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Arab World: “Iran is a Democratic Dictatorship”

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Iran, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Digital Activism, Elections, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, International Relations, Politics, Protest, Youth

Reactions continue to pour across the Arab world over developments in Iran, in the aftermath of the country's presidential elections which saw Mahmoud Ahmedinejad winning [1] a second term, with 66 per cent of the overall votes.

In this round up of reactions, Arab bloggers compare between the political scenes in their countries with that in Iran as well as offer their insights to developments on the ground.

On Twitter, Essam Al Zamel [2] [Ar], from Saudi Arabia, quips:

A screenshot of Al Zamel's tweet [3]

A screenshot of Al Zamel

The European Union is calling for an investigation on the results of the Iranian elections. What a farce! Arab countries hold elections where the winners win by 99 per cent and we haven't heard any objections from them!?

Jordanian Ali Dahmash [4] also notes how democracy in the Arab world pales compared to that in Iran:

Iran is a Democratic Dictatorship State as I name it. The country enjoys a good amount of liberalism and freedom that doesn’t exist in the Arab World. The men and women of Iran get to choose their leadership, but the Supreme Leader is still in control of everything. Women can vote, work anywhere, drive, travel, ski in the mountains but cannot nominate themselves in the elections. Iran is the largest democracy in the Middle East and the second after Lebanon, but minorities like Baha’is, Homosexuals and Armenians are still subject to oppression, persecution and the threat of being jailed or killed.

On the latest turmoil regarding the election results, the blogger explains:

While Mousavi accused the government of fraud and deception in the elections; since 14 million votes were not counted, his supporters took their despair and anger to the streets of Tehran. Most of the demonstrators are youth who are seeking reform and change. This middle class age group has always been the flame that flares any revolution or uprising. But I don’t see this as a revolt against the Islamic state, something that many people are looking forward to, but a slow reform process for change and modernization that should take its course. This is an inevitable internal path that should not be imposed by external powers or international threats. Time will eventually change Iran.

And Dahmash also comments on the power of Twitter, which has allowed the voices of Iranian protesters to echo around the world, despite the Iranian government's clampdown on free speech:

The government still controls the media and access to Internet sites such as (You Tube) & (Facebook) that are currently inaccessible. It has blocked International media from covering the riots. So protestors have switched to Twitter and other social networking sites to report what is going on in the streets of Tehran. Traditional media are also turning to Iran’s Internet users to get reports and videos of the situation there. The Obama administration has urged Twitter to delay its maintenance outage as this is the only way for Iranins to communicate with the rest of the world! Many protestors are risking their lives by using their Phone Cameras to shoot videos and pictures of the rallies that started peacefully a week ago and turned out violently with 7 slain so far.

Our last stop is at Palestinian Pundit [5], where Zarathustra lashes out at Arab youth saying:

What is taking place in Iran today (regardless of which side you support or if the opposition is truly reformist or not) only reaffirms how the Arab people (youth in particular) are the most impotent and spineless people in the middle east.
When was the last time that they defied government orders and went to the street by the tens of thousands to show their displeasure with anything their government has done ? Arab regimes have mastered the art of oppression so well for generations that they have created a generation of Arab youth that is fully happy to sit down, play cards , smoke Hookah and dream about going to Dubai or the west to work and make a lot of money. A generation of youth that cares more about meaningless danish cartoons humiliating the prophet than their daily humiliation and oppression. You have youth movements active all around the world from Latin America
to Iran to Turkey where the young people are trying to take an active role in determining their future, but not in the Arab world.
Arab youth's indifference and apathy is a direct result of the massive failure of their parent's generation. It is sad that everyone in the 3rd world it seems is attempting to change their reality , except Arabs , where the same tyrants and their sons have been ruling them for decades and that does not seem to concern them at all.