IRAN’S FUTURE June 28, 2009Posted by wmmbb in CENTRAL ASIA.
Has the protest movement in Iran, as is suggested for example by Kim Sengupta in The Indpendent, run out of stream?
Will it now dissipate into an acquience to the reality of a repressive and violent state, or will the dream of the 1979 Islamic Revolution be kept alive?
Much like early Christianity in the Roman Empire, the astounding success of Islam rapidly expanding from Mecca and Medina following the Prophets death in 633 so that it had reached Spain and our near north by 1082. No religion could have spread so quickly without a strong appeal to people. The Qu-ran represented a liberation theology. As with Christianity, Islam was duly accommodated (if that is the process) to the needs of State Power. I imagine in Islam as in Christianity there is a tension between the two impulses. The tension is perhaps evidence in the interpretation of scripture as much as in practice.
In such a context the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew the Shah supported by the US – no small achievement – both a democratic and Islamic revolution. William Pfaff, via Truthdig, observes:
Iran has made itself the leading Islamic state in the Middle East, a republic standing alongside the traditional Muslim monarchies of Jordan, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. It was meant as a model of Muslim self-liberation from foreign oppressors.
It had been an exemplar in both 1951 and 1979 of popular uprising against Western domination, and subsequently of the installation of a modern Islamic form of government with a democratic substructure, controlled within clerical institutions, with a clerical supreme leader who spoke the divinely inspired final word on government decisions.
This government now stands discredited internationally, as well as in the eyes of what clearly seems the majority of Iranians, who are ruled today by a massive deployment of police power for the sake of unaccountable personal or clan advantage of the leadership. They, and Muslims in general, should learn from this that the enemies are not all without—they are also within the Islamic world.
The hardliners in Tehran seem to be in the ascendant, as reported by Kin Sengupta. For example, opposition leader and defeated presidential candidate has it is reported adopted “a more conciliatory” by agreeing to seek approval for demonstrations. Equally as part of the systematic dismantling and isolation of communication, Mousavi’s website has been hacked. He is now off line. It is reported:
. . . one Assembly of Experts member, Ahmad Khatami, said: “I want the judiciary to punish rioters without mercy, to teach everyone a lesson.”
Mr Khatami’s speech, which was broadcast nationwide, continued: “Based on Islamic law, whoever confronts the Islamic state should be convicted as mohareb [one who wages war against God] and punished ruthlessly and savagely. Under Islamic law punishment for those convicted as mohareb is execution.”
Robert Fisk, also in The Independent, provides background on the religious control of the Iranian state.
The fickle nature of the attention by the media is not necessary the measure of what is happening in Iran. It seems to me that the protest, in the face of brutality, has entered a new phase. Violence and repression have their limits. It is difficult to suppress a populations of millions that live in a mega-city such as Tehran. The regime has effectively lost its legitimacy and the appeal of the 1979 by corrupting the results of the election, as would appear to be the case. Simply by the expedient of not allowing full and transparent accountability they have almost ensured administrative inefficiency and corruption. So despite the surface compliance that may have been gained, it is unlikely that the grievances will disappear. The likelihood is that they will increase.
The question might now whether the opposition will be violent or nonviolent. In the situation where the state has overwhelming monopoly on violence, other than the American supported terrorist organization, the MEK, is likely that the opposition will necessarily have to be nonviolent, as in fact the demonstrations were in the main. Strategically, aside from a principled stance, this would make sense, since the regime is now looking for evidence or the opportunity to manufacture evidence that the opposition is complicit in external manipulation.
Much like the situation in Pakistan with the creation of millions of refugees, just because the Western Media has other matters of moment to absorb it’s attention, it does not mean that the lights have gone for the Iranian people. I doubt that compliance of a population by means of violence is so easy or so permanent as supposed. It is more likely that compliance will be stories and ideology. Islam might well be the inspiration for the opposition in contradistinction to the espoused brutal creed of the government.
By giving the people of Iran a human face, the demonstrations have been extraordinary successful in the prevention of murderous aerial attacks by external enemies.
I took it for granted that the election had been rigged. Mark Weisbot at Common Dreams looked more closely at the electoral process, suggesting that the process was an open and fair one with monitoring by the major candidates. So why did Moasavia and the other candidates contend that the election had been stolen? Equally, if the election was stolen, maybe the Iranian Government is being underestimated.