Islam has gained territories through its sword and then manipulated conquered peoples by its imposed cult. Language of Islam which happens to be Arabic is one of the main yoke of its domination until our days. Iran was forced to speak Arabic during the two centuries of Muslim occupation. After the military occupation, Iranians could partly restore their language, however botched it into Islam, a mishmash called “Farsi”. Farsi remains until now a mixture of language of Islam with the ancient Persian or Parsi.
In the course of Iranian history, Iranian languages have been written with a number of different scripts. The last one was Avestan, which was banned along with the Persian language itself after the Islamic invasion in 642 AD. The Islamic conquerors imposed their language as the only allowed language on Iranians. The current language, Farsi, appeared during the 9th Century and is written in a version of the Arabic script. Because of its “divine” links with the language of the Koran and Islam, nobody has ever had the right to reform or modernise this script.
In this article, I open a debate over the factual adaptability of this “Farsi” language. The point is if the language is useful for a modern society and especially for our future generations. Such questions are raised up in a sensitive era of our history when our country is de facto occupied by a privileged caste of Muslims who call themselves Seyeds, Sheiks, or devotees of Shiite Islam who considered for many as a force of occupier. This odd era reminds many of our people of the early Muslim aggressors in 7th century when everything including our language was brutally smashed. No wonder, our already crippled Islamised Parsi or what we call it now “Farsi language” is now constitutionally forced to take further Arabo-Islamic allure, a project called “The Cultural Revolution”, planned since 1980 by the Mullahs’ regime. Mullahs believe it is effective to learn Arabic, what would give an edge over the Islamic language – this however has created the opposite so that most people exaggeratedly hate this language, furthermore, right-wing Iranians not only hate Arabic, but also blindly Arabs, labeled them as the mind patterns of “pro-Arab” Mullahs!
The long-term objective of The Cultural Revolution is to root out any aspect of non-Islamic identity from the society by introducing a greater portion of Arabo-islamisation in the language. It is to promote the existing “Farsi” into a more Arabo-Islamic language. The process aims a negation of the rest of pre-Islamic Iranian identity--the similar process of 7th.century when the early Muslims occupied the country and destroyed the advanced Persian civilisation.
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran considers educational institutions based on Islamic principles and norms. The constitution does not tolerate any other identity in faith and language. It has implied this wish by saying, “since the language of the Koran and Islamic texts and teachings is Arabic, and since Iranian literature of post-Islamic history is thoroughly permeated by this language, it must be taught after elementary level, in all classes of secondary school and in all areas of study. Therefore, lessons of Arabic language and reading of the Koran will gain more compulsory character despite dislike of an increasing majority of students to such Islamo-Arabic lessons.
It is highly predictable that after the collapse of the Islamic regime, Iranians will enthusiastically develop a popular trend of both de-Arabisation and de-Islamisation of whole Iranian space, including our language. The words, names, items, numbers, symbols, and all those which remind us of an era of invasion, subjugation, humiliation by Islam will be spontaneously replaced with non-Islamo-Arabic words. In my view, not only in Iran, but all over the Arabo-Islamic world, the inadequacies (or backwardness) of this Islamised language has been a debilitating factor in cross-cultural understanding of necessity for a culture of modernisation.
To avoid any linguistic chaos after the fall of the Islamic regime, we need appropriate reforms to free our language from the long Arabio-Islamic domination. A modernised language not only can fit our pre-Islamic civilised culture, but also can effectively push back the backward effects of Islamic influence among our grassroots. An adaptive language to our modern needs has psychological effects to stop people from creeping back into archaic way of thoughts, obscurantism, and backwardness.
While many languages around the world, including in some Islamic countries, can be permanently and adaptively reformed and modernised, our current language, Farsi, has been used since the invasion of Islam as a cloak for the safeguard of Islamic culture. Since the advent of Islam in Iran, not only Islam has been a launch pad to attack our past identity, but also has been practically crippled our normal attempts toward freedom, progress, gender equality, and modernisation.
No wonder, in a spirit of growing civil disobedience in Iran against the Islamic backward regime, a trend of language reform spontaneously grows among the Iranian youth. It challenges the unpopular Islamic influence in our language. As spontaneous reactions, the young generation in Iran chooses non-Islamic names for children, learns Western languages instead of the institutionalised Arabic, wears T-shirts with Latin writings on them, use a Latino-Persian writing called finglish on the internet. All these “renegades” show the trend for an adaptive language than the current Farsi or in fact an Islamised Parsi.
