That is my favorite scene from one of my favorite movies A Bug's Life. In the scene, the head gross hopper, Hopper, explains to his lieutenants that they only rule the ants through fear and intimidation. In fact, the ants far out numbered the grass hoppers. The moment that the ants were no longer afraid they would stand up to and over power the grass hoppers. I was thinking about that scene when I read that protestors had taken to the streets of Iran in the tens of thousands yet again.
I was outside the east gate of Tehran University on Qods St. (former Anatole France St.) at 11:30 am.
The crowd, amassed in all directions as far as the eye could see, was so thick and compact that security forces could do nothing but stand by passively on the sidelines. They were so docile that the crowd thanked them by chanting: “Police forces, thank you!”
Unhindered, the crowd chanted an entire repertoire of slogans, including:
“Down with this people-fooling government!” (”Marg bar in dolat-e mardom-farib!”)“Coup d’etat government, step down!” (”Dolat-e kudeta, estefa, estefa!”)“As long as it’s Ahmadinejad, every day shall be thus!”
The rulers in Iran exert their power in much the same way as the grasshoppers did in A Bug's Life, through fear. Much like in A Bug's Life, the citizens far out number the totalitarian regime. Ultimately, once they stand up to the government and strip them of their fear the government has little power left.
Several weeks ago, the government set a line in the sand. There would be no more protests. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the elected leader and that decision was final. Since then, protestors have taken to the streets on numerous occasions including today when tens of thousands clashed with police. With each protest, the regime's ability to instill fear is stripped away further. The problem with lines in the sand is that if your opponent steps over it you lose most of your credibility.
The news only got better with the highly respected cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's calling out of the government.
The demonstrations broke out after former president and prominent cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told tens of thousands who'd gathered at Tehran University for Friday prayers that the government risks its legitimacy by ignoring anger over its declaration that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won the election.
"We believe in the Islamic Republic," Rafsanjani said. "They have to stand together If 'Islamic' doesn't exist, we will go astray. And if 'Republic' is not there, (our goals) won't be achieved.
Where people are not present or their vote is not considered, that government is not Islamic."Rafsanjani's remarks, his first in public since the election, didn't directly criticize the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who's ordered an end to protests, and some in the crowd expressed disappointment at his conciliatory tone.
A few weeks ago, I proclaimed that the Iranian regime was ripe to fall. Everyday I am more and more convinced that they will fall. Each and everytime that protestors ignore the will of the government and take to the streets they strip just a little more of the intimidation and credibility away. Everytime the protestors stand up to the government they strip away just a little more of the fear the regime uses to keep them in place. Soon enough, all the fear will be gone and they won't merely protest but revolt. Then, the government WILL fall.