Posted by: Cobb County Liberal | June 22, 2009

Ashamed of my fellow Americans, we are all Iranians.

Saturday and Sunday I went down to the CNN center in Atlanta to protest what’s been going on Iran.  If you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, then you probably aren’t reading this blog in the first place.  Look at the links below for some insight.

I was one of the only non-Iranians there Sunday (I think there were two of us), and one of the handful there Saturday.  On Saturday, I was told by a college-aged female wearing the traditional head scarf, “Thank you for being here.  It means so much to us to see non-Iranians out here supporting us.”   Sunday, on my way out, I was told by an elderly Iranian man, “Thank you.  Thank you for being here.”  I replied a meager, “Thank you,” as I scurried off to the MARTA station, and he yelled as I walked away, “THANK YOU AGAIN!”

I stood out both days.  There’s not a chance someone could mistake me for an Iranian – I’m a gigantic (in both height and weight) whitey.  Each day, standing down there at CNN, I was struck by the complete and total lack of non-Iranians.

How are people not standing up and screaming about these atrocities?  Have they not read the same accounts online that I have?  Have they not seen the pictures?  Have they not seen the videos I’ve seen?  Have they not seen Neda?  I almost threw up seeing that video, and that video is what made me give up a total of four hours out of my weekend to stand outside in the heat waving a sign?   [Saturdays – “The answer to a peaceful protest is not a cruel crackdown” and Sunday’s, more drive by friendly, “STOP the BLOODSHED.”]

I’ve been asked by friends about why I’m protesting.  As I explained to a dear friend, “Although many there will be directly protesting the election, at this point I am not.  I am protesting the inhumane violence coming from the crackdown, and I am going today to show my support for the Iranian people.”

Why weren’t there more people like me protesting?  A relatively normal (albeit hyper-liberal) corporate Caucasian?  Yes, we got a lot of honks from other folk like me (although my purely anecdotal evidence showed me that African Americans were much more likely to honk in support than Caucasians) but they wouldn’t give any sort of time out of their day to park their car, come on over, and protest with us.

Why.  That’s the question running through my head right now.  Why not?

Is it because it’s dealing with Iran, a country that our country loathes?  And although these Iranians are protesting Iran, did they tune out over hearing that it was about Iran?  And once they saw internal turmoil in Iran, they either didn’t care or said “big surprise” and turned the channel to the US Open?  Is it just plain ignorance and haven’t seen the stories, videos, or pictures?

Is it because they don’t think we should interfere in other countries, where we might do more harm than good?  (Like we did in Europe during WW2?  Kosovo?)  I do agree that the official position of the US should not have been confrontational all throughout last week, but that was thrown out the window on Saturday in my humble opinion, when so much blood was shed in the streets.  Murdering a single soul who has done nothing wrong other than speak their mind is wrong.  We don’t need the official position of the United States Government to be that it is wrong for us as fellow human beings to say that it is wrong.  The people of America standing in solidarity with the people of Iran has nothing to do with our official government policy.

No matter how I try to explain it away, it just comes back to this – they’re Iranian.  And we’re not.  So why should we care?  When will people get past petty ethnic divisions and see people for the people they are?  What makes me any different from Neda, shot to death in the streets of Tehran?

I have a feeling if this kind of thing was happening in say, Great Britain, there would be mass demonstrations happening spontaneously all across America.  But because it’s Iran, it’s not as important.  It’s either racism or religious bigotry (my money’s on the latter.)  And that disgusts me.

I’m ashamed.  What has become of my fellow countrymen and women?  We have lost our soul in America.  Our self-professed gleaming beacon of freedom has become a flickering candle.  Where are the millions in the streets, protesting the brutal murder of innocents?  Protesting the brutal theocratic dictatorship that is killing our brothers and sisters?  Taking a couple of hours to stand outside in the heat, a minor inconvenience, to show that we do stand together with our brothers and sisters risking their lives to protest injustice.  If they can risk their lives protesting in the streets of Iran dodging bullets and tear gas, why cant just 1% of Americans risk just two hours in the heat, dodging the occasional car too close to the curb for our liking?

What has become of us America?

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