Once Iran is free from Mullahs’ clutches, a secular state will certainly pass legislative proposals to ensure the task that our current language will be reformed, modernised, and useful to our new society. On the other hand, modern-day methods of instantaneous communication and globalisation require fundamental need in a range of modern languages in order to create and maintain vibrant activities. Therefore, after the fall of the Islamic regime, parallel to restoration of Farsi, Parsi or whatever it will be called, a modern international language as the second language will be be highly promoted nationwide. It will be a solid support for advanced education, research, computer use and any use of modernisation in Iran. Both (Farsi / Parsi /Persian) and the international language open common doors of the continuing struggle for secularisation, democratisation and modernisation.
Let me emphasise, the reformed language has nothing to do with disregarding a part of our classic literature. In fact, no reformed language has taken away the worth of its classic literature. After modernisation of our language, our classic literature will be respected as a patrimony of our literature, but let me emphasise again that Islamic culture behind it has little chance to resist in a free and secular Iran. A modernised language finds effective ways to sustain its literature and heritage. This is not the problem. The problem is the religious influence which couple with our language. A trend I call “Pan Islamo-nationlism” wants to keep Islamic influence at any cost.
It is clear that some people with religious or traditional backgrounds will likely attempt to block or delay the process of language reforms. The 1400-year-domination of Arabo-Islamic language over our country has left its mental debris behind. Nevertheless, free people can no longer bow to the indoctrination of religious values with the aim of such a mental retardation. Thanks to the Islamic regime, our people require a complete revamping and can choose their way of life including their means of communication.
Those Iranians who speak modern languages know better that our current language, in its current stagnation, is scientifically poor. A scientific transformation must be mandatory for educational, industrial and business communities in a free Iran In many domains of modern sciences; it is not sufficiently expressive under “Farsi”. Developing a modern language in high levels of proficiency, particularly in higher education, will require significantly greater resources than are fortunately at hand. Our linguistic experts in a secular Iran can focus on the study of development of our modern languages. They may change or modify the words, proper names, verbs to the pre-Islamic synonyms or a simpler way of linguistic use.
In my opinion, for the use of scientific terms, it seems more practical and easier to use the most common international words and terms, what most languages do in advance or developing countries. In this perspective, the pivotal point is how to form a useful and productive language freed from the traditional burden and unnecessary complications. We have rich sources of pre-Islamic Persian and international common terms to reform the language, but in the field of science, we should not complicate the language by too much attaching to the past.
In fact, a language is not only a coding system of communication, but also a bridge between thought and action. In other words, the way we talk can in turn influence the way we think—psychological effects of language. A rich and modern language can considerably improve our cognitive faculties, memory, mental ability, emotional expressions, and behaviour.
In my view, language, before anything else, is a set of arbitrary symbols through which we communicate. The symbols appear and disappear with time and material conditions; they are not sacred and eternal. The culturally determined patterns and values of these symbols alongside with many languages and dialects will permanently appear and disappear during the course of social evolution. Since language is a medium of our thoughts, feelings, and especially ideas, it must be permanently adapted to our realities and immediate needs otherwise can easily be abused by the totalitarian regimes or a belief system like Islam. Nazi Germany also imposed its own racial terms in its short-12-year domination. Islam has down worse in a very longer period of its domination. Germany reformed the language after the fall of Nazism; we can do the same after the fall of Islamism.
All experiences show that the language we use because of its shortage gives way to Western languages. For example, the Iranian communities in the US or Europe can expect that only a small percentage of their children will be fluent in Persian. It is not however the case for Westerners living in Iran-- their children would speak their original language fluently. The reason is not only due to their own mother language but the fact that our language is not adapted to modern life. For example, we cannot use our script on the internet or for many other means of written communication which appear on the market. The goal of language reform is to introduce a language which should be modern, precise and easier to learn.
The alphabet we use is mainly Arabic; it does not cover all the sounds we pronounce. Apart from some regions in Khuzestan and Kurdistan, most Iranians cannot phonetically pronounce all letters of the alphabet-- this is also one of the main reasons we have so many different accents and dialects within Iran. Furthermore, apart from some ignored signs, we have no letters clearly representing some vowels. All of which turn the language more difficult and imprecise -- a great number of Iranian high school students cannot write and read correctly.
Regarding the various problems of today’s language, a reform in alphabet seems to be necessary, one which phonetically adjusts to the verbal language. The only solution is the introduction of an accessory alphabet for computer which is the language of sciences, researches and a spirit of modern and secular life. As mentioned, such a transformation is of course a long process; it might last one or several decades but should not be considered an overdue reform.
