Saturday, August 1, 2009

Busy Week in World Politics Challenging Governments

Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of IranImage via Wikipedia

Update, 9 AM: I come back a few hours after writing this post at 4 AM and what do I find for an ad by Google? Condoms by Trojan! Apologies to anyone who may be offended.

Actually, it made me laugh as it was a precursor to the "Richard Craniums" running the Iranian regime in the news story below. Gee, if I had known that Google would oblige me with a flashing ad I wouldn't have bothered to look around for a photo to include on the post! :) Richard Craniums? Polite, amusing term for the obvious... a girl has to keep her General Audiences rating.

From Denny: There has been a lot of political unrest around the globe this week, focused in the Middle East and Asia. Here are the latest developments.

Iran: Iran' opposition has been asking for help from the ruling council to deal with the Supreme Leader's decisions. Seems they are making headway as the Council has fractured in its unity, even to the point of declaring their views publicly, a bold move in a harsh regime of which they have helped build. Even they are beginning to wonder how they enabled this imbalance.

Of course, the government is not without it's pushback. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard has cracked down on the protestors to prove who's boss. They managed to scare off the thousands of protestors who dwindled down to a handful of a few hundred. The Guard also knocked on protestors' doors in the middle of the night, drug them out, imprisoned them without recourse or notification to families and tortured them while in custody.

Well, news of the torture ticked off the public sentiment to a new outrage high. So the Supreme Leader figured he was magnamimous by letting go 140 protestors of the thousands he rounded up. The public outrage clearly unnerved the Supreme Leader and the Council to fear for their own lives.

The government has swung back to the stupid meter area and decided to begin its first trials of the protestors they still have in custody. They wrung false recorded and televised confessions out of tortured imprisoned protestors and then let that group go "free" in the hopes of killing the opposition movement. All it did was fuel the fire in the whole country. With the trials coming up we can only imagine the coming developments in this now volatile situation.

This week the opposition movement did try to mourn the militia attacked woman who was killed during the first week of protests, Neva. The harsh hard line Revolutionary Guard broke up that demonstration. The opposition continues to find new ways - and excuses - for being out in public to protest, any anniversary will do. You have to admire their resiliency and determination against a proven brutal oppressive government that desires to grab all power at any cost.

The protestors have been successful at cracking the unity of the Council, caused the country to doubt the once infallible Supreme Leader and showcased the very reasons why its important to separate church and state when it comes to a national government: so no one can grab absolute power and wield it without question.

This week begins the protestors' trials - now labeled rioters by the government - on charges of "rioting and conspiring against the ruling system." We all can accurately predict the negative outcome of this rigged dog and pony show for television. The government wants the Iranian people to watch their government in action, not to prove how fair they are but rather to prove without a shadow of a doubt they have complete control over the quality of - and future of - every citizen's life. They hope to strike fear into everyone's heart, rounding up the anger, turning it into fear and respect and return to the way things used to be. That will never happen, not after so much abuse has happened. Stay tuned and expect interesting developments.

Malaysia: Just minutes ago there is rioting in Kuala Lumpur against the Internal Security Act. It was originally enacted during the British colonial era to guard national security. However, the protestors maintain that since that time, successive governments have used it to jail government critics and muzzle dissent.

Sounds like their current government is going the way of the Bush grab for absolute power too by enforcing this Act, not a pretty imitation either. The people are protesting the government's supreme ability to flex its muscles any time - which allows the imprisonment of people regarded as security threats, no questions asked.

That's how it started in Iran. That's how it started here in America and we still have our own political prisoners eight years later in legal limbo because we don't have enough evidence to charge and try them in closed or open court. Going down this road is a real mess and Malaysia continues to step squarely into the same stink. What has changed is the people's position and the desire to do something about this old law.

The protestors call themselves the Reformasi and by several news accounts they are about 20,000 strong today. The riot police used not only tear gas but also chemical-laden water to disperse the crowds. So far about 150 - 200 people have been detained by police since the protests began - by both the opposition and police accounts. "Undermining public peace" is the official reason the Prime Minister gives for not allowing the protests and giving police permission for a brutal crackdown.

Over the years small human rights groups within the country have challenged this law but never drawn the protest level until today when opposition parties' leaders sent out a call to their supporters to come out in force and the people responded forcefully.

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Malaysia, Middle East, Iran, Kuala Lumpur, Breaking News, Prime Minister, Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Society and Culture, international politics, protestors, Supreme Leader