Today saddens me.
Although it is not clear what the ultimate outcome of the events that have unfolded in Iran over the last week will be, still, today’s violent response by the Iranian government to protesters contesting the election are tragic in the most ancient sense.
The tragedy is rooted in a fundamental blindness to the powerlessness of violence. Humans seem unable to recognize this blindness, despite its absolute obviousness. It is not that violence is not effective in repressing the spirit of a people for a time. It certainly is, and we may be bearing witness yet again today to this effectiveness.
But effective violence is not power; it is mere force. Power comes when communities gather together around a common purpose, for a common good. Power is organic, it grows and can be cultivated. Force is coercive, it destroys and cultivates only despair.
Today as I watched the violence unfold in Iran, I felt at once intimately connected to it and remotely distant from it. The desire to be heard, to press for what one believes, to risk something for justice, this resonates with the human spirit that connects us. Yet the very real horror of looking violence in the face, of having one’s person, one’s very life at stake, that I can barely fathom. All I can do is admire the courage of those who are standing for what they believe is right and the vision of those who refuse to succumb to violence in the process.
True power lies with them, whatever the immediate outcome of today’s events in Iran.