In my view, such reforms will necessarily require adoption of Latin type alphabets in order to facilitate and enhance the ease of cross-cultural communications. An accessory alphabet should be worked out so that it harmonises the phonetic part to the written part. That is to say, we need an alphabet which correctly relates sounds to the written words. The new alphabet must solve the problems of vowels and consonants which are not phonetically pronounceable because they have Arabic origins that cannot be pronounced by the majority of Iranians.
In essence, the new alphabet must be simple and avoid composed letters and irregularities which appear in the history of any language. It should consider two main elements:
• The modernisation and adaptation of the society to the modern needs.
• The purification of our language from too much influences of Islam.
During the period of transformation and maybe after that the old alphabet must be kept for those who need it.
In a free and secular Iran, our future democratic establishments should take care in rending language modern and attractive. Meanwhile, there should be little need for speakers or writers to waste time looking for words, terms, and expressions to mean objects or ideas. What is to be made of all of this? To ensure that a language remains the predominant way of communication, learning, and development we have to accept all necessary reforms. What I rather attribute to any language is its aspect of intercommunication which in turn affects our mental faculties and social efficiency. Therefore, morphology and semantics of language is more important for me than the historical part and only in this perspective a language must be permanently and adaptively reformed. This is the case of modern languages and only so they can be called "modern"--German language has been twice reformed since the fall of the Third Reich.
Apart from an expected resistance from some traditionalists, pan-post-Islamic Islamists, and those who love the classic literature more than the future of country, there are some relics of the Islamic regime who under any guise and trick will attempt to harm the process of such a language reform. Contrary to the first group, the second one has belief and interest to rescue Islam even after the collapse of their regime under any colour or nickname. For them a fundamental reform of our language remains synonymous to a sinful violation to the values of Islam, even if their argument opportunistically hides this point behind a fake nationalism.
Considering all the problems with the Islamic Republic of Iran and the reality of the origin and conditions under which Islam was imposed on the Iranian people, it is legitimate to raise the question: how do we best bring an end to Arabo-Islamic ills in Iran after the fall of its political regime? Here, the question is not only about political secularism, but about de-Arabo-Islamisation of Iranian culture.
This must be fulfilled through a democratic process. It should not only be a turn of leaf in our history, but open a whole new chapter in our evolution so that we can free ourselves from the long and pernicious influence of Islam. Only through democratic process would it not only signal a new beginning and bring forth a new era for Iran, but also signify a Renaissance for the Islamic world. Our fullest Renaissance will officially start when we get rid of the plague of the Mullahs’ regime.
However some seeds of the Renaissance have spontaneously budded. One of them deals with our or language. Since such a democratic state does not exist yet, as much as we can, we, Iranians with some sense of responsibility, should try to restore Persian / Parsi / modern Farsi in our writings and verbal conversations. We have engaged and responsible people who do their best to use and teach this. The conditions are at hand for Iranians, inside or outside, to start to introduce the demanded reforms into the realm of our language. Thanks to the vast internet communication, facebook, twitter and etc., we can help each other to modernise and secularise our language.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Our human species evolves in long-term; our people in Iran could have continued evolving into their advanced culture if the process had not been inhibited by the Muslims’ invasion 1400 years ago. The protagonists of the invasion are today the current Islamic authorities who can never be in harmony with the evolution of moral and democratic views of today’s man.
This 1400-year old belief system was politically re-grafted on our society after the 1979 revolution. During the anti-Shah revolution, people were looking for a quick demise of the Shah’s dictatorship while were not aware of a totalitarian state which could flick out of Islam -- a bitter ignorance for which we are today paying a colossal price. The politicised Islam under the Mullahs’regime has since 1979 committed the most hideous crimes. On its black records, one routinely sees torture, rape before execution of many thousands political prisoners, application of Sharia by stoning, amputation, lashes, state terrorism (chained killings, kidnappings, mass killings in / out of the country). All these crimes are well-documented.
Of course some non-Semitic religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucius, Baha’i or nature religions in some African tribes reflect their direct cultures and are the outcome of their daily lives, wishes, and ideals. For them, the faith is tending towards the emergence of their needs. They qualify their faith as a source of morality what consists in acting and living in such a way. They understand their human conditions because faith suggests a supreme being(s), a pathway to an ideal life here and after. All these aspects of these religions cannot objectively explain Iranians’ belief in Islam. We see the faith as a false patch imposed on our culture. The reason is that Islam has never been intellectually or morally discussed by any Iranian intelligentsia. From 1400 years ago on, the Muslim men of sword prohibited such contemplation.
