On June 12th the government of Iran denied its people their basic right to a fair election and declared that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won a second term as President. Since then, Iranians have taken to the streets every day to protest their oppression. At night they defiantly shout from the rooftops. Although shouting from the rooftops here in America won’t carry the same weight as the thousands of young students crying out for freedom in Iran, the Placer County Young Democrats would like to express our full support to the people of Iran in their struggle for freedom.
It is our steadfast belief as Americans that all people, of all nations, deserve certain basic freedoms such as the right to free speech, the right to peacefully assemble, and the right to free and fair elections. Our Declaration of Independence states, ‘That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government .’ The Iranian people are fully justified in their actions.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, has made it clear that he intends to end the demonstrations with force. On Saturday, the Iranian government unleashed hell upon its own people. Though Khamenei has tried to prevent the outside world from witnessing the brutality, many pictures and videos have leaked out. Rumors circulate of government helicopters that drop water that ‘burns.’ Government supported Basij thugs attack the demonstrators with police batons. Pictures of tear gas being used on the crowds are circulating on the Internet. In one video a young Iranian woman is seen dying after being shot by a Basij gunman. The Iranian government has taken to murdering its people. But despite all this, the Iranian people have stood strong. In fact it seems that the demonstrators have only found greater resolve. They understand that any government that must control its people with violence has lost all legitimacy, and must be brought down.
President Kennedy said, ‘We stand for freedom. That is our conviction for ourselves; that is our only commitment to others.’ Though we cannot help them, we offer our best wishes and urge the Iranian people to remain strong in the face of violence and terror. After all, these brave Iranians are fighting for those fundamental human rights that we in America hold so dear: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Our relationship with Iran has been rocky, to say the least. But the disputes of the past do not dictate the path of our future. The American people will always be friends to those who seek liberty and democracy.
To the Iranian people: We are with you.
Nick Shepard, Vice President, Placer County Young Democrats
Neil Pople, President, Placer County Young Democrats
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