This is from a few days back. The most prominent voice, a woman’s, cries “Allaho Akbar!”: God is great!
Someone I was reading the other day, I can’t remember who, wrote that winning things like this is about getting your message out, and you know you’ve lost when all anyone needs to do to announce their support for the protestors is yell “God is great!” out her window. When a creedal statement becomes inextricably connected with a number of your enemies’ political demands, the momentum is no longer on your side.
Essentially Iran faces an either/or: either the regime will crack down harder than they did today and massacre their own people to secure their own power (for now, anyway: the legitimacy of their authority is now damaged beyond repair), or the people will get what they want, one way or another. I think the Supreme Leader and Ahmadinejad were sort of hoping they could wait it out and things would die down, but that appears not to be the case.
What gets me so upset, I guess, what really lights a fire in my belly, is that this is the first time I have ever witnessed such blatant injustice on so vast a scale, and in a place so important to the world’s future. It is these crises, these points of decision in the Muslim world, that will determine its future. Either Iran becomes a freer and more democratic society or it regresses further into fascism, or, as Sullivan calls it, “theo-thuggism”.
What’s ironic, to me, is that the most promising steps toward the former option, demonstrated here in Iran, do not represent a co-option of Western secular ideals, but a more organic emergence from distinctly Islamic language. The confession that God is the greatest, over and above any political or religious power, has turned out (when understood properly) not to be an opiate of the masses (ah, my dialogue with Marx continues . . .), but their rallying cry and founding principle. Faith here is not the blind following of religious authority but a slow, forceful march towards liberation and justice.
Perhaps that’s why I have such hope for their success. My prayers tonight were for the Iranian people, that God would demonstrate His greatness and confirm their confessions. I honestly don’t know where I’m at with the whole inclusivism/exclusivism/universalism debate, but I know that when anyone yells into the night that God is great, wherever they are and however they worship, they speak the truth.
And God is listening.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”