The evolution cannot be accepted by Islam because it considers itself as the only and last valid religion to guide mankind for all time. The 1400-year-old imposed Islam demands omnipresent role in daily attitudes of Iranians whose ancestors were once forced to believe in it and today are forced or mesmerised to follow. Islam with its dictates-teachings on murder, rape, torture, enslavement, humiliation, misogyny is today the legacy of the Islamic regime. All these immoral commands of 1400-old- religion show deteriorations, but contain no impulse of evolution for any Muslim community. Little scientific progress in the Golden Age of Islamic Caliphates was not because of Islam, but despite of it. Indeed the Islamic rough credo constrained the scale of a normal evolution.
As an omnipresent, omniscient, Islam has continued to remain for many centuries as a pivot character formation, mindset and moral pattern of our mesmerised Muslims without being any impetus for their evolution. The entire evolution in programming causes and effects have strategies of temporal changes, what actually would be considered un-Islamic for the two following reasons:
1-feeling that a change is highly appropriate for each phenomenon, including people’s thoughts, feelings, morality and faith seem to discord major teaching of Islam as a totalitarian social order;
2-furthermore it opposes its anti-evolutionary behaviour.
Concretely, formation of institutionalised morality in a level of the international institutions like the Human Rights Organisation, Amnesty International, The Hague Court etc., step up worldwide moral evolution. Such a morality protects our national interests and sovereignty which are today jeopardised by the Islamic regime. Iran is not the only country with a crisis of totalitarian regimes, but the only one with a totalitarian regime which is also characterised as an occupying force. Iran needs more international support than other Arabic oppressed nations because Iranians do not fight against their totalitarian regime, but they want to free themselves from an Islamic occupier force.
We know that, unfortunately, a number of factors stand over humanitarian factors. Historically meant, the “civilised” world is not that civilised and so evolved to avoid sacrificing its humanitarian values for the lucrative interests, but our species could only survive if it is adaptive to the basic humanitarian values. However after all, in a clash with religion, the West created these humanitarian institutions. Their values trigger our integration into international community and make us more vigilant to protect ourselves. The more isolated we are, the more we can be trampled by aggressors of inside or outside of our country.
My issue is that Islam and evolution are like fire and water, two complete opposites. I do not mean that Islam can eternally stop the motion of evolution, but can disturb, slow down and charges it with huge human casualties. I am not evoking the clashes between creationism and evolutionism help Iranians, what another topic is. What seems to me important is the fact that all Semitic religions propagated their credo based on the mindset of people. These are more or less formed in a historical process by the interaction of people’s cultures and psychological needs, let alone the fact that none of them proves a source of divinity and all of them have been historically fooling masses.
Those old cultures which shaped up religions are not representative today, therefore all Semitic religions, expect Islam, had to be reformed and updated. Because of its multifaceted nature of a totalitarian social order, Islam cannot be reformed; otherwise it loses all its sense. It is incompatible to our today's criteria and the philosophy of life, especially for conscious Iranians who feel themselves today as the 1400-year-old hostages of their captor, Islam, what represents today the Islamic regime.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
There has been always a strong correlation between the structure of power in Iran and oil. Not only industry and services are heavily dependent on oil revenue, but also, on a larger scale, all repressive forces and institutions of dictatorial regimes rely on it. Oil production in Iran is not at all in the service of the country’s development, but mainly serves the interest of the corrupt ruling elite and, most importantly, the survival of their oppressive Islamist regime.
In the case of the IRI (Islamic Republic of Iran), oil is the greatest source of income for the state mafia and it enables the regime set up their repressive institutions, propaganda machine, thousands of plain clothes thugs to beat up angry people, apologists groups in the West, sell-away intellectuals from various factions, who propagate the regime’s legitimacy and its reformation from within, and terrorist groups to advance the regime’s agenda inside and outside the country. The regime also spends a part of this Iranian national resource to help the two Islamist terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah, to prevent peaceful solutions in the region.
The U.N. Security Council resolutions and E.U. have already indicated the possibility of oil sanctions on the Iran, due to its nuclear ambitions and its strategy to export violence in the region. Added with them the ongoing brutalities after the recent electoral coup, the world must step up actions in a timely manner to impose sanction on Iran fuel supplies as the first step to shake off the regime. This action is now widely expected by both Iranians and the international community.
The domestic consumption of gasoline is estimated 75 million liters a day, of which 36 million is imported from India. If the gasoline delivery is stopped, Iran’s domestic consummation, including that of the repressive machine of the regime, can be paralyzed within a week. Under such a situation, the heroic and able people of Iran can do the rest for making the regime history in Iran.
India is the long-standing culprit and buddies of Islamist regime. It supplies a great part of the needed gasoline, which helps the Mullah regime survive: it imports Iranian crude-oil, and exports refined gasoline to Iran.
