By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
The turmoil in Iran continues. As Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim reported Monday for the Chicago Tribune, "Great rivers of people defied authorities Monday and poured into Tehran's Freedom Square chanting 'Death to the dictator!' and 'Give us back our vote!' in an unprecedented display of civil disobedience." Former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, who finished second to incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in last Friday's election, is calling for a general strike. Pro-democracy protesters, defying the ruling authorities, are keeping their movement alive—and the world informed—via Twitter and other social media platforms.
The ongoing popular uprising is unusual but unsurprising. The iron-fisted control exercised over the Iranian people by the ruling Guardian Council over the last several decades has marginalized and suppressed the nation's middle class and any pro-reform elements, creating a powder keg with the potential to erupt with enough force to dislodge the Islamic clerics who ultimately hold the reins of power.
Unfortunately, because the society is so closed, there is all too little information available to the average Westerner to provide a true picture of how bad things are. Until now.
A new motion picture, The Stoning of Soraya M., which is set to open in selected theaters on June 26, should erase all doubt that things in Iran need to change. The film relates the activities of an Iranian husband who, seeking to rid himself of his wife so that he could marry another, falsely accused her of adultery, and of the mullahs who occupied positions of authority in their town who supported his efforts. Chillingly, it is based on a true story that formed the basis of an international best-seller of the same name.
The film, produced by the same people responsible for Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ, is nothing short of heart-rending. It reminds us that there is real evil in the world—and should be a sobering experience for anyone who sees it. And it provides a much needed window on why millions of Iranians are gathering in Freedom Square and elsewhere, at considerable risk to their lives and liberty, in the hopes they can force a change in the regime that is suppressing the essence of the human spirit throughout the country.
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