I never cross-post, but in this case I’m making an exception, because perhaps the comments section here might bear some fruit. Here’s a slightly modified version of what I posted over at the LRC blog:
There isn’t a whole lot the American public can do to stop a war that its political class wants. Yet I wonder if the Iranian people themselves could contribute to the cause. The single most important thing for them to do is to speak directly to the West in general and the U.S. in particular. Make a YouTube. Tell us about yourself, your life, your country. The West is being told that Iranian officials are eager to incinerate Israel and the U.S., even at the cost of the total destruction of Iran itself. Give us your take on this.
Above all, this kind of activity would humanize Iranians. Most Americans know nothing about Iran and have never met or even seen a regular Iranian citizen. They need to be humanized for Americans, to make it all the harder to demonize them.
Now here’s the problem: Internet censhorship in Iran. The Iranian government has cracked down on many outlets, including Facebook, that it fears might be used to express dissent. This alone suggests the regime’s days are numbered, with or without the counterproductive “help” of the U.S. government. But I don’t know if that means even YouTube use is restricted. The regime is so afraid of its own people that it may be preventing them from influencing Western opinion away from the idea of war on Iran — a task on which the Iranian regime itself has done an exceedingly poor job.
Whatever restrictions exist, Iranians should use whatever outlets are available to reach the rest of the world, and make clear that they, like us, are normal people seeking a better life. And if the restrictions at home are too great, then Iranians living abroad should pick up the slack.