In solidarity with the oppressed Iranian people’s struggle against the illegitimate regime of coup d’état, India as the biggest democracy of the world, can play an honorable role by not playing bedfellow with the brutal Mullahs. Instead, she can do its own reputation and the longing of the freedom-loving Iranian people a world of good by siding with them in their struggle against the totalitarian Islamist regime of Iran.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
There has been always a strong correlation between the structure of power in Iran and oil. Not only industry and services are heavily dependent on oil revenue, but also in a larger scale all repressive forces and institutions of dictatorial regimes rely on it. Oil production in Iran is not only at the service of development of country, but mainly at the interests of the corrupt ruling elite and especially survival of their oppressive regime.
In the case of the IRI, oil is the greatest income of state mafia which makes the regime possible to set up their repressive institutions, propaganda machine, thousands of plain clothes thugs to beat up angry people, apologist groups in the West, sold intellectuals from various factions of the regime who propagate that any the regime is both legitimate and can be reformed within its constitution, and terrorist groups to advance the IRI agenda in and out of the country. The regime also spends a part of this Iranian national resource to help the two Islamist terrorist groups, Hamas, Hezbollah to prevent peaceful solutions in the region.
The U.N. Security Council resolutions and EU have already mentioned the possibility of oil sanctions on the IRI due to its nuclear ambitions and its strategy to export violence in the region. In the light of such resolutions and added to them the ongoing brutalities after the coup, the world must timely step up: sanction on fuel supplies to Iran is the first step to shake off the regime and is now widely expected by both Iranians and the international community.
The domestic consume of gasoline is estimated 75 million litres a day, of which 36 million is imported from India. If the gasoline delivery is stopped, Iran’s domestic consummation, including that of the repressive machine, of the regime, can be paralysed within a week. In such a case the heroic people of Iran can better do the rest to send the whole regime in the dustbin of history.
India supplies a great part of the needed gasoline which helps the Mullahs’ regime to survive– it imports Iranian crude oil and exports to Iran gasoline after refining. In a perspective of an international solidarity with the oppressed people of Iran in struggle against the illegitimate regime of coup d’état, India as the biggest democracy of the world can play an important factor to side with the freedom-loving people of Iran in their struggle against the totalitarian IRI in Iran.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
After Iran’s disputed presidential election, we have three different categories of people who now challenge the regime by taking to the streets:
The first category belongs to a Muslim population who voted for Mousavi or Karoubi by conviction; they still capitalise their hope in reforms within the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The second one is those who voted for one of the "reformists" as a "catalyst” to ease the way for a secular and democratic regime. They voted for them as the lesser evils, hoping to have one of them pave the way toward freedom and secularism in the future.
And the third category belongs to the Iranians who boycotted the election and want an immediate democratic and secular regime on the ruins of the IRI.
Without bringing up the value of democracy and democracy, without denouncing the 30-year-old IRI human rights violations, the first category is a hollow bubble which either disappears soon or must be transformed, materialised, and polarised into a national freedom movement close to the ideals of the second, and especially the third category.
Now, according to the news coming from the ongoing anti-regime protests in and outside the country, the second category is joining the third one to the point that the Iranian youth do not want to risk their lives for the survival of such a regime under any form. They start casting doubt on the legitimacy of the regime and will join the third category which wants a total elimination of the IRI.
By asserting that the first category is not hostile to IRI survival, the regime will try to find a compromise with Mousavi or Karoubi to halt uncontrolled development of the movement. This is also an option which is desired by Mullahs' international partners and all IRI lobby groups in the West which, among others, broker the IRI state mafia with the western Oil Companies and military investors.
The regime is highly prudent; therefore, it reinforces its troops on the streets. The IRI tries to separate "reformists" from the "agents of foreign enemies" or in fact from the second and third categories which are rapidly increasing. Khamenei openly threatened them in front of three hundred followers and plainclothes at the last Friday prayers, telling them to join the establishment before it is too late.
What concerns all secular and democrats is that we should avoid any mistrust and confusion which may result in an unnecessary rupture of these three different categories; it will be vital to focus on the unity of our nation in their fair struggles against the plague of the IRI as long as unity is possible; only thus will the first two categories get closer to the third category and so make regime change possible.
Only thanks to the unity, a possible desertion of state troops and their solidarity with their people can be expected. It would not matter to which category people belong.
This spontaneous movement improves and like any spontaneous movement it needs tactical phases to achieve its strategy.
