Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Post #91 - Human Rights
"But Paul said to them, 'They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned…and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.'” (Acts 16:37)
The people of the United States and Iran – and each of us individually -- have ultimately to answer to a higher authority for the things done in our name. Our countries have taken turns creating problems for one another. Reza Aslan writes:
"The intention of the United States government in supporting Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War was to curb the spread of Iran's revolution, but it had the more disastrous effect of curbing its evolution. It was not until the end of the war in 1988 and the death of Khomeini a year later that the democratic ideals embedded in Iran's constitution were gradually unearthed by a new generation of Iranians too young to remember the tyranny of the Shah but old enough to realize that the present system was not what their parents had fought for."
He goes on to project a different possible future:
"The question remains: Can Islam now be used to establish a genuinely liberal democracy in the Middle East? Can a modern Islamic state reconcile reason and Revelation to create a democratic society based on the ethical ideals established by the Prophet Muhammad in Medina nearly fifteen centuries ago?...Not only can it do so, it must...But it is a process that can be based only on Islamic traditions and values. The principal lesson to be learned from the failure of Europe's “civilizing mission” is that democracy, if it is to be viable and enduring, can never be imported. It must be nurtured from within, founded upon familiar ideologies, and presented in a language that is both comprehensible and appealing to the indigenous population."
If that is to happen, Iran must deal with basic human dignity and fairness. In the next few posts, I will address the best-known abuses of human dignity that have occurred in Iran in the years since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.