Saturday, June 20, 2009


The Iranian government seems to be getting more violent in its crack down on those seeking freedom and justice.  Many protesters claim that the Iranian government is dumping chemicals on the crowds out of helicopters, causing burns.  There have even been reports of tanks on the streets.  There have been 19 confirmed killings today, with some claiming that today's death toll in this unrest is as high as 150.

When those wounded by the Iranian government have sought medical attention, many have been arrested in hospitals, and rumors are that a number of them have apparently vanished from hospital beds.

Since even the hospitals are not safe for the protesters, several countries are providing medical attention to the injured in their embassies.  Australia is one of the countries doing this.  In the lists of them, though, the United States has yet to be mentioned.  Aiding those wounded in pursuit of justice is the right thing to do.

Please send the Obama Administration an e-mail here or call them at (202) 456-1111 and tell them that supporting human rights cannot be just a rhetorical task.

Here's what I said:

A number of countries have opened up their embassies to provide medical attention to protesters injured in Iran, since apparently they are not even safe in their hospitals from government retaliation. Has the U.S. done this? If not, will we start providing at least basic humanitarian assistance to those being burned, beaten and shot for exercising their natural rights to free assembly and political speech? I encourage your administration to recognize that human rights are not merely a point of rhetoric. Respecting and defending them is a universal obligation. If the United States cannot even bandage those wounded in pursuit of justice, I fear the light that has made us a beacon to the world is growing quite dim. Sincerely, 
[Collegiate Catholic]

P.S. Updates for the next few days may be sparse because my laptop is in need of repair.


The White House released the following statement on Iran earlier today:


Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                        June 20, 2009

Statement from the President on Iran

The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights. 

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion. 

Martin Luther King once said - "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.

"Bear witness" seems to mean very little to this administration.  Apparently releasing a 3 paragraph statement with no accompanying action counts as bearing witness these days.

To be clear, I don't support hyper-involvement on the part of the United States on Iranian internal affairs.  Not only is that not our place, but we do need to be careful not to allow ourselves to become a scapegoat or to provide the "Supreme Leader" with a rallying call.  But, we could at least act like we care... Obama seems more interested in taking cover.  I urge caution against too strong of a response... but the response thus far has been weak.

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