If anything, the Ayatollahs have proven it yet again. Whether feudal or religious, it is somehow amazing to see relics of medieval political structures now in the 21st century insisting on reimposing their will on their people (and others). Iran’s Ayatollahs have brought this to the forefront once again. Unlike a rogue mad-cap nation like North Korea, no model of psychological aberration of the Dr No type can be used here. This is a classic anachronism, a hang-over.

Whatever the guise, be it of so-called Islamic republics, the ‘hidden republics’ of other religions, or supposedly benign ‘democratic’ monarchies (is it possible that there are lese majeste laws in the 21st century? Give us all a break), what it really does boil down to is mass emotional manipulation and ethical transgression.

Exposure has become painfully obvious in today’s age of citizen reportage and hyper-fast breaking news. It is becoming almost impossible to contain news of dissent, regardless of any arguments as to accuracy and verification. One of the most fundamental human rights is the right to be heard, and in today’s world many people have learn to exercise and demand that right for themselves and their brethren who are muzzled and silenced by unrelenting regimes.

Though wild and unruly, the proactive and interactive dynamic of social media like twitter, facebook and the like, are proof of the universal nature of proactive care and empathy forming fast moving, rapidly uniting fronts for causes ranging from Guantanamo to Iran. No one is exempt from the fury and flurry of today’s electronic campaigns. Avaaz has replaced Amnesty International at the forefront of the global hue and cry world.

With so many cultures and histories interacting, it is so clear that we need to fall back on to shared values. And consequently it is so important that we learn to develop and integrate true secular ethics. Any religious values which are outside of these belong to yourself, and that is your own personal choice.

Does it still need to be stated that one’s religion is one’s own choice, whether it is in Iran, Malaysia, Italy, China, or wherever? And it should remain a free choice. The right to express one’s opinion should not be a luxury, it is a right regardless if it is not “God’s”/”the People’s” Will. And who exactly took that message when we weren’t there? The backwardness of demanding that your core beliefs should be dictated by your race or nationality is ignorance of the lowest order, or even cynical power mongering at its worst.

What we need is to recognize that universal, secular ethics and clean, transparent democratic government everywhere is our only chance for global survival.