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A Message To Manila That Should Not Have To Be Sent

June 21, 2009

5 leaders montage

The post elections turmoil in the Islamic Republic of Iran is entering its second week with Cable News Network reporting how Iranians “are defying the call of Supreme mullah, the Ayatollah Khameini to accept the election results”  giving his candidate, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a landslide second term.

There has been a wholesale ban on independent news coverages with the state-owned media downplaying the violent protests.

But Internet-savvy Iranians and indie journalists are going around the blackout throught Twitter, Facebook, and direct uploads to i-report blog pages of CNN along with the video sharing sites YouTube and Liveleak.

Like the Philippines, Iran has undergone upheavals with the overthrow of Shah Reza Pahlavi leading to the ‘rule of the mullahs’.

Our own upheaval, People Power, has become a global political brand — ousting the Marcos dictatorship, and the Estrada presidency, with corruption being the central issue against them, with the added blot of martial law rule sealing the Marcos legacy.

Reza Pahlavi and Ferdinand Marcos were creatures of the era when it seemed democracy was in retreat and threatened by communism, with the U.S. at the peak of its influence as the world’s policeman with the Central Intelligence Agency acting as its covert enforcer and baby sitter of its agent-despots.

But today with the Internet having turned Earth into the global village with its networked economies and networked people, Democracy is popular once again as it bAttles the Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden brand ofIslamic fundamentalism

Now Iranians appear to be staging their own new version of People Power while Filipinos are protesting charter change widely suspected to be aimed at extending GMA’s hold on power.

The similarities end there in as far us the two countries’ relationship with the United States goes.

Ahmadinejad is vociferously anti-American and only recently warmed that Iran’s still increasing stockpile of plutonium “can be weaponized” as the Islamic Republic pursues the development of better missiles.

US President Barack Obama sent out this call to Tehran today:

The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.
As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.
Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.

The Philippines remains a frontline US ally in the war on terror and despite loud protests by left-leaning militants, continues to hold bilateral war games.

There have been various unpleasant scenarios about the possible worsening of the political situation because of the Con-Ass controversy.

Sources speaking on condition of anonymity have also told this writer about how certain presidential advisers have drawn up worse case options of emergency rule declaration and such.

I now believe no such situation will  come to pass with the presidential elections being held on schedule on May 10, 2010.

I believe Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will indeed seek a seat in the House of Representatives and put her lot with her Kabalens.

How the balance of her legacy plays out bears watching,.

But the final determinant for Philippine political stability will be how the automated elections will be held and for Filipino not to have any reason to cry “where is my vote,”  accompanied by bloody encounters with state security elementslike what is now happening on the streets of Tehran.

I hope this edited version of Obama’s message above will never have to be transmitted to Manila:

The Philippine government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Philippine government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.
Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Filipino people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Philippine government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.
Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Filipino peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.”

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