The Prescience Of Protest

Natan Sharansky knows more about fighting for freedom than anyone on earth. His take on the protest in Iran:
Once again, the world is amazed. As with the seemingly sudden appearance of the Solidarity movement in Poland in the 1980s, or the gaudy, grand-scale collapse of the Soviet empire at the end of that decade, the massive revolt of Iranian citizens has elicited the unmitigated surprise of the free world’s army of experts, pundits and commentators. Who would have known? Who could have predicted this eruption of protest in a system so highly repressed, where a generally quiescent populace lives under such a deeply entrenched revolutionary regime?

And yet, just as in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, there were those in Iran who did know all along, who foresaw and even foretold today’s events. These were Iran’s democratic dissidents, some at home, some in exile, some having served long sentences in Iranian prisons or on their way to those prisons right now.
At various Western conferences and forums in recent years, some of these dissidents even succeeded in gaining the ear of leaders of the free world. They were greeted with sincere expressions of sympathy and support — but also with silent skepticism. Surely their assessments of the Iranian situation were unreliable at best. Heroic they undoubtedly were, but objective? After all, they lacked access to classified information, to satellite photography and the other tools of modern intelligence-gathering. They could not see the whole picture.
Now it turns out that, like their predecessors in the Soviet Union, they were right.
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