AFRICANGLOBE – Iran’s supreme leader has stepped into the debate over police violence and race in America, likening police shootings of Black people in Ferguson and elsewhere to the Palestinian struggle in Gaza in a series of tweets using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
In a stream of comments on his English-language Twitter feed, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday returned to a theme he has repeatedly struck since Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, was murdered by police officer Darren Wilson in Missouri on 9 August. In his latest outpouring, Khamenei seeks to highlight what he sees as the hypocrisy of the US at Christmas by suggesting a link between Jesus suffering for the oppressed, and official oppression of protesters in Ferguson.
“#Jesus endured sufferings to oppose tyrants who had put humans in hell in this world & the hereafter while he backed the oppressed. #Ferguson” he tweeted.
When it comes to domestic US affairs, Khamenei is quite the regular commentator. In 2011, when Occupy protests were erupting across America, he predicted the movement would bring down the entire capitalist system.
After protests exploded in Ferguson after Brown’s murder, he seized on the events to criticize race relations generally in the US. He wrote: “Today like previous years, African-Americans are still under pressure, oppressed and subjected to discrimination. #Ferguson”
Today like previous years, African-Americans are still under pressure, oppressed and subjected to discrimination. #Ferguson
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) August 17, 2014
When a grand jury decision shielding Darren Wilson of any charges in Michael Brown’s murder was announced on 24 November, sparking disorder in Ferguson and further protests across the US, Khamenei returned to the theme. He accused the US government of being dishonest with its citizens, tweeting: “At events in #Ferguson US is fighting with its ppl. #BlackLivesMatter”
Khamenei’s English-language Twitter feed is unverified by the social media company. It is widely understood that the account is managed by the supreme leader’s personal office, though they too will neither confirm or deny it.
Its existence casts a sliver of light into the thinking of the man who has wielded ultimate power in Iran for the past 25 years, a time of ongoing tension with the US over the country’s nuclear programme. The Twitter feed also acts as a megaphone for official Iranian policy, with regular denunciations of the Israeli government and Zionism.
By: Ed Pilkington And Kelly Golnoush Niknejad
Editors Note: While Black people in America should be happy that their legitimate struggle for full citizenship and human rights is being recognized at the highest level, by political leaders around the world. We should therefore resist all attempts to link our struggle with that of any other people, which can sometimes serve as a Trojan Horse or to derail our focus off into matters that does not serve our interests. #BLACKLivesMatter.