Commentary Magazine


Even Roger Cohen is Asking

Roger Cohen, writing from Tehran, this time with his eyes and ears more open, says in “City of Whispers” that “[m]any of the people I spoke to when I arrived last week are in prison” but that “[s]till the whispering continues”:

A man holds his mobile phone up to me: footage of a man with his head blown off last Monday. A man, 28, whispers: “The government will use more violence, but some of us have to make the sacrifice.”

Another whisper: “Where are you from?” When I say the United States, he says: “Please give our regards to freedom.”

Which brings me to President Barack Obama, who said in his inaugural speech: “Those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Seldom was a fist more clenched than in the ramming-through of this election result. Deceit and the attempted silencing of dissent are now Iran’s everyday currency. In this city of whispers one of the whispers now is: Where is Obama?

Apparently working to preserve Plan B:  “And know that if you will not unclench your fist, we will extend a fist-bump.”