For those of us who remember the glorious year of 1989, events across the Middle East have a wonderfully familiar ring to them. Then as now, a domino effect meant that tyranny was overthrown across a wide area, with regimes that seemed permanent crumbling before our eyes.
Then as now, it was not only political or religious ideas that inspired people to rise, economic factors were important too.
There are however important differences now – not least that these protests, inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, have now surged across the oil-rich Gulf. We have heard and read today, of the markets fears of “instability”( democracy) in the region, and no doubt those trading oil have been encouraged by the brutal actions in Bahrain, a small island off the Saudi coast. I feel pretty sure that these vultures were more than “relaxed” about the repression of opposition in Iran back in 2009. The old canard that “markets ensure freedom” is laid bare. Only freedom ensures freedom.
For Socialists and Democrats of every stripe, the path is clear – we must support anyone anywhere struggling for Liberty and Justice against repressive tyranny and ignorance. The regimes of the region, whether western backed or not, are deeply divided on class lines, with tiny minorities at the top skimming off vast oil wealth, pretty much unchallenged until now. unlike the failed attempt at nation-building from without in Iraq, what we are seeing is nation-building from within. In this respect, these revolts have much akin to 1848. It is our job to help the peoples standing up against barbarism, to support them in any practical way we can, so that there is a just and successful conclusion.
In this spirit, I have a question to ask Toby Young, and the Tory-run Hammersmith and Fulham Council, apple of Boris Johnsons eye, and favourite West London Free School pioneer of Micheal “Woodentop” Gove. a disturbing story has come to light through the pages of this weeks’ Private Eye…
Palingswick House,the building that Mr Young wants to house his jolly new obsession in currently houses a number of refugee organisations. Amongst them are groups from Afghanistan and Iran. When notified of their being moved on, the Iranians politely (very courteous people, Iranians) asked what the alternative accommodation would be .
Quick as a flash, the good burghers in Hammersmiths Cabinet drew up a list of alternative provision for those who are escaping persecution, and will no doubt miss the services of the Iranian Association, and Afghan Council UK.
According to this document, any Iranian dissident should avail themselves of the fine, and no-doubt sympathetic services of another building in west London – the Embassy of The Islamic republic of Iran.
Meanwhile Afghanis are directed to the “excellent alternative” , the Southern Afghan Club. Previously, the SAC, surely a wonderful organisation in its way, gave advice solely to owners of pedigree Afghan Hounds.
So, Toby, Boris, Govey and the rest of you true Blues, are you not ashamed???
A more disgraceful and shaming episode would be harder to find, even with this bunch of poltroons and knaves in power.