“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Side of Iran That the Regime FEARS

RNW Supports Iranian Radio Broadcasts
by Nicolien den Boer

"In a short period of time, two media-outlets for Iranians have been set up in the Netherlands. And more will follow, all financed by the Dutch government. The most recent development is Radio Zamaneh, broadcasting from Amsterdam and aimed at young Iranians. Zamaneh is independent and won't shy away from debating subjects like sexuality, women's rights and restrictions on clothing.
"Iranian youth is hungry for information. They want more than just being 'injected' with biased information from state media," said Pantea Modiri of Radio Zamaneh. According to Modiri, young people are interested in what is really going on within Iran and in the rest of the world. "They crave stories about tolerance, human rights and politics."Young Iranians
Some 70 percent of Iranians are under the age of 28, according to figures from the NGO, Press Now which coordinates Radio Zamaneh, but the young don't have their own media. Most journalists in Iran are of the older generation. The team at Radio Zamaneh is made up of between twelve and 15 young journalists working in either Amsterdam or Iran. A few of them are bloggers who are being trained to become journalists by Press Now - an international organisation supporting independent media in regions of conflict or transition.
The people from Radio Zamaneh - which means 'now' in Farsi - are convinced that they can reach every household in Iran with their broadcasts. The station will transmit in Farsi via satellite, shortwave and the internet. "Six million people have access to the internet, 80 percent of the people have a satellite dish and everybody has a radio, "says Modiri.

Radio Zamaneh is broadcasting 24 hours a day on satellite. The core of its current affairs and cultural programme is on shortwave for four hours a day and the rest of the day will be taken up with music that is forbidden in Iran. This means bands from outside of Iran or 'underground' music. Modiri explains: "for six or seven years more underground bands have been playing in Iran. Women, for instance, are not even allowed to sing in front of men. This means that CDs which women perform on are not produced or sold."

OPINION: Iran is far more complicated than the picture the regime tries to portray. There is a substantial sophisticated portion of the population that is interested in the modern western world and the more secular parts of Persian culture. The Dutch government is making a bold move to reach this segment of the Iranian population. It is one of the many ways that the West can help ease Iran away from the clutches of Islamic fundamentalism. The Dutch have come a long way in their thinking since Pim Fortuyn, a populist Dutch politician, had been assassinated and the murder of Theo Van Gogh, a close friend of Fortuyn'’s. The soft power of public opinion undid the Soviet Union. It was done in concert with a big gun cocked and loaded. The Cold War ended because even the Communists stopped believing in Communism. That is not going to happen with Islam.

Will it work? I doubt it.
Will it prevent the development of nuclear weapons? Not likely.
Should we wait and see if there is anyway short of war to change Iran? Well considering the predictable nature of war, FUBAR, the answer is yes. But if it does not work.............Welll it won't. But we need to be patient and let the evil forces of Islam prove to the world that it is beyond redemption.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. By Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent

    BEIRUT (Reuters) - Israel dropped at least 350,000 cluster bomblets on south Lebanon in its war with Hizbollah guerrillas, mostly when the conflict was all but over, leaving a deadly legacy for civilians, a U.N. official said on Tuesday.

    "The outrageous fact is that nearly all of these munitions were fired in the last three to four days of the war," David Shearer, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Lebanon, told a news conference in Beirut.

    "Outrageous because by that stage the conflict had been largely resolved in the form of (U.N. Security Council) Resolution 1701," he said.


    JERUSALEM -- Israel's military chief told lawmakers Tuesday that it plans to withdraw all its remaining troops from Lebanon by this weekend, meeting a key requirement of a cease-fire that ended the 34-day war against Hezbollah guerrillas.

    The withdrawal would end a more than two-month troop presence in Lebanon and complete the transfer of security responsibilities along the border to the Lebanese army and a beefed-up U.N. peacekeeping force.

    but the kicker is

    BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The Iraqi government said Tuesday it will shut down the offices of the Kurdish PKK party in Iraq.

    But will the ISF take the PKK on militarily, before the Turks do?

  3. Steve @ threatswatch give a good review of the troubles in Pakistan.

    "... It cannot be stressed enough that this is a nuclear power ceding more and more territory to a global terrorist network. The rest of the North West Frontier Province is next on al-Qaeda’s list….a stone’s throw from Islamabad. "

    Onward Mohmmedan Soldiers!

  4. This is BIG. I have felt for some time that the Achilles heal for unreformed Islam is that woman are forced into a role that is anachronistic to our era. And look where it is happening. This needs to be exploited and not stifled. My fear is that a precipitous military action is in the interest of the current regime.

    Women graduates challenge Iran
    By Frances Harrison
    BBC News, Tehran

    "The number of women graduating from Iran's universities is overtaking the number of men, promising a change in the job market and, with it, profound social change.

    In some subjects 70% of Iran's graduates are women

    Twenty postgraduate students are sitting in a plush modern classroom listening to a lecture on environmental management at the Islamic Azad University - a private institution with 1.6 million students across Iran.

    The room is darkened so the students can watch the lecturer's slide show comparing energy consumption around the world.

    Three quarters of the students in this class are women - the five men in the class are huddled together in a corner.

    As Professor Majid Abbaspour explains, this is a far cry from the past:

    "When I was doing my bachelor's degree in Iran we had a class of 60 in mechanical engineering with only four women.

