Iran : Myths and Realities

By Azar Majedi

arton586-98fa5Iran premieres international news. What has led to mass protests ? How the situation has changed so dramatically in a week ? What people want ? What the protests will become ? These questions are repeated over and over on all TV channels and in the press.. Various political analysts and European or American academics of Iranian origin, with varying degrees of allegiance to the so-called reformist camp, are invited to shed light on the situation. All of these commentators share the following assumption : "The people of Iran do not want the revolution". Over there, they mean that the population does not want to throw the Islamic regime overboard. They say the people want an evolution, a gradual change. They insist that people want minor changes in the political system, just a little more freedom. They say they are protesting against Ahmadinejad and the rigged election, not against the islamic regime. So, that if Mousavi becomes president, everything becomes normal.

This is the core of all the analyzes offered by the international media. Since the so-called leftist "anti-imperialist" Robert Fisk in the Independent, to the right-wing Financial Times journalists, they all repeat the same thing. The first categorically proclaims that the people of Iran "are happy with the Islamic regime". He keeps repeating the 'anti-imperialist' cliché that the people of Iran 'don't want the West to tell them what to do. They don't want to be like in the West ” (quoted from Aljazeera in English). As if wanting to end the Islamic regime, wanting to end religious tyranny, with sexual apartheid, repression, poverty and corruption were by default western aspirations and not universal human aspirations. As if, even if we called them western, that would discredit them. According to Fisk, the people of Iran are loyal to the "Islamic" revolution. They just want to end Ahmadinejad.
The Financial Times reporter, to the morning news on GMTV, disagreed with my statement saying that "this is the beginning of the end for the Islamic regime". She maintained that the people in Iran "did not want a revolution.. They want an evolution and a little freedom. They want to be able to put on T-shirts if they want to ".
If I didn't believe so strongly in what I would like to see happen in my homeland, in the one I had to flee (with thousands of others) to save my life, escape torture and execution, at time or M. Mousavi was prime minister, I might think I was crazy for wanting a change, to want to overthrow this brutal dictatorship, misogynist, reactionary, religious. I could tell myself that all of my beloved comrades and friends who were killed in the infamous prisons of the Islamic regime were mad that they had lost their lives fighting against this regime.. I might think that the hundreds of thousands of people who risk their lives in this adventure must be crazy too.
I am sure that Messrs Mousavi, Karoubi and Khatamei don't want so much change. They only want small changes. I have no doubts that they are "happy with the Islamic regime". But what about Neda, the girl who was killed in Tehran ? Of that pregnant woman who was killed in a protest ? Of his companion who lost two loved ones with a single bullet ? What about the mothers and fathers whose sons and daughters were brutally tortured and executed, who don't even know where their beloved children are buried, of those parents who, for fear of reprisals, buried their children at the bottom of their garden ? What about the parents whose thousands of children stepped on landmines during the Iran-Iraq war with the key to heaven hanging from their necks? ? Of those children whose mothers were stoned to death ? Of those millions of women who have been forced to wear the veil and treated like halves of human beings ? Are these people "happy" with the Islamic regime, do they just want a little freedom, a little change ?
If I didn't know, if I didn't feel these grievances so closely, if I hadn't seen them with my own eyes, if I didn't know some of those brave young women and men who were executed by the regime, so, I could be convinced. I would have no choice but to accept the only interpretation offered by the international media. It's terrifying. Is it accidental, or does it reflect a hidden will ? Are these analyzes the product of a superficial understanding of a society in the grip of dictatorship and censorship, or is it part of a strategy ?

We were there, this is what we saw !

I am from a generation that has seen mass protests against another dictatorship. I am from a generation who fought against the dictatorship of the shah. I fought against two dictatorships for equality, freedom, social and economic justice, prosperity. I am, like many of my comrades, an experienced political activist. The media acted the same way ago 30 years. At that time, the technology was not as advanced. There was no YouTube, ni d’ internet, no satellite TV. But people already depended on the international media for news. There were short wave radios, the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Israel and Radio Moscow for information and news.
In 1978, the media played an important role in turning Khomeini into a leader - when he was nothing but a member of the clergy in exile, almost unknown to the majority of the population, and almost forgotten even by most of his fanatics. In the middle of the cold war, fear of a huge popular left movement in Iran, brought the western states to meet in a summit in Guadeloupe, to influence the course of events of the largest mass movement in Iranian history. In a short time, to our greatest amazement, islamists, who were marginalized in the first phase of the protests, took leadership in the anti-monarchist movement.
Saddam Hussein called for Khomeini's deportation, on the pretext that he was engaged in political activities against the Iranian state. France welcomed him. In one night, he became an international media celebrity. A "leader" was born. A revolution for freedom, equality and justice had aborted. It was from 30 years of blood, d’oppression, of misogyny, sexual apartheid, stoning, of mutilation and the most abominable political regime.
History is repeating itself. Like always, for fear of radical changes that could lead to the strengthening of the left, media machinery only tells half the truth. Their "in-depth analyzes" don't even scratch the surface. Maybe for some journalists, the surface is all they can grasp, mas overall, it's a deliberate plan to censor the left, so as not to show the deep aspirations and demands of the population. A “moderate leader” and all they are willing to let be expressed.

