Iranians worships their Leader: his picture is everywhere.
Iran Worships The Leader
In Esfand, the last month of the year in the Iranian calendar, the news coverage in the Iranian media gives the flavour of what is in store for the coming year. The Economic of Resistance / Eghtessad- e Moghavemati, as ordered by Ali Khamenei, is an esoteric concept to a layman and totally woolly to any reader in economics. However, all those elected in the Iranian political system by rigged elections and their acolytes are keen to comment on the miracles that the concept will bear. We will see where we stand in March 2015.
Once more, as if it was necessary, Ali Khamenei reasserted himself as the Highest in Iran for the year(s) to come. The pictures taken from his last rally in Mashhad were by far too telling. First he saluted the audience as all tyrants do, as the self-righteous chosen King by divine right. No one is to defy the Vali-e faghih, the infallible one.
The setting of the rally is an accurate picture of Iran: where the Shiite clergy is, the power is.
Forget about pampered young girls of the North of Teheran. Forget about philosophy, poetry, Sufism, culture, music. Forget about free press, free thinking, democracy and the Nowrooz to come.
A Leader, a man, sitting well above all others, tells everyone what to think, how to act. A Muslim worthy of his faith has to behave and do as he says. In fact others, all others in this world, are heretics and if not hanged by his henchmen, they will perish in an inferno. The VIPs of politics, ayatollahs, academics, and officers of censorship are sitting well below him. He is to stand well above all mortals.
This is not to be tolerated in our time. All human beings are born equal in right, and no one, be it a King, a Leader or an Emam is to run a country from above. Proud Iranians appeal to the world to recognise their long-lived civilisation. What this picture portrays is voluntary enslavement, not wisdom. It is a call for a moribund past, not a Nowrooz to come.
Here is the audience. A man-only political rally. Women are not permitted to attend – they are half-portions, second-rate citizens, better kept away from the public eye. Women will be back to the auditorium when men are gone, cameras are gone. They will have to sweep, remove the litter, dust and scrub the floor. In Iran, Islam and politics are virile businesses. Men are to cheer and renew their bond to their Leader. They hover by all other citizens, ensuring that the words of their Leader are listened to and carefully followed. In the palm of their hands, they write slogans: “My life to be sacrificed to My Leader! – Djânam faday-e Rahbar!”
The sacrifice of one’s life to a tyrannical Leader is the way of a coward, an irresponsible, a Nowkar-Sefat.It is rewarding, exciting and challenging to build (Âbâd Kardan) a country in which all citizens are free and responsible. A country thrives when women and man are equal in rights, and overcome difficulties together.
The Press …
Iranian papers, aloof to freedom of press, are quick to learn from Western medias’ twists: getting readers to vote on peculiar subjects or heralding the ten favourite something or other. Some papers choose to take votes on the most important phrase stated by the Leader. 14,000 SMS texts sent to mehrnews.com chose:
“If a wrongdoing is to be seen from the Zionist regime, the Islamic Republic will flatten Tel Aviv and Haifa.”
A chilling message in the tormented Middle East. The Leader, Ali Khamenei, had no words to abate the tragedy taking place in Syria with Iranians being on the side of the dictator.
I am Iranian – the burden of Syrian’s shame looms before me and all my fellow citizens.
Where is the force that would intervene and break this deadly, oppressive bond between Iran and her Leader?
The Phoney President …
Many wanted to believe that voting for a president in a parody of democracy would bring in changes badly needed. In the last month of the year, H. Rouhani complied with the Leader’s orders as it was expected from him. The man in charge of the running government’s show was Dj. Zarif; himself a Leader’s man.
In the meanwhile, H. Rouhani, the named president, was away from Tehran on minor duties. Rouhani was happy to attend schools, orphanages and anywhere else that a ribbon was to be cut, a speech to be given and a bouquet to be exchanged.
We did search writings from Iran, we did search the internet for a symbolic picture of an opposing force capable of breaking the tyranny of the ayatollahs. We were looking for nothing and we found nothing. Desperate individual voices are barely audible and even less heard. They creep here and there on moving sands, ignored. Iranians’ minds are overwhelmed by apathy, indifference. The interdictions of our society have crippled our responsiveness to the resources of the world. Is Iran the place where all should think the same, feel the same and cheer the same man?
To survive, we live on rumours, keeping a watchful eye on family members, friends and neighbours. Tolerance, respect and social dialogue have left us. Fear, censorship and despotism are hammered in us, we carry them with us wherever we go. We cry wolf when we feel like, being victims of our own irresolution and lack of vision. We bury our heads in the sand when action is needed. We wear rose-tinted glasses when realism is demanded.
We have respected academics of Iranian origin in renowned universities, we have daring citizens of Iranian origin appreciated in foreign lands. What we do NOT have is Iran, a country in which we can all thrive, together, regardless of our beliefs, religion and community. We have no political women and men of action. Fear is the motto. Between Iran, a geographic reality, and Iranians, an indefinable entity, there is an abyss of hypocrisy, corruption and distorted realities. Our experience in modest, unpretentious social groups and associations is by far too little and… in politics nil.
In the late 19th century’s social struggles, sticks and stones were enough to send home the disparate opponents to the time’s dictator. In the mid-20th century, tear gas, trained police forces and torture would shut up everyone. Now snipers, insidious propaganda, rape (men and women) and public hanging are added to the panoply of repression. Most damning of it all: the ayatollahs have gone nuclear, in a region socially and geologically instable. Who could and would oppose a foolish theocracy in command of nuclear paraphernalia? Both leaders, Khomeini and Khamenei had no scruples and crushed rebels on Iranian lands, bombarding them from aircraft, gunning them flat out from helicopters. The Iranian advisers to Mr Bashar El-Assad talked from experience.
The idea of using deadlier weapons in future to crush rebellion inside Iran is sick but… is it unlikely?
The Future …
Iran belongs to these kids. In a decade or so they will be mature citizens. Till then, we, the elders, are accountable for the legacy that they will receive. We could let them be taught the ayatollahs’ fear, hatred and hypocrisy. We could teach them to live in a cage or advise them to take refuge in foreign lands, if the domestic pressure becomes unbearable.
There is a third way, a better way: we could take it on ourselves to be active, resourceful and think about the future. We could teach them free will, freedom. We could discover the beauties and forces of this world with them, our little ones. With our children we could win the never-ending fight against religious obscurantism and social interdictions. We could practise solidarity, loyalty and rational thinking with them. We could, if we wanted to, ban despotism.
Since 1979, we, the elders, have let down two generations; perhaps we could save a few of our youngsters from enslavement in the years to come, keeping them smiling about their future in our country>.