, but only the intended reader(s) can read it in plaintext.

Of course, the fact that governments everywhere are restricting cryptography, censoring the internet and the like will make it harder to do such things. Its interesting how its easy for the politicians and police (secret or not so secret) to see open communications as a threat to themselves, but not at all easy for them to see the same thing as a threat to those they dislike.

But then, I'm an idealist about such things - I'd personally like to see the US government, instead of bombing Iraq with bombs, to use the money instead and build cheap internet web browsers with capabilities for satellite download (and ideally satellite upload using narrow band (laser?) communications), then drop a million or two of them into Iraq. Set up the right cryptosystem stuff, and build a few "iraqi interest" bulletin boards. Or do the same kind of thing in Iran and see what happens.

Give us a chance, it would, to see if that freedom of speech and the like can really serve as an effective deterrent to dictatorship. My bet is that it would - though it might take some time. Still, one of the problems always cited with just removing Saddam Hussein is that there is no reasonable alternative for creating a government - might this kind of communications help in that?

On the other hand, in a rather speedier scenario, imagine such a system were built and deployed, then advertise an award of a million dollars and a US passport (new identity, of course) for anyone who posts the location of a factory, stockpile or deployment location for those oft mentioned "weapons of mass destruction". Or for someone reporting a terrorist attack in the works.



[ Parent ]

round and round and round we go... (none / 0) (#206)
by p7 on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 12:41:59 AM EST

so, is the CIA going to sponsor this revolution, just like they sponsored the rise of Saddam Hussein, the Taliban (and before - and after - them the mujihadeen of the Northern Alliance), Pakistan's decidedly undemocratic military junta..? still, it gives the military a few compliant targets at which to lob techno-toy weapons of mass destruction and kill off a few useless illegaly combatant children and wedding guests. Shrub can then have a bit of a froth at the mouth about a crusade aginst islam until his puppeteers manage to edit the program so he outputs war.on.terror instead. here's a tip, Shrub lad - to stop terrorists, we don't sell them weapons. Novel, ain't it?

Is Iran on the cusp? | 213 comments (191 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
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