Monday, February 01, 2010

Where is the Moral Courage of the West?

In addition to using massive layoffs of professionals, including academics, to try and crush the protest movement, still going strong after last June’s re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran hanged two dissidents last week and sentenced nine others to death. Yet, as Iran sends peaceful dissidents to the gallows, so many courageous Iranians continue to risk death to oppose the Islamist tyranny.

What is it that makes people, agents of moral courage? Is it the complete absence of fear? The mobilizing energy fear often engenders? The effort to transcend fear? Extraordinary perseverance? Or something else?

"Sixteen defendants currently facing a “show trial” in Tehran have been selected to intimidate specific groups of dissidents and pave the way for applying the charge of Mohareb, or “enemy of God,” to large numbers of dissidents and protestors, charges that can lead to their execution, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. Five of the sixteen defendants prosecuted in the post-Ashura trials of 30 January face the death penalty, having been charged with that crime."
We, the people are free to express ourselves in the face of injustice. We can assemble, protest, and use just about any form of peaceful demonstration there is to speak truth to power, without the fear of violence and death as retribution. Yet, even though we have plenty of reason to balk, we rarely manifest our discontent. Rather, we watch as our government serves corporate and moneyed interests at the expense of the American people and rarely do we stand up and demand that our government serve us. Why?

Elie Weisel once stated, “Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.” Has America aligned herself with indifference, ignorance, and/or denial. Have we lost our critical thinking skills to the forces of consensus? Mistaken unity with uniformity? Has moral relativity eroded our sense of right and wrong? Or are we more oppressed than we would like to believe? Maybe a combination of all of the above.

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