When it comes to me to think about what I can do to change the conflict that is occurring in Iran I am at a standstill. Jaques Derrida talks about confronting conflicts with aporia, which is when there is really no right way to approach a matter such as the civil unrest that is occupying the country of Iran. As one individual I cannot change the way the Iranian government operated nor do I wish to do so. Many Western sources, our president included, have condemned the practices of the Iranian government but who are we to judge another nations way of doing things. It is up to the civilians to decide if political change is needed. And perhaps we are just talking about using a problem-solving approach. Maybe the Iranian people do not want a complete overhaul of their political institution but some changes are needed in certain areas (such as more individual freedom and interaction with the West). But I do not think it is my right to decide what is best for others, since I think that this would be a rather fundamental approach to world politics. Rather, I think that it is important for me to say informed about what is occurring in the world (to read, and read often, to gather my information from a variety of different sources and then make an educated opinion about the current events in our world.
On the other hand however, much of what I have seen about the conflict in Iran has been documented, written about or filmed from a Western perspective. Wibben has discussed how individuals or groups of people write from a narrative, which is a portrayal of their beliefs and ideologies, and it may be that the conflict is talked about in a manner that portrays the Iranian government as the “Other” when the West is the “We.” Since the Iranian government has censored the media from writing about the current conflict, I was unable to find any writings about the current debates from somewhere other than a Westernized view. We (the West, the United States, and myself) may not see the current dynamics in Iran as something desirable and our belief may be to “liberate” these individuals (to send in humanitarian work, if the conditions warrant, and “help them” establish a more democratic government. However, I bring this up with some hesitation because as we have discussed in class, not much intervention is done without some others interest being involved in the situation.
Simma and Cassese argue that explanations to invade other countries may warrant a metaphysical account, insisting that it may not be legal but ethical to do so, but what we have discussed in class has be wondering what the real reasons would be for a nation to intervene in the situation. Huysmans argues using a realist approach that every country has some sort of interest or political agenda when offering aid to a country. For example, we discussed in class that the underlying reason why the United States may have invaded Iraq was presented to the people as metaphysical, to spread democracy to a country that is deserving of such freedoms (and the War on Terror) but, other agendas such as gaining access to one of the world’s largest oil reserves may have been another motive for the United States to invade Iraq.
When it comes to the big picture of global politics it is difficult for me to see what I can do as one individual. It seems that the problems are vast without any concrete solutions, but there are some things that I can do as one person to make changes that I want to see in the world even if they do not amount to a mass worldwide movement. Recently there has been a movement to go green and purchase locally grown and make products. This recent change has been in response to climate change (our contributions to living in a carboniferious capital society) and the costs of neo-liberalism. Before entering this course I was unaware of the reasons why people were choosing to commute eco-friendly and what the importance was of buying organic, locally grown products, but now I have begun to make the change. I think that it is important for me, as well as everyone who participates, to find alternative lifestyles if we do not agree with the current dynamics of our political society. These small changes in my lifestyle are the ways in which I can change the current geopolitical situation. And while they have nothing to do with the current events occurring in Iran, which I am completely dumbfounded on how to change as one individual, I know that what I am doing now will in some way (whether it be big or small) make our world better for future generations. And as this movement against climate change and capitalism grows just as Hobbes has argued in our text perhaps these changes will take on a life of their own and in several generations be the norm in which individuals live in our society.
Black, Ian (2009) Mir Hossein Mousavi Calls Iranian Government Illegitimate, The Guardian (UK).
Bruno, Greg (2009) Religion and Politics in Iran, Council on Foreign Relations.
Edkins, J., & Zehfuss, M. (2009) Global Politics, A New Introduction. New York, U.S.A.
Erlich, Reese (2009) Iran and Leftist Confusion, Common Dreams.org
Fathi, Nazila (2009) Iran’s President Praises Disputed Elections, The New York Times.
Godspeed, Peter (2009) Iran Faces Struggle for Power, The National Post (Canada).
Gwertzman, Bernard (2009) Iran’s Political Crisis Far from Over, Council on Foreign Relations.
Hardy, Roger (2009) Iran Vote Dispute Moves to Seminary, BBC News (UK).
Kian, Azadeh (1997) Women and Politics in Post-Islamic Iran: the Gender Conscious Drive to Change, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 24, 75-96.
Murphy, Brian (2009) North Korea and Iran Use Similar Script to Get Their Way, The Washington Post.
Sayah, Reza & Amanpour, Christiane (2009), Iranian Election could be Test for Women’s Rights, CNN.
Slackman, Michael (2009) Iran Protestors Take to Streets Despite Threats, The New York Times.