Person Of The Year

The Daily Dish nominates not Ben Bernanke but Neda Agha-Soltan. Neda was just one young woman, eager to protest the coup that rigged and then stole the June elections in Iran. She was shot in the street by the coup regime, as shown in the grueling video above that electrified the Iranian people. Wiki tells us that

Nedā (ندا) is a word used in Persian to mean "voice", "calling," or "divine message," and she has been referred to as the "voice of Iran."

The most remarkable event of this past year, it seems to us, was the uprising for freedom, sanity and peace in Iran. We witnessed it thousands of miles away but the miracle of technology meant we also lived it alongside those far braver than we will hopefully ever have to be. Neda remains the symbol of that uprising and her awful secular martyrdom will never leave the psyche of the Iranian people.

We saw them this year as we hadn't before: like us, eager for change, confident in their own capacities, able to see through the lies and the certainties and the violence that marks the vicious regime they live under. We saw this movement as a spontaneous revolt against transparent injustice, but also as a response in a way to the American people, who also rose up in 2008 to demand new leadership, less confrontation, and less fundamentalism in government.

Next year will be a crucial one.

As the Ashura holiday approaches and as the death of Montazeri has infused Iranians with yet more courage to face down the neo-fascist goons who police this comically inept regime, the Green Movement faces yet another test. Will this revolution follow the last one, building and building, growing ever more radical, as the illegitimacy of the current order slowly exposes itself? Or will it be crushed slowly by the fatal combination of violence and religion?

The Dish stands with the great people of the ancient civilization of Iran. This too shall pass - the idiots and bigots, the anti-Semites and Islamists, the murderers who think God blesses torture or that nuclear weapons somehow represent achievement, the fundamentalists who send poor, uneducated thugs to brandish clubs in the streets and terrify whole neighborhoods after dark.

It's been a bewildering decade as our two civilizations have clashed and as we have seen more and more of one another. We have seen one another as enemies, as aliens, as strangers, as threats. But we have also seen one another as fellow fools and cowards, fellow heroes and family members, fellow activists and Tweeters. But I never thought, on 9/11, that this blog, almost a decade later would end a post with the following words of solidarity and hope:

Allah O Akbar!