FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Being History with Iran

Anti-war rally in Chicago.

We went to Iran because you have to see these places before the U.S. blows them up, and it’s very good to see you here today in downtown Chicago, that’s also precious, for a similar reason.

Because we have reason to believe that when Iran goes, a lot of other places go as well.  Every war the U.S. begins – even the relatively mild ones (and this is a blasphemy to say this, but the relatively mild ones like Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and not the one that seems to be coming) – is another nail in the airless coffin of climate change, that the world then cannot address in the limited time left to us to address it; is another railroad tie in the unswerving track toward nuclear apocalypse that comes with our retention of our nuclear weapons and our eager rush towards a new Cold War – and we’ve got hypersonic missiles now, so this one is gonna be fun; and the economic inequality that is driving our planet into a far right, I say fascist resurgence, and that’s before the crash that’s going to come someday if climate change is real, if markets are unstable, and especially if we shut off all the oil travelling through the Persian Gulf with an insane regional war one step away from the world war it could easily spark into.  And imagine a United States in another Great Depression with the politics we have now; imagine the world’s first fascist superpower with nukes.

So, everywhere in America there’s somebody saying “We are the future, they are the past.” The Democrats are saying it about the deplorable Republicans. I think the Republicans are saying it about the deplorable Democrats.  Everyone in America seems to be saying it about the late Qassem Soleimani and we’re all saying it about Iran!  Because we all seem to think that the West is a future that will be here forever and that will keep growing and increasing in wealth and sophistication while Iran is some sort of “past” that we can leave behind us.

But when I went to Iran they all seemed to think they were human beings living right now; who had a right to help shape and move on into the same future we hope to shape and move into.

What I learned visiting perhaps the most patriotic country on the planet is that Iranians are determined not to be pushed around by the United States.  A lot of them don’t want to be pushed around by their own government; and they’ve had some horrible ones.  In 1952 they pushed out the British and we overthrew their democratic government a year later.  In 1979 they tried it again with an Islamic revolution – a lot of the thinking was that ‘they can’t co-opt this’ – the West can’t co-opt this – this is a “Return to Ourselves” and something that they can’t take over – an anticolonialist gesture.  Whenever we get to be our most crazy and vile is when their hardliners take over and I include General Qassem Soleimani who was in the hardline right wing in that government. Every time (and whenever John Bolton is in power!) their worst leaders take over and become a plague to their people, but never as much a plague as their people fear the United States will be.

Our worst enemy is not the Iranian government but our own.  Iran’s worst enemy, and I wish I didn’t have to say this, is not the Iranian government but ours; and they know that; and maybe they could deal with their government of they didn’t have ours to deal with first.

I don’t want you to assume there will be an Iran in ten years.  I don’t want you to assume there will be a United States in ten years. I don’t want you to assume there will be an Iraq or a France or a Saudi Arabia or a China or a Honduras or a Venezuela or a Russia.  I wish there were, but I don’t know if anyone is the future now, with this horrible process steamrolling now.  If you wanted to be your best self: so America could be its best self and Iran could become its best self, you could do that in order that we could all move into a future; but you might want to do it just because I don’t know that you’re going to have that many chances left to be your bravest, most compassionate, humble, peaceful, and hardworking self.  Thank you.

A version of these comments were first delivered at the January 4th antiwar rally in Chicago of which Voices was a cosponsor.

 

More articles by:

Sean Reynolds is a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. He visited Iran in February 2019 as part of a CODEPINK delegation. He can be reached at: joveismad@juno.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
February 18, 2020
John Pilger
Julian Assange Must be Freed, Not Betrayed
Peter Harrison
Religion is a Repeating Chapter in the History of Politics
Norman Solomon
The Escalating Class War Against Bernie Sanders
Conn Hallinan
Irish Elections and Unification
Dean Baker
We Shouldn’t Have to Beg Mark Zuckerberg to Respect Democracy
Sam Pizzigati
A Silicon Valley Life Lesson: Money That ‘Clumps’ Crushes
Arshad Khan
Minority Abuse: A Slice of Life in Modi’s India
Walden Bello
China’s Economy: Powerful But Vulernable
Nicolas J S Davies
Afghan Troops say Taliban are Brothers and War is “Not Really Our Fight.”
Nyla Ali Khan
The BJP is Not India, and Every Indian is Not a Modi-Devotee
Binoy Kampmark
Buying Elections: The Bloomberg Meme Campaign
Jonah Raskin
Here’s Hoping
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Herakles in the Age of Climate Chaos
Bob Topper
The Conscience of a Conservative
John W. Whitehead
We’re All in This Together
Gala Pin
Bodies in Freedom: a Barcelona Story
Laura Flanders
Democracy, Dictatorship and Bloomberg
James Chandler
Among Cruel Children
February 17, 2020
Sheldon Richman
Anti-BDS Laws Violate Our Freedom
John Horning
NEPA is Our National Defense System

Evelyn Leopold
How the UN’s Middle East Peace Plan Was Trounced by Its Own Members
Stephen Cooper
“Just Mercy” and Justice Don’t Exist in Alabama
Patrick Cockburn
Sinn Fein’s Victory is Ireland’s ‘Brexit Moment’ When Left-Out Voters Turn on the Elite
Ralph Nader
“Democratic Socialism” – Bring it on Corporate Socialists!
Phillip Doe
Every Day’s a Holiday for the Oil Business in Colorado
Binoy Kampmark
Fashion Fetishism, Surgical Masks and Coronavirus
Cesar Chelala
The Democrats’ New Chapter
Robert Koehler
The Wall: Separating Democracy From Voters
Peter Cohen
Time to Retire the “He Can’t Beat Trump” Trope
Sr. Kathleen Erickson
Lessons From Ministering on the Border
Alvaro Huerta
Another Five Lessons for Democrats to Defeat Trump in 2020
Wim Laven
Donald Trump’s Plan for America: Make it Ignorant
Christopher Brauchli
You Tube’s Trump Predicament
Steve Klinger
Trump Shoots Romney at Prayer Breakfast; GOP Shrugs
Elliot Sperber
Ode to the City Bus 
James Haught
Megachurch Mess
Weekend Edition
February 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Mayor Mike, Worse Than Mayor Pete
Bruce E. Levine
“Sublime Madness”: Anarchists, Psychiatric Survivors, Emma Goldman & Harriet Tubman
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Leader of the Pack
Jennifer Matsui
The Doomsday Cuckoo Clock
Paul Street
Things Said in Confidence to 4000 Close Friends This Week
Jonathan Cook
Even With Corbyn Gone, Antisemitism Threats Will Keep Destroying the UK Labour Party
Thomas Klikauer
Cambridge Analytica: a Salesgirl’s Report
Joseph Natoli
Vichy Democrats vs. the Master Voice
David Rosen
Sanders vs. the Establishment Democrats: McGovern All Over Again?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail