Sunday, December 27, 2009

In Iran, a Test of Popular Sovereignty

Another day of violence and demonstrations in Iran. The NY Times is reporting at least 10 demonstrators killed, and opposition supporters report that one dissident leader was assassinated. Andrew Sullivan has an extensive collection of videos and firsthand reports.

The willingness of Iran's people to stand up against a fraudulent election and a despotic regime is remarkable and I admire their stand greatly, but I suspect that in the end they will be defeated. I think that a government does not need the support of a majority to stay in power, just a committed minority. I suspect 20% might even be enough, if they are sufficiently bold and firmly in control of the state. Events in Iran are putting this suspicion to the test. Iran's young population has suffered a long, slow disenchantment from their government, fed by high unemployment and rampant corruption. The stolen election provided a spark that set all this accumulated discontent alight. The protesters seem committed and bold, and there are several videos in circulation today that show them overwhelming the police and the regime's Baseej thugs. So we shall see.

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