In Iran, an ecological disaster and an indigenous people's revolt.
This is a very important story, co-authored by my pal Sohrab Ahmari and Peter Kohanloo, about a little-noticed "environmental" crisis in Iran. It's noteworthy that the mullahocracy reacts by insisting on a distinction between "the environment" and politics.
This is a false distinction that routinely encumbers debates about "environmental issues" in the world's democracies as well. Too often, environmentalists are happy to go along with it because they get their own little romper room where everything is nicely shade-grown, organic, and eco-this, and eco-that. Just for starters, this does not help aboriginal peoples, whose interests are especially vulnerable to ecological perturbation. Something very similar is at work in Iran, to the detriment of the democracy movement, and to the benefit of the regime.
Sohrab and Peter put it this way:
"Sadly, the ideology underlying Iran’s establishment reform movement too often mirrors the regime’s. In continuing to insist, for example, that democratic activists work within the framework of the current constitution – the same one that mandates absolute allegiance to a supreme religious 'guide' – the reformists fail to confront the structural flaws embedded in that corrupt document. Moreover, in morally situating their movement within the broad Islamist fold, Iran’s reformers betray the age-old yearning for an authentic and inclusive Iranian identity.
"That yearning is perhaps the democrats’ greatest strategic asset against the mullahs. Yet until activists successfully capitalize on it, radical Islamism – in all its forms – will have the last laugh in Iran. And the joke will be told at the expense of the country’s boundless human potential."