Writing in the Washington Post, Afshin Molavi wants to know what happened to the hope and change crowd once Iranians took to the streets:
One Iranian demonstrator e-mailed me: “Where are the American actors, the writers, the university professors, the intellectuals?” I would add to this patriot’s list: Where are the labor unions, teachers unions, science academies, university students and ordinary Americans from all walks of life who took to U.S. streets last year to back an unlikely presidential candidate whose motto of hope and change is mirrored by Iranians half a world away?
Come on, didn’t the Iranian demonstrator hear? All those folks made their web pages green. And they even took the time to click yes when prompted to join supportive Facebook groups. What does he think this country is – some kind of testament to the enduring fight for freedom and consensual government?
All those Obama supporters are actually replicating their campaign season activism. Remember, Obama’s tidal wave of support was most readily identifiable in virtual form. He won the war of the web above all else. He raised half a billion dollars online and had an email list of 13 million names. We shouldn’t be surprised if mouse-click donors don’t make the best global liberation army.
The West’s faith in the unifying and redemptive powers of the Internet threatens a vital tradition of righteous revolt. It’s not enough that every revolution these days is a pleasingly colored and “velvet” one. Each burst of people power must also allow us to “participate” in the liberation from our laptops. Of course, no one captures the self-congratulatory nature of the bogus change-virtual activism nexus better than the Beagle Blogger. Take it away, Andrew:
By removing the bogeyman of Bush (a moniker deserved or not), and electing Obama, Americans made this opening [in Iran] possible. Obama’s Cairo speech undercut the regime’s prime defense mechanism: demonization of America. The Internet did the rest.
Easy as that. How better to celebrate our effort than with some virtual fireworks on the Fourth of July.