We are all Iranians!

The Iranian students may have cancelled their planned democracy protests under threat of violence from their opponents but Iranian exiles and supporters, in countries where you are allowed to make your voice heard without fear of retribution, will certainly be marking the July 9 anniversary.

I’ll try and link to reports of such solidarity action today and I’ll start with a few lines from today’s edition of the Italian newspaper Il Riformista, which has organised a series of events in Rome today.

Piero Fassino, secretary of the Democrats of the Left, opens the day with an article outlining the values that should underpin the left’s (and not only the left’s) attitude to democracy. Here is a brief translation of an excerpt:

“The fight for liberty should be without ‘its’ and without ‘buts’. For too long the West has hidden behind the shield of cultural relativism, as if the fact that there are places with different religions, dress, or history makes it acceptable to have a democratic deficit or violations of human rights.

There are standards of liberty that apply to everyone and if we consider them essential in our part of the world, they are also in the rest of the world….The fundamental rights of man – freedom of thought, expression and assembly, without distinction on the basis of gender or religion, are universal.”