A large segment of the population is indebted to this regime. They have gained privileges by relying on it. At the same time, based on the biter experience of the 1979 revolution, they might think that the situation would get worse if the regime is overthrown. They might not support the government but don’t defend the movement either. [Mohammad Reza Nikfar, January 2018, Zamaneh Media]
The Shame of the Medias in Iran
The Iranian media, by publishing deliberately inflammatory reports on the vandals, terrorists and enemies of Islam, were on the side of the regime. Either the reader believed them or downright rejected it. A question of opinion more than presenting fact and realistic analysis.
In the turmoil of 2009, the heavy-handed repression in Tehran brought too much international attention to domestic affairs. This time the repression is spread out in time and place.
In 2009, the arrests of a thousand people in the capital city were newsworthy on the international scene. Presently, dozens of arrests in provincial small towns over weeks can easily be covered up from the public’s attention.
In the 2009 riots, the stories of rape, torture and executions were out in no time and documented. These days, the arrested commit suicide. The Iranian media report them in the words chosen by the regime.
In 1978, the Iranian media were complaisant to the monarchy. Within a week in January 1979 the colours changed; since, the media have become the instrument of political Islam.
Think of this fable told by the judiciary power and echoed in the press over and over: the protester was so ashamed of betraying Islam and the venerated Leader that out of despair killed himself in the prison’s wash-room.
The sad fact of the Iranian political realm is that there are hundreds of thousands if not millions who are ready to swallow such balderdash and march in the streets carrying banners provided by the ministry of information. This is a worrying hope killer for the #IranProtests.
Whether the mob marches out of their conviction, social pressure, or for a reward, is an important factor to analyse but secondary to the effect produced. At the end of the day, it strengthens the despotic clerics and depicts a unified mass behind the Leader.
Facts need to be exposed without hysteria in the media and not opinions taken as facts. After some short and mild coverage, the papers went back to report on the only thing that they are trained for: covering the opinion of the clerics, led by Khamenei, that the protesters are enemy spies.
The Iranian medias, as a corporate body, have no sense of honesty, courage, and fairness. Neither do they feel a sense of duty to the readers and to the community.
Of course, in Iran, individual journalists are undermined, attacked, and even murdered, if they do not play the game. Some flee to the West. They need some years of adjustment to shake off their blind and self-imposed censorship before being able to report. By which time they are not in the field any more.
Presently, after the mass marches, the ayatollahs are scheming to erect more smokescreens. Rain dances – sorry! prayer seances – are being organised since music and dancing are forbidden arts for those living in an Islamic society.
As we wrote, the Leader’s representatives in the provinces were organising mass prayers for “rain to fall”. Thousands were attending.
The French have a saying: La bêtise ne tue personne/stupidity does not kill anyone. No one died in Kermanshah holding the banners given to them by the clerics.
If it did, the disappearance of the superstitious and credulous people would have divided the population by half. The clerics offer superstition and lies to the population in their dozens. In their thousands, the credulous people take the bait.
Any one that believes in the Republic of Iran and is sincere about working for democratic values and freedom of expression should take the malleability of the masses very seriously.
A Mutant Society
Iranian society is changing and evolving. The greatest changes are unconscious.
The consequences of the population growth together with global warming and pollution are enormous, but hardly talked about. As the rural areas are abandoned, slums grow in the suburbs of the towns and larger cities.
Economic mismanagement, widespread corruption, the stuffy Islamic ideology and the violence needed to implement it have created deep-rooted stagnation and cocktails of explosive combinations ready to blow up anywhere in the country.
To avoid unemployment and have something to do, tens of thousands register each year at the universities when their families can afford it. Once a young Iranian has exhausted all the ways to lengthen their studies, unemployment is still waiting.
Statistically, the Iranian youth are well educated. If by educated one means the quantity of diplomas distributed, then there can be no doubt about the validity of the statement.
However, the high number of diplomas distributed does not say much about the level of curiosity in one’s society, the ability to question the wisdom received from it, and the sufficient understanding of it. How to be a mature citizen cannot be learned from university courses.
Censorship, propaganda and misinformation blur one’s vision. Economic and social pressures act as dissolvers of the political ideas for the common good: the educated Iranian enters the system.
To save his interests, he defends the regime. To protect himself and his family, he double talks, he has a private life and a public pretence. He creates a comfort zone under a glass-dome. He may not be superstitious, and deep down, he may even reject the system, but he will not object to it in public. He is hooked to the regime and easily frightened, if something even remotely threatens his comfort zone.
This is why he adheres to the romantic portrait of the moderate Islamists and the radical Islamists as the regime depicts during the run-ups to the rigged elections, presidential or legislative.
The breath of fresh air, a couple of weeks every four years, is made up of wishy-washy public debates with no content. The personal exchanges of insult in the media, something that the public loves, make the headlines.
The show is so absorbing that no one asks why the candidates are chosen by the Leadership, why the process is closely supervised and controlled behind the curtains, or what the pedigrees of those labelled moderate or radical are.
The voters in larger towns, but especially in Tehran, wear the friendliest smiles for the cameras, wave their elector cards: the evolution of the regime from within. They close their eyes, hands over the ears, and want to believe that change is around the corner.
When an episode like #IranProtests breaks, the smiling voter is as confused and rattled as the men at the top he hates but bows to.
However, he has too much to lose. He is part of the system.
Following the #IranProtests, unsurprisingly, the deputies labelled as moderates have turned out to be useless and faint-hearted rabbits. Silently, they ran for shelter under the skirt of the Leader, leaving their voters in the void.
This is when our educated Iranian moans and whimpers: I was cheated by them.
No You Were Not Cheated!
You wanted to be cheated by creating an ego-centred comfort zone under a glass-dome: the Velayat-e Faqih’s glass-dome.
The duty of all Iranians, wherever they are, is to protect and support #IranProtests and fight the Velayat-e Faqih with realism, pragmatism and determination. The Velayat-e Faqih’s glass-dome has to break and it will takes time.