President Obama responded to the Iranian crisis by aptly quoting Martin Luther King:
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
The universe will always bend toward justice – it may be a long trek and it will inevitably cost millions of lives, it will result in brutal, vicious, and unspeakable crimes against humanity, and it will wreak destruction and havoc on nations and it will show no mercy in its struggle to survive, but it will, sooner or later, survive, and it will bend toward justice. I fervently pray for Iran that it is sooner.
I am cautiously and optimistically watching the events in Iran. I remember the days of the American ally, the Shah of Iran, who was deposed in 1979 in the Islamic Revolution – a revolution which thrust Iran back into the hard line policies of the Ayatollahs and the denigration and subjugation of women.
My sons were not old enough to really be interested in this event. But I well remember seeing the Shah of Iran – right or wrong – an American ally, propped up by American interests – being deposed and sent into exile. In those days, Iran was our “friend”, our “ally.”
The Islamic Revolution of 1979 was quick, and it surprised the West and its allies. Just as this current uprising has been quick and has surprised the world with its ferocity and its tenacity. Mir Hossein Mousavi – leader of the movement – is ready for martyrdom, and he understands that his life may be offered up as testimony to his beliefs. He knows, just as Benizir Bhutto knew, just as Burmese activist Aung San Suu Ky knows, that there are causes that are just and right and are worth the ultimate sacrifice.
Am I espousing ethnocentricity at this point? Yes, I am. I believe that people should be free, but it should be of their own choice and making – such as is occurring now in Iran. I believe that according to the Declaration of Independence “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That the word “men” now includes all genders and all races and all ethnicities.
Sooner or later, the people will rise against tyranny that is in place. Sooner or later it truly is “power to the people.” Sooner or later, the people arise and throw off the yoke of tyranny.
I remember the taking of 52 Americans for 444 days beginning on November 4, 1979, and ending seconds after Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency on January 20, 1981. President Carter’s ill-fated attempt to rescue the hostages prevented him from a second term. Who can doubt that if his rescue attempt had been successful, he would have won a second term?
Am I also espousing the rights and dignities of women? Yes, I am. The world should not support and encourage the second-class citizenship of women. Women are not property – women are human beings and deserve to be treated with the same respect and dignity that are accorded to men.
So I anxiously await the outcome because I know at the very root of all justice is the ability of the people to rise up and claim what is rightfully theirs – equality, justice, and freedom.