Better late than never, but the extended pause that preceded President Obama’s statement during his last news conference suggests a compromised will. The next time Amadinijad appears anywhere in the West, he should be greeted with protestors bearing aloft the word “Neda” — that’s all, just that. We can no longer depend on presidents and White Houses anxious to rub noses with murderers to represent the best in us.
Politico reports: “Obama borrowed language from struggles throughout history against oppressive governments to condemn the efforts by Iran’s rulers to crush dissent in the wake of June 12 presidential elections. Citing the searing video circulated worldwide of the apparent shooting death of Neda Agha Soltan, a 26-year-old young woman who bled to death in a Tehran street and now is a powerful symbol for the demonstrators, Obama said flatly that human rights violations were taking place.
“‘No iron fist is strong enough to shut off the world from bearing witness to peaceful protests of justice,’ he said during a nearly hour long White House news conference dominated by the unrest in Iran. “Those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history.’”
Yes -- bearing witness, preferably silently, so as not to disturb future negociations with the Iron Fist.
It may be expecting too much to expect presidents to do more than “bear witness” passively.