Roger Cohen in Iran

This piece by NY Times columnist Roger Cohen, reporting from Tehran, is the most visceral, moving, and inspiring piece I’ve read regarding the current situation in Iran. It’s a testimony to good writing, to courage, and the simple value of being there:

Khamenei has taken a radical risk. He has factionalized himself, so losing the arbiter’s lofty garb, by aligning himself with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against both Mir Hussein Moussavi, the opposition leader, and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a founding father of the revolution.

He has taunted millions of Iranians by praising their unprecedented participation in an election many now view as a ballot-box putsch. He has ridiculed the notion that an official inquiry into the vote might yield a different result. He has tried pathos and he has tried pounding his lectern. In short, he has lost his aura.

I think (hope?) Khamenei made a critical error when he threatened Iran’s citizenry with violence. At that point he removed any remaining doubt whether the election was fraudulent. Like throwing water on a grease fire.

Saturday, 20 June 2009