An Iranian supporter of defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi holds a sign that reads "We are all Neda." (AFP PHOTO/SAHAR JALILI)
A number of leftists in Lebanon become uneasy when talking about the recent events in Iran. They perceive of Iran, with its anti-Western rhetoric and rogue nuclear program, as an anti-imperial ally but cannot ignore the images streaming out of Tehran showing “the regime of the downtrodden of the earth” ruthlessly cutting down innocent protestors. To overcome their dilemma, these activists, mostly coming from the Lebanese counterculture, are doing what people in this region have done for decades to hide their hypocrisy: they claim the moral high ground by pointing in the direction of Palestine.
The case of the victims
The shooting of 26-year old Neda Soltan in Tehran last month, and her subsequent death in front of a crowd of protestors who had come to her rescue, made headlines worldwide. The public outcry over her murder did not sit well with defenders of the Iranian regime, whether from the West or the Middle East.
Unable to blame the innocent Neda for her death, and unwilling to blame her murder on the Iranian regime, defenders of Iran tried to take the moral high ground by highlighting the tyranny of Israel and the crimes it commits against the Palestinians.
After failing to redirect the world’s attention from the brutality of the Iranian Basij militia, Iran apologists started attacking the US mainstream media, accusing it of bias. If Neda, who has become an icon of Iran’s Green Revolution, was unjustifiably murdered, then American TV networks should be blamed for focusing on Iran alone while ignoring tragedies suffered by the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli army.
In his The Huffington Post article “Neda in Palestine, Sentenced to Die Alone,” Daily Beast senior writer Max Blumenthal praised the US media’s decision to air footage of Neda’s murder, but added that the decision “nonetheless highlighted its hypocritical attitude toward Palestinians who resist Israeli occupation on a daily basis, and who often meet the same fate as Neda.”
Fair enough. A murder is a murder anywhere and should be covered and denounced on TV, whether it took place in Iran or in Palestine. But how about Lebanon?
Hiding behind Palestine continued here