The balance of power

Do people who protest only against Ahamdinejad ? Are they really happy with the Islamic regime ? Do they just want a little change, a little freedom ? How do these journalists arrive at such assumptions ? Let's examine this question.
What has happened in Iran in the past few weeks ? In the period leading up to the elections of 12 June, people organized rallies and rallies in support of one of the two so-called reformist candidates and against Ahmadinejad. They voted for Mousavi or Karoubi. Everyone expected the elections to be rigged so people remained vigilant, ready to take to the streets. When the results were announced, just two hours after the polls close, massive protests have started. People took to the streets by the thousands and protested against electoral fraud.
This is how the events unfolded. But that’s not the whole truth. There is something else that jumped out at me. When we try to analyze the situation in Iran, one must consider an important factor in the balance of power. Obviously people couldn't take to the streets and cry "Down with the Islamic Republic", as long as the brutal and sophisticated repressive machine was intact. They acted within the framework of the balance of power and sought to reverse this balance in their favor. Most of the votes for Mousavi or Karoubi were actually a 'no' to Ahmadinejad and the Islamic republic. There were only four candidates who had passed through the veto system of the Council of Guardians. Under the Islamic Republic, 99% people are not allowed to be candidates. According to Islamic law, a woman cannot be president. It suddenly excludes half the population. Not only can people who don't believe in god be candidates, but they must be beheaded according to this same law. Members of a religion other than Shiism are also excluded. Even in this last group, only those who are genuine supporters of the Islamic republic can run for the presidency.

The Council of Guardians has the right to veto the candidates for candidacy and decides who qualifies. This time, only four men who were not important figures in the regime, who had held high-level positions and played an important role in its consolidation, have passed the veto. A part Ahmadinejad, there was Mousavi, Karoubi and Rezai. Mousavi was prime minister during the Iran-Iraq war. It is under his ministry that, in August 1988, in less than a month, thousands of opposition activists, including children, were executed in prison. Karoubi was once a prominent figure, close to Khomeini, president of the Majilis (parliament) Many times. Rezai was the commander of the Islamic Guard Corps (IGC), the main instrument of repression. These men all participated in the violent elimination of opposition to the Islamic republic. If the Iranians manage to bring justice, these men will have to be tried for crimes against humanity.

Does this give the people a real choice ? This is the first question that must be asked. You are, so why did people participate in such large numbers in this election ? People used the opportunity to express their displeasure, their protests, and say a big "no" to the diet. The mass movements during the Mousavi or Karoubi campaign were a big surprise for everyone, including the candidates themselves. In a country where the slightest sign of protest, without even talking about a demonstration, is brutally repressed, the presidential campaign offered a window, an opportunity. The Islamic regime is terrified by these mass movements and the speed with which they have grown in numbers and radicalization.
In the face of this rapid escalation of rallies against the government under the banner of the electoral campaign, the Islamic Guard Corps (IGC) issued a statement that extremists in the candidate camp were trying to overthrow the regime. They threatened people with a harsh crackdown if this happened. Now, the IGC and the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad camp have decided to end the elections and to abort any plan that might weaken the regime. This led to the announcement of the results just hours after the offices were closed..

They misunderstood the situation. They failed to identify the different aspects of collective psychology, the atmosphere in the population. They did not see or understand that times had changed. This time, the atmosphere was very different. People seemed determined not to go back. It wasn't necessarily a conscious decision, expressed. Rather, it was a feeling that resulted from a profound change in the collective psychology of the population.

People don't want this diet anymore. They no longer want to live under a religious tyranny. They don't want sex apartheid anymore. People want to be free. They want equality and prosperity. This is the will of the people. It seems that this time, they are determined to continue the movement until they get what they want. The development of events in recent days, especially after Khamenei's Friday sermon, have shifted the power struggle between the people and the regime. Despite the heavy repression by the security forces, the murder of nearly 200 people, even more injured and the imprisonment of hundreds of protesters, despite the use of security forces and militia killers unleashed against unarmed people, people take up the challenge. The balance of power has shifted in favor of the people, not in the military sense, but in terms of the challenge of bullying and fear. Until Friday, people walked with their mouths closed, trying not to provoke violence, but these last days, the protests became more violent, less constrained. Already, demonstrators shout "down with the Islamic republic". Uncensored feelings resurface in the streets. We hear about, we see videos of unveiled women, wearing totally non-Islamic clothing in some neighborhoods. One of the most significant characteristics of this protest movement is that it is not organized or led by those who claim to be its leaders, or who are identified by the media as its leaders. It's a very spontaneous movement. What we see, in the streets of Tehran ; but also in other big cities, rather looks like an insurrection. It seems that the Islamic regime has entered a phase where, whatever tactics or tone he uses, always brings it to an end. This is the beginning of the end of one of the most brutal political regimes, the most horrible, 20th century. Its fall will have profound effects in the Middle East and for political Islam the women in struggle of Iran and the whole region have everything to gain from these events.

Random Majedi, 23 June 2009

Text taken right here

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