Thursday, 18 June 2009

Wisdom supporting liberty - Jules Dalou, 1889

Peace--protesters-maleWhen liberty has never needed the support of wisdom so desperately, it's a pleasure to discover gems like this, from back when the French knew how to do sculpture and the world knew how to appreciate it, posted at blogs like The Aesthetic Capitalist -- where you can go to learn much more about this small 24" wonder.

As Keats said, "Truth is beauty...

PS; The revolution in Iran is still being twittered here and here – and aggregated at Andrew Sullivan’s. Two recent “tweets” offer both insight and hope.

  • “Only [the pro-government] baseej militia and Etellaat are following orders – and they cannot contain country without Army.
  • “140 characters [the maximum length of a Twitter post] is like a novel when you’re being shot at.”
  • As opposition protest continues in post-election Iran, Revolutionary Guard announces websites and bloggers must remove any materials that 'create tension' or face legal action.
  • Revolutionary Guard targets social media
  • "One if by land, two if by sea... and three if by Twitter."
  • Check out the photoshopping on the pro-ahmedinajad rally pictures
  • “Confirmed by MOUSAVI - Thursday march in memory of those killed - location tbc - sea of green.”


  1. Art and tragedy. Wagnerian in proportion.

    Further to postings in "Third of May - Goya", the following from

    Wednesday afternoon, June 17, armored convoys of Revolutionary Guard forces began rolling into Tehran from three directions to prevent supporters of the opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi assembling on the fifth day after the disputed presidential election, DEBKAfile's Iranian sources report.

    DEBKAfile's Iranian sources report the confrontation between the regime and Iran's protest movement is closer than ever to a bloody climax.

    Thursday, June 18, may be critical.

  2. Truly a gem of a piece.

    - Sam P

  3. From James Taranto in WSJ:

    *The election was a contest between Evildee and Evildum.

    *We said as much Friday in arguing that an Ahmadinejad victory might be preferable because the reasonable-seeming Mousavi would be more likely to lull the West into complacency.

    *Speaking very broadly, there are two possible outcomes in Iran now.

    *The regime may succeed in crushing the opposition, enhancing its own power at the expense of whatever pretense of legitimacy it might have had a week ago.

    *Or it may fail to do so and be weakened or overthrown.

    *The free world has every interest in encouraging the latter outcome, and someone ought to bring the leader of the free world up to speed on the events of the past few days.

    *The Jerusalem Post reports that some Iranian dissidents claim the Tehran regime has imported Palestinian terrorists to help crush the opposition.

    *One dissident hopes that "Israel would "come to its senses" and ruthlessly deal with the Palestinians".

    *The Post includes an apposite disclaimer: "Amid the violence, confusion and government restrictions on communication, the accuracy of conflicting accounts is hard to ascertain."

    *But certainly these claims are no less credible than Roger Cohen's "reports" about happy Iranian Jews.

  4. From David Ignatius June 19 2009 in the Washington Post:

    What's happening on the streets of Tehran is a lesson in what makes history: It isn't guns or secret police, in the end, but the willingness of hundreds of thousands of people to risk their lives to protest injustice.

    That is what overthrew the shah of Iran in 1979, and it is now shaking the mullahs.

    Whether it will succeed in Iran is impossible to predict, but already this movement has put an overconfident regime on the ropes.

    If you take a step back, you can see a similar process of ferment across the Muslim world these days.

    Muslim parties and their allies have suffered election setbacks over the past several years in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco and Pakistan.

    The most extreme group of all, al-Qaeda, has alienated former supporters everywhere it has tried to put down roots.

    President Obama was right to speak carefully about the events in Iran during the first week of protest.

    But it's time for him to express his solidarity with the Iranians who are so bravely taking to the streets each day.

    He can do that without seeming to meddle if he chooses his words wisely.

    Obama should invoke the Iranian yearning for justice -- which was a powerful theme of the revolution.

    He should cite Iran's own rich history of political reform, going back to Cyrus the Great, whose declaration on good governance was chiseled in the Cyrus Cylinder in 539 B.C.

    He should cite the Iranian constitution of 1906, which established elections and basic freedoms.

    Democracy is not an American imposition but an Iranian tradition.

    The biggest gift the West can give the Iranian people is to keep open the lines of communication.

    The regime wants to turn off not just foreign press coverage but also Internet traffic.

    America and its allies can counter that blackout. We can push broadband access into Iran via satellites, or via Internet relays along the Iraq-Iran border, from Basra to Sulaymaniyah.

    If the world keeps watching, the protesters will be emboldened, and the mullahs will be checked.

    Today the regime's nightmare is coming true.

    For the past few years, Iran's leaders have worried about a "color revolution," on the model of Georgia or Ukraine. Guess what? It's happening.

    The mullahs face a dilemma: If they make concessions, they look weak; if they try to crack down, they may inflame the movement even more.

    It's precisely the choice that the shah and his secret police faced in 1978 and '79.

    The simple fact is that Iran's repressive rulers have overplayed their hand.

    By manipulating the election results, they have created a popular backlash.

    Iranians now are voting with their feet and with their blood.

  5. The original crowd scene before photo-shopping:


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