The Current Discussion: What do your heart and head tell you as you look at pictures, videos, and other kinds of stories from Iran? Should the world help the protesters -- and how?
The street protests in Tehran again confirm the belief that freedom is a universal basic human need. No one and no people can live with their freedom suppressed for a long time. Sooner or later, they will revolt and press for their rights to freedom.
We saw this in the streets of Rangoon last year, and in Beijing in 1989. We have seen it in Eastern European capital cities, in Jakarta and in Manila and in many other places around the world at different times. In some countries, these movements led to a change in regime. In others it led to the brutal suppression of the demonstrators.
In Iran, it could still go either way. Of course we all wish for a happy ending.
The question we ask about Iran is whether this desire for freedom among the people has reached a critical mass to tip the balance in their favor, to the point where a brutal suppression would be so horrific even the rulers could not stomach.
How badly do the Iranians want to have their freedom? Some of the friends have already made the ultimate sacrifices. Will others press forward, or back off?
The rest of the world can only pray, express sympathy and moral support, but this is significant nevertheless to the Iranians to feel that they are not alone. At the end of the day, this is a battle that Iranians themselves have to wage.
The last thing they want is a perceived interference from outside, particularly the West, because this would be exploited by the rulers in Tehran to fire up nationalist sentiments. That usualy means a setback to the struggle for freedom itself.
The pro-freedom movements in Iran may lose this battle, but the war for freedom is never over. They have to keep trying again another day.
The same message of hope goes to Chinese, Burmese, North Koreans and other people living under tyrannical rules that deprive their freedom. They have just got to keep trying. And they should know that the free world is always with them.
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