Sunday, June 21, 2009

The moral arc.

Its hasn't been entirely clear to me why matters in Iran have become so visceral to me but they have.  Trying to stay on top of events amounts to most of what I've accomplished these last nine days or so and I don't think I've even done that particularly well.    Things reached a crescendo yesterday afternoon when I saw the tweeted video of that young women bleeding out in the street and for the second night this week I didn't sleep much because I couldn't turn my head off.  

Why the hell do I think this is so important?

I feel like we're watching Paris 1788 and a large swath of the world will be forever changed as a result.  It seems that when viewed in context with Obama's win and the recent election in Lebanon a very cool and unexpected thing is happening in a troubling part of the  world.   The fuckers are losing, or at very least getting pushed back.  The old fear and hate-mongering looks exposed and weak, and slowly slowly slowly the bulk of humanity is turning towards its better self.  Or that's what I hope.  

In Clash Of Civilizations   Samuel Huntington offered that the fall of the USSR and the end of the Cold War would not lead to a less dangerous world but rather a more dangerous one.  Global tensions might fall away but they would be replaced by ancient and festering localized and tribal conflicts that were likely to be more passionate and far more vicious than the proxy hot-spot wars waged between the US and Russia since WW II.    Think Sarajevo.

In particular Huntington painted a bleak demographic picture for the West as future Eastern and Muslim worlds in particular grew younger and increasingly polarized around traditional orthodoxies that would necessarily be in conflict with us.  For the better part of the last 20 years there has been scant reason to think he might be wrong and I've often thought that my kids or grandchildren could likely have that clash passed on to them tenfold.

Until Iran.  

In his statement yesterday Obama referenced MLK in saying that he believed that the moral arc of the universe may be long but that it always bends towards justice.  I don't know that I can or should believe that.  Ideas like justice can be relative and are often zero sum.  But its no small thing to be reminded that things do get better.

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