Monday, June 22, 2009
While the, once prudent, EU leaders like Brown, Sarkozy, and Merkel now openly crticise IRI brutalities against Iranian civil demonstrators, Obama remains reluctant. on Iran’s disputed election, Obama said in his last interview in CNBC "not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling." This seems an outdated excuse, especially for the Iranian youth who are challenging the Ahamadinejad's re-election as a result of a "coup" plotted by the IRI.
Mr. Obama can be rightfully sorry for the 1953 coup, but his sorriness does not justify his reluctance toward another coup, namely the IRI 2009 coup. Obama’s position on IRI's post-election brutalities seems an option which is not followed by many human rights activists, US politicians, and even some of his fellow Democrats, including his cabinet members like Clinton and Binden.
How about the values of human rights, what was an apparent tradition, if not a lip service, of his fellow Democrats, Kennedy, Carter, and Al Gore?
A 48-year-old President Kennedy’s sentence “Ich bin ein Berliner” is known by any school kid in Germany. It has been repetitively mentioned during President Obama’s two visits of Germany both before and after his election.
Millions of Tehrani demonstrators who now brace for recognition of their fair struggles would ask themselves if Obama finally speaks up saying "Ich bin ein Tehraner"?
Friday, June 19, 2009
As Iran's 2009 presidential election authorities surprisingly announced on Saturday that hard-line incumbent Mahmood Ahmadinejad was re-elected with about two-thirds of the vote, Iranian people were immediately casting doubt over the authenticity of the results. At the same time, the “reformist” candidates of the regime, Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Sheikh Mehdi Kahroubi, sparked accusations of fraud and branded the election was a total farce.
It was originally quoted from some staff of Interior Ministry that a second round would have been needed to determine the victor between Mousavi and Kahrubi, who according to them received respectfully the first and second place, while Ahmadinejad would have already been out of the race.
Nationwide from Monday on, millions of disappointed people have taken part in the post-election demonstrations carrying banners which said 'Where's my vote? They protest against the “coup” plotted by the hardliners, supported by Ayatollah Ali khamenei, the Supreme Leader. Nationwide clashes erupted as riot police and regime’s militia attacked demonstrators and universities in Iran. Several demonstrators have been reported killed and many activists arrested. Riot police continues to clamp down on a growing demonstration by supporters of the “reformist” candidates. Despite regime’s repression, fresh waves of protests are nationwide reported and are thought to continue.
Prior to the 2009 Iran's presidential election, a voting campaign was widely organised by the IRI and propagated by pro-IRI's media both in and outside the country to bring as much people as possible to the urns to vote for one of the Mullahs' candidates. A massive participation was announced by the regime as a proof positive that the IRI is “legitimate”. As Khamenei has constantly said, each vote is above all a "yes" to the Islamic regime". In the West, with the help of IRI's lobby groups, exported journalists, resident Islamists, state mafia close to different candidates, this demagogical campaign was to portray a legitimate and reformable image of the IRI.
A part of Iranian secular opposition, hoping that their vote to a "reformist" candidate would be considered as a "no" to Khamenei and his favourable candidate, President Ahmadinejad, fell into the regimes' trap and voted Mousavi or Kahroubi as the lesser evils in a naive attempt to run President Ahmadinejad out of office.
In actuality, since the inception of the IRI, there have never been fair elections in Iran. Firstly, all candidates are pre-selected by the Guardians Council, a watchdog institution that has the power to reject any candidates. Secondly, all elections have been rigged and fraudulent so far that among the pre-selected candidates by the Guardians Council, the regime capriciously picks one out of the urns.
To look into the background of these four presidential candidates, we see their direct involvement in the crimes, repressive institutions, and the key government positions in the last thirty years of Mullahs 'regime:
Apart from President Ahmadinejad, who is notorious for his thuggish behaviour and his black background in the repressive institutions of the regime, the other candidates have not a better past.
Mohsen Rezaie was head of the Revolutionary Guards for over 10 years, Mehdi Kahroubi was a former parliamentary speaker, Mir Hossein Mousavi was PM for 8 years during Khomeini's leadership. During this time, thousands of dissidents were summarily executed. As a Hezbollah and a disciple of Khomeini and a PM of Ali Khameini, Mousavi's hands were washed in the blood of many Iranians. The 1988 massacre of political prisoners which war ordered by Khomeini was helped by his Ministry of Information. During the Iran-Iraq War, his regime sent thousands of Iranians children onto the mine in the war zone.
After the 1979 revolution, new waves of people's struggles against the ruling dictatorship have already started in Iran. They will gradually take form during the process of struggle; they are in their nature different from the issues of "reformist" opposition. Most people, even those who voted for the lesser evils, are not really concerned about power struggles within the Islamic regime. They want an end of the whole Islamic regime.
