Ali-Reza Panahiyan: The Symbol of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Six years ago, we wrote an open letter to Ali-Reza Panahiyan. He had assimilated the westernised Iranians to the members of Daesh-ISIS. He said: The westoxified among us are no different from takfiris and ISIS.
For us, westernised does not mean destroying the Iranian identity in favour of an allegedly superior Western one. It means blending the two. Qualifying the westernised Iranians as ISIS terrorists was at the least absurd.
Would the voice of a feeble woman / ضعیفه be heard? In Iran’s phallocentric theocracy, his illustrious title of Hujjat al-Islam / حجت الاسلام – just below ayatollahs as such an authority on Islam – squashes any hope of our voice being heard.
During the past years, he has gained in prestige and stepped higher up the social ladder. Often, he is seen in the company of the Supreme Leader. He holds prayers, gives speeches, and has improved his website and social media presence.
Frequently, he calls himself Famous Iranian scholar. Farsi has no definite or indefinite article, he can pretend to be either the famous or a famous scholar.
As a feeble woman, I vouch for the former.
But, for such a learned philosopher who endlessly brags about his omniscience, he is mute on the knots so essential to be tackled for the commonwealth of our country.
Most probably, as an Islamist of multiple talents, he has taken part in, or at the least, can justify the failings of the Islamic Republic of Iran in:
- corruption and nepotism
- oppression and ethnic persecutions
- hypocrisy and flattery
- protesters and critics crackdown and assassinations
- lack of free speech
- massive propaganda and brainwashing
- rigged elections
- sham discourse on women’s dignity
For Ali-Reza Panahiyan, patriarchy / مرد سالاری is a natural blessing and Death to America has exact Koranic roots. His views on female mental conditions for management are chilling. He says: According to some research, unveiled girls who are very interested in flaunting are from families where their mothers are rude to their fathers.
Undoubtedly, he is a symbol of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Panahiyan loves to make videos of himself preaching and to produce pamphlets. He discourses in a language only taught in Qom seminaries: a pile of words is formed by Farsi and Arabic, all tied round the wrap threads made of anecdotes from Imams’ lives and held in place by the weft, Koran Surahs, which is passed back and forth and beaten down securely.
His followers react to a word or two caught here and there. They cry when asked and send blessings to Muhammad and his descendants.
Do they reflect on what they hear? Are they listening at all to what he says and the consequences? Or are they intellectually numbed?
Are they not the largest part of the mobs that hold banners proclaiming the glory of the Islamic Revolution and their blind submissiveness to the Supreme Leader?
Freeloaders Braying in Your Ear
Ali-Reza Panahiyan is a Shiite preacher / واعظ, and a part-time assassin. All dictators need thugs and ruffians to carry their message to the population they dominate. The middlemen to collude with the swaggering brutes within the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran are the Friday-Imams and the preachers.
But, not only. Don’t be surprised when a deputy to the parliament from Qom calls to the Supreme Leader to hang Hassan Rouhani a thousand times over.
Was it not a few days ago that Rouhani said We are proud of our democracy?
By their sermons, blessed by the Supreme Leader, preachers induce hatred and intolerance with appalling violence. They explain why Allah allocates men to noble tasks, but donkey work such as buying groceries is for females to do. The supremacy of men is perfectly convenient to the males in a reactionary and phallocentric society that dabbles in conventionalities. In fact, if each man subdued one woman at the least, the Islamic Republic would just have to run half the population. Isn’t it an ingenious idea?
The Shiite clergymen have never made an effort to work with their hands and, intellectually, do something besides churning out Islamic dogmas.
Contrary to the Christian hierarchies for which manual working in the monasteries was a part of daily life, the Shiite hierarchy has seldom, if ever, fostered a particular talent, except preaching.
I cannot recall a name that had helped to dig a well in a village or one that had built a school with his own hands. Between 1964 and 1978, the clerics reared their rancour from being deprived of their comfortable profits and their bitterness at having to shake themselves to earn a living. Deprivation gave them an idea: that of seizing the political power. The grotesque foolishness of the Shah’s dictatorship and the indecisions of the civil society, some would say the middle-class, gave them all the arguments that they had lacked in 1963.
However, all these thugs and ruffians that today enslave the population to their dogmas and work as part-time assassins need to feed their family and spend money for attracting stooges. They crave a lavish lifestyle with properties and luxury cars. The opaque systems of Islamic budgets provide them with the basics for a comfortable living, and maybe a bit more if it could be fixed. But, shady business deals with wealthy traders and traffickers have proven more profitable and flawless.
In today’s internal power struggles and disarray in the Islamic Republic, wolves are eating wolves, watched by a crowd of onlookers, the Iranian nation.
Fake or genuine accusations and denunciations for corruption and wrongdoing are soaring. Add jealousies and betrayals within cliques, and seeming vengeances among cliques, and public stories of fraud and murky deals abound.
These days, Ali-Reza Panahiyan is targetted by his rivals as the owner of some expensive dwellings. We will not go into the details that involve byzantine politics and layers of pious scoundrels united in embezzlement and fraud. It would only be one story among thousands, another account of scheming between the clerics and the earners of big money.
What is more interesting is the line of defence taken up by Ali-Reza Panahiyan. He admitted to the ownership of properties. But, he added [abridged] that he never sought to make money and his properties were “gifts / هدیه” from his mates /رفقا.
He added: Like Imam Khomeini, who lived on gifts, and the Supreme Leader, who lives on the gifts of his mates. I live like them. […] If the details of my life were to be known, I would deserve charity.
Don’t you think that we should all have generous mates who would present to us more than a box of cookies?
Forty Years of Night of Darkness
In Iran, the intellectual decline has pervaded the country; we are sinking. With these men at the command of the country, it is not possible to serenely look to the future.
The ensuing polemic that the case of Professor and Hujjat al-Islam Ali-Reza Panahiyan stirred would be another fire in the pan. We prefer to indulge in polemics rather than working out their implication and acting accordingly? Have we lived through too many of them to care?
How many times have we been chagrined by the fate of personalities of value like Nasrin Sotoudeh in the hands of theocratic thugs? Could we remember the names of the people cruelly hanged over the years?
None of these episodes has galvanized us to take decisive actions against our leaders.
We have taken refuge in cynicism, instead of deserting the men who have lied to us since 1979.
We have protested in the streets without reflection, we have had sectorial group strikes and sit-ins.
But, as a nation, as a population of solidarity, hardly ever exercised oneness against the pillars of Velayat-e Faqih.
In the early days of the Islamic Revolution, when some of us tried to share our worries for the future with our families and friends in Iran, they replied, assertively: Cool it! Journalists are exaggerating. Nothing to worry about. The Mullahs / آخوندها will set off to Qom in no time. No one has seen this country run by flea-ridden mullahs, آخوند شپشو.
Well, we did see. We still do see them running the country. With a difference. The flea-ridden lot are us, those wearing fine garments are them. Often the image of Iran we project is the one we would like it to be, the opposite of what the hard realities are.
In 2020, we could even not bury in peace and mourn as a lifelong friend, the renowned musician, Mohammad Reza Shajarian who believed that humanity should rule the world, not religion, nationalism or ideology. Humanity is the aim of all arts.
Quoting from his Dawn Bird / مرغ سحر song:
Oh God, oh Sky, oh Nature, turn our night of darkness into dawn.
ای خدا، ای فـلک، ای طبیعت، شام تاریک ما را سحر کن.
Perhaps, we should prosaically and humbly add, Oh our Nation / ای ملت ما to his supplication.