>Western Tribune Column June 17 2009

>(The photos were taken from an Iranian friend’s Facebook page)

In Iran last week Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s early claim of victory following the presidential election sparked some degree of protest and unrest. As I write tensions are still high and it is unknown what will happen in that country. Young people who overwhelmingly supported Ahmadinejad’s rival Mir Hussein Moussavi are in disbelief that their candidate lost.

Iranians in this country and in England are just as disappointed and while violence was unlikely, protests still occurred in areas where the Iranian population is significant.

(An elderly Iranian woman defending her vote)

I wonder what the reaction of young Americans would have been if Barack Obama had lost the election in this country. Many of his supporters, young and old, would have been shocked and some degree of protest would have occurred, no doubt, but it’s unpredictable whether it would have been to the degree that was seen in Iran.

Oddly enough, in spite of having a president who wants to unite people and bring the country together, it seems that in the United States that those who harbor hatred have also been inspired. Recently, a women’s health care provider who performed abortions for women with health problems was murdered in his own church. And just last week an African American security guard was killed at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.

People who track hate groups say that more incidents are likely.

The hatred that certain right wing fanatics have for certain minorities is only strengthened when they see the results of other lunatics. And they are further inspired by right wing talk show hosts like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh who demean our leader and others with what could be classified as hate speech. They need to realize that their hateful words have consequences.

Here and in Iran it seems that the majority of people, led by the young, want a peaceful world where everyone is accepted and respected. The United States and Iran are in different stages of this progression, yet in spite of the problems in both countries, it seems inevitable that progress will be made.

(A protester in Iran killed trying to defend his vote)

Let’s just hope that in both cases, cooler heads (and enhanced security measures) prevail and the radical elements on both sides are subdued. Of course, that might require doing something about those radio talk shows, too.

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