Most Iranians especially the youth want a separation of religion from state; they wish a secular and democratic state. Hence, if they intensify their today's struggles, they will gradually separate their ranks of struggles from the power struggle-related rallies of "reformist" opposition. Of course these rallies may not take a long time and will extinguish as soon as an inner compromise has been acheived, but the longer these take, the more polarised and organised the real opposition to the whole regime will be, to the point that they not only cry "death to dictator"-- hinting the Supreme Leader, Khamenei, -- but also will directly target the whole regime by shouting across the whole country "death to the IRI". The polarisation of our society does not forcibly mean a class issues; it assumes above all a freedom from the plague of the IRI and consequently a transformation of the power to people's representatives.
Of course many of people working for the IRI-- those who do not have people's blood on their hands--are welcome to join the ranks of people, but this is only possible if people's struggles turns into a solid and continuous freedom movement. We can not expect a Mullahs' pre-selected president-- Mousavi or Ahmadinejad alike-- to join the camp of people because a freedom movement targets the whole Islamic regime by rejecting any form of political Islam.
Of course, in terms of their loyalty to the Supreme Leader and Islam as an ideology of state, there is no difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi, but let us see in the case of an odd twist of irony, if Mousavi wants to consolidate people's position, he is constitutionally not in the position to do so. Under the cover of an Islamic regime, no president has such a power to clean up Mullahs and pave the path for a real democracy in Iran-- presidential position is constitutionally so powerless that no president can challenge the Supreme Leader. The Islamic Constitution lets little power for the president vis-à-vis the absolute power of the Supreme Leader who rules over powers of both executive, legislative, and judiciary.
The question nowadays is how Iranian people can one day acquire their full freedom and what steps must be tactically taken initially. We should give our people respect for the courageous struggles they are presently showing with the empty hands against one of the most brutal regime of our history. In a long-term into the future, it is advised that our heroic people with the kind of self-organisation, self-esteem, courage, and patience needed for a regime change in Iran, must firstly consolidate their ranks before any premature rupture with the ranks of better organised "reformist" opposition.
It is evident and quite predictable that to halt the vibrancy of people's struggles, there is a possible compromise in the air between a "reformist" president candidate like Mousavi and the Supreme Leader. In such a case, whoever the next president, the regime will spread its bloody clutches for other four or eight years. If the Iranians who want a regime change give up their ongoing struggles, they will dig their own graves. Therefore, these people must use the current protest actions to recruit, organise, and plan their further and final freedom-struggles.
Gaps between people and any faction of the regime, including Mousavi, emerge and persist as long as the Islamic regime exists. Most of the gaps in daily attitudes of people can be flagrantly perceived. This is what substantially explains the lack of an Islamic influence in our new generation who desire a secular Iran. This ideal is of course ignored by the regime and its "reformist" candidates. Different segments of Iranian society are aware that under the IRI all Islamic inequalities are justified in so far as they are the consequences of three decades of repression in Iran--Man vs. woman, "sayyed" (Muhammad's descendants) vs. non-sayyed, Muslim vs. non-Muslim, insider vs. outsider, etc.
Although, the younger generation suffers from a tangible lack of leadership, they have experienced with their flesh and blood the plague of the Islamic regime. They know that the IRI is essentially incompatible to be reformed and the main problem of Iran is the IRI entirely, not a scapegoat of it called today "hardliners" or else.
Because of a 14-century domination of an intolerant belief system over all aspects of Iranian social life, subjects like Islam and the related issues have not been discussed by Iranian intellectuals. There has been a fear among people to talk about these matters. Therefore, issues like secularism, democracy, modernity, social justice, gender equality, independence from foreign domination of "Islamo-Arab" culture, have not been serious civic issues of the past generations.
Today, thanks to the plague of Mullahs' regime, the youth generation are more aware of such issues and this awareness creates the main gap between the Islamic regime, which in people's consciousness represents an inspiration of a new "Islamo-Arab" invasion, and the Iranian civic society in struggles for freedom, democracy, and secularism.
Monday, January 19, 2009
One may argue over many flaws of Communism and its historical mistakes or ideological inadaptability to democracy. However, in Iran, Communism has been stained with co-religionists and this is a sticky stain which has not been removed since the 1979 revolution.