    "Now the number has changed a lot - I think this may be because the attitudes of families have changed."

    Well over half of university students in Iran are now women. In the applied physics department of Azad University 70% of the graduates are women - a statistic which would make many universities in the West proud.

    It is a huge social shift since the 1979 Revolution: Iran's Islamic government has managed to convince even traditional rural families that it is safe to send their daughters away from home to study.


    But in some areas the larger number of women than men is beginning to alarm the authorities.

    "As a matter of fact it's starting to get worrying - in some fields maybe they will put some limitations?" says Professor Abbaspour, referring to suggestions that there should be positive discrimination for men in certain key subjects.

    We women want to show we are here and we have a lot to say - for years we have lived under the heavy shadow of men - our fathers and brothers and now we want to come out of that
    Massoumeh Umidvar
    Student and working other

    He explains: "In the oil and gas industries at the present time there is no discrimination but... for example when they want to work on the oil and gas platforms in the Persian Gulf area it might be very hard for women to do so."

    Part of the reason for more women in university education seems to be that many young men are more interested in making money.

    "We women want to show we are here and we have a lot to say," says Massoumeh Pahshahie Umidvar.

    "For years we have lived under the heavy shadow of men, our fathers and brothers, and now we want to come out of that."

    Massoumeh holds down a job in a factory, has a child and is doing a postgraduate degree. Her life is completely different from that of her mother who stayed at home, cooking and looking after children.

    'Historic opportunity'

    "Before the revolution everybody supposed that if you wanted to be a rich person with a good standard of living you needed to be educated," explains journalist and social commentator Sayed Laylaz.

    I will choose a person as a husband who lets me work because I love my job...
    Sudabeh Shahkhudahee

    "But after the revolution because of a lot of changes - especially because of the Iran-Iraq war - this mentality changed.

    "At the moment boys don't think that if they want to be a successful person they should be educated and because of this they leave free more places for girls to go to university."

    Mr Laylaz calls it a historic opportunity for women that they have eagerly seized. He hopes this new generation of educated Iranian women will force social change in the decades ahead.

    It will not be long, he argues, before women are in charge of recruitment in offices. Already he sees signs that Iran's politicians recognise the importance of women's votes in elections.

    Massoumeh tells her husband that it will not be long before Iranian men will be forced to sit at home while their wives run the country.

    Already it has become a problem for women with degrees to find husbands with the same level of education.

    Marriage or a career

    Another social change is that young women who do have careers are now beginning to think twice about getting married. Especially as under Iranian law a woman needs her husband's permission to go to work.

    Graduating women are not accepting traditional social roles

    Sudabeh Shahkhudahee has just finished a night shift as a nurse and is relaxing in front of her cousin's satellite TV and reading her horoscope.

    After studying at university and finding the right job Sudabeh is nervous about her future - she could lose it all if she marries the wrong man.

    "I will choose a person as a husband who lets me work because I love my job," she says.

    "I will not give up my job after I get married."

    This is a sentiment that is increasingly being heard in a society where a single woman even has trouble hiring an apartment to live alone.

    Sudabeh knows it is going to be hard to find a man who will not have a problem with her doing night shifts and being away from home for long periods, especially when she has children.

    Working mothers are a relatively new phenomenon in Iran but attitudes are changing among the younger generation of working women, many of whom will no longer accept a husband who does not share the workload at home.

    "Our men are coming out of this macho shell and becoming more co-operative," says a young married student.

    Many believe Iranian women who have worked hard to overtake Iranian men will be the ones to bring about social and political change.

    "Maybe in the near future we can get our rights - at least I hope," says another student."

  5. It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. “Ace” has up the picture of the day. This photograph captures the essence of Islam and the working of the Muslim mind.

  6. The oil on that bonita is anything but crude.

  7. compare the two photos
    We will use the comparison as a split screen technique in the new version of
    "Why we Fight"

  8. Ms Venezuela es muy bonita, claro

    The burka ladies, why even bother to frame the shot. Seen one burka, you've seen 'em all.

  9. In 1996 under The Iran and Libya Sanctions Act, it became the policy of the government of the United States to undermine and destabilize the Iranian regime. Ten years later, given two administrations, can anyone point to the implementation of a single program under the Act?

    This is why, for all the encouraging trends cited by 2164th, time is not on our side or the side of the presumably moderate Iranians quoted in the post. It is a tragedy to find ourselves with extremely limited options at this late date.

    When the dust clears, we will all ring our hands in dismay at the gross incompetence of the State Department. Shortly afterward, it will be back to business as usual.

  10. wonder why they're running Kudlow against O'Reilly this week?

  11. rufus,

    re: mine was better

    Have you no imagination?!

  12. rufus & DR,

    A burka is like a radio - plug in your own pictures.

    This inability to think inside the burka is exactly what's wrong with the West.

  13. rufus,

    re: the fence

    Did you look closely at that picture of Senator Frist accompanying your link? Is that the face of a man contemplating a colonoscopy, or not?

  14. 2164th; 11:04:50 AM

    This is sensational material, both simultaneously heartening and heartbreaking. If only we had not wasted a decade of possibilities and had a decade of potentialities.


  15. Frist's halo was showing, that's all.

  16. Pres is speaking very, very directly just now, before the UN GA.