New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who has spent this year writing extensively about Iran and Israel/Palestine, sends his latest dispatch from the streets of Tehran:
When I was here earlier this year, I argued that Iran was an unfree and repressive society but also a nation offering significant margins of liberty, at least by regional standards, with which Obama’s America must engage. After Iraq, I was deeply concerned that facile stereotyping of a society of “mad Mullahs” bent on nuclear Armageddon could once again set America in lockstep to war.
I underestimated how brutal the regime could be. But my critics underestimated how strong and broad the Iran of civic courage and democratic impulse is, and they misread how important this election was, dismissing it as the meaningless exercise of a clerical dictatorship.
I still believe there is no alternative to engagement. But it is not the time for Obama to talk about talks. He should be talking about his outrage at the violence.
This is the city of whispers. Its people crave to know that their hushed voices are being heard. Obama, lover of words, is the message man. “Message received” is what he must convey.
Meanwhile, Jewish neo-con Daniel Pipes continues to not care about anything or anybody. He’ll no doubt be invited to Australian Jewish events within the month.