17 June 2009
At first I thought it was a joke. That there could be free elections in "The Islamic Republic of Iran". Then I learned that, indeed, I was right, to a point. The elections held for the Presidency of Iran last Friday in which M. Ahmedinejad allegedly won a 'landslide' were not free. Indeed, even the so-called reform candidates had to be formally approved by the actual power in Iran, the "Guardian Council" and had to meet stringent ideologic requirements before their names could even be put on the ballot.
That aside, the raging protests and the brutality exhibited by "The Islamic Republic of Iran" shows that even they can't, in the name of Allah, pull the wool over every Iranian's eyes. I know that the Persian empire was at one point one of the largest in the world. The Persian culture is one of the most celebrated in the history of humanity. It makes me wonder, then, how long the people of Iran will stand for the theocracy that they got back in 1979, a theocracy that has ruined the Iranian economy, made Iran a paraiah state in the West, and otherwise meddlesome in the politics in the explosive Middle East.
We can trace the 1979 revolution to American meddling. It was the US which helped stage a coup d'etat in 1953 to place the friendly, malleable Shah back in power. It gave the US, for a very long time, a valuable outpost in the region. So the Iranian students who kidnapped the American hostages and held them until the day that Ronald Reagan took office are now the Ahmedinejads of the world. But their cause - continuous rants against the "Great Satan", the US, and the "Little Satan", Israel, are not enough to keep a people clothed, housed, fed, employed and happy. What does the existing government of Iran offer its own people?
What Ayatollah Khomenei and M. Ahmedinejad cannot admit publicly is that their state is in ruin and the people know it. So much so that the Iranians have to resort to violence to quell the righteous outrage that is currently boiling over there. They know when they've been had, when they' ve been sold a bill of goods for which there is no substance. I cannot help but think that at this point, Khameini and Ahmedinejad are, like their brothers in Hamas, holding on to power for its own sake, not necessarily for the sake of the welfare and prosperity of the people they supposedly govern.
The problem for the Guardian Council, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Ahmedinejad and the rest of the current power elite is how to put the toothpaste back into the tube. It can't be done. Let us hope that the actions of so many, and those seven that (so far) have been killed in the name of democracy (albeit flawed, but democracy nonetheless) will not have been in vain. Let us hope that the people of Iran continue to show the rest of the world that power in Iran does truly rest ultimately with the people, not with Ayatollahs and the like who claim a monopoly on truth and justice. There's a revolution brewing in Iran. The question will be who will stand with the Iranian people.