Cynicism about protests against authoritarian rulers is misplaced. We cannot afford to stand by
Western reactions to events in Iran this week have been as fascinating to watch as the events themselves. It’s true that the picture is complex. But the hesitancy on view everywhere, and the lack of publicly supportive messages to protesters, are a sign of our times. It’s as if any groundswell of popular aspirations now raises suspicion. In the aftermath of the Arab spring, Donald Trump and fake news, we seem to have become disillusioned about grassroots revolts.
What might once have been hailed as a democratic revolution now appears blurry. An outpouring of anger against a corrupt regime and its diversion of resources into military adventures is met more with scepticism than hope. There are instant suggestions of a CIA-led plot, or an Israeli plan.
Can we avert our gaze when the regime helps massacre populations in Syria’s eastern Ghouta district?