After the Iranian revolution (the most popular leftist movement of contemporary Iranian history), Marxist-Leninist “OIPFG” (People’s Organisation of Fedayeen Guerrillas) is a typical example of such stigma. Needless to say, there were leftist intellectuals and small groups who did not bow to the supremacy of Khomeini. The word “left or leftist” only designates (in this article) the pro Soviet political bodies, called Tudeh Party and a faction of OIPFG, called Majority. They were both orchestrated by the Kremlin to unconditionally support the “anti-American” IRI. Majority was created due to a split in 1980 within the OIPFG. The other part of this organisation, called Minority, continued fighting along with several other leftist groups against the “bourgeois” IRI—all this opposition was systematically and gradually slaughtered, dispelled, or dismantled by the regime.
The OIPFG was founded by some young educated or student revolutionaries at the end of 1960’s. It proclaimed its struggle in 1971, when a group of armed Fedayeens captured a rural police station called “Siahkal”. Regarding the absolute dictatorship of the Shah’s regime, they believed that acquiring freedom and social justice can only occur within armed struggles of the revolutionary vanguard, which in turn will end up with a mass revolution. Other “non-violent” ways were considered complaisant and ineffective, both due to the failed experiences of Tudeh Party and Front National (a large pro- Mossadegh spectrum). Thus these two main opposition groups were not able to mobilise people against the Shah’s absolute dictatorship – at that time, terms like terrorism, adventurism, petit bourgeois utopia, etc. were not labels of such armed movements.
Considering the international unrest of 1960’s, France and Germany were overwhelmed by student demonstrations in May 1968, almost causing a revolutionary situation in France. Numerous left-wing groups emerged in Germany, Italy, France and other western countries. Armed groups like IRA in North Ireland and ETA in Basque were involved in armed struggles. Revolutionary activities in Latin America attracted popular support in European youth. Their struggles were considered a “heroic” exercise of people’s freedom. Even European states (especially those headed by Socialist or Social Democratic parties) had to consider the sympathy of their intelligentsia for such revolutionary and anti American movements. Castro’s idea of “bullets, not ballots, were the way to achieve power” had political sense. Régis Debray became Mitterrand’s adviser for Latin America. He was a co-fighter of Che Guevara in Bolivia in 1967 and a revolutionary author whose book” Revolution in Revolution” inspired the Fedayeens.
Needless to say armed struggles then were spared from any connotation of terrorism or political Islam. A great number of Western youth with leftist or alternative worldview had sympathy for Palestine Liberation Front and hence used to wear a Palestinian scarf as a popular sign of their solidarity with Palestinian militants. The Front represented more than a passing similarity to the today’s appealing Islamists of Hamas and Hezbollah.
Although the socio-economic conditions that favoured armed struggles in Latin America were not similar to those of an Islamic society like Iran, Fedayeens’ armed struggle was largely inspired from the revolutionary experiences in Latin America. They theorised that armed struggles would promote a mass revolution in Iran, as happened in Cuba. There is no single page of history from the early founders of Fedayeens dealing with Islam and its role in such a revolution. In their analyses, an important social factor like Islam is completely absent.
Contrary to some priests in Latin America, Mullahs in Iran could never reconcile with collectivism, socialism and materialism of the left. From Safavid Dynasty to the Shah (except under 16-year Reza Shah‘s reign), The Iranian clergy or Mullahs have always created a common bond with monarchy. This alliance was later used by colonial powers to keep the status quo. A 16-year period under Reza Shah aside, Mullahs have been growing their socio-political power since the compelling “Shiitisation” of Iran by the Safavids in 16’s century. In the 60’s, Ayatollah Khomeini opposed the Shah’s land reform and right of voting to women, and hence he led an Islamic movement opposing Shah’s “un-Islamic reforms.”
Neither Tudeh party, a pro-USSR party, nor Marxist-Leninist OIPFG, could introduce Marx’s “Religion is people’s opiate” into their social analyses--instead, they considered “anti-imperialist” Muslim movements as their strategic allies. No wonder that after the Iranian revolution, both ex-rivals (the Tudeh Party and a majority of Central Committee non-pro Soviet OIPFG’ called Majority, despite their deepening friction) came together to unconditionally support “anti imperialist” Khomeini and his Islamist movement-- until these two “profane atheists”, like other leftists, succumbed under Khomeini’s Islamic sword in 1982.
Their blind support of the Islamic regime reached a treacherous level of collaboration with the repressive organisations and right-wing paramilitary thugs of the regime-- who were nationwide identifying and arresting “agents of imperialism”. Many thousands of these “agents”, including a number of minors, were executed. In reality a great number of the victims were teens or young people, who were murdered for demanding basic democracy.
Working class, that these pseudo- leftists pretended to support, lost the little rights they had won during the revolution and in vain attempted to keep after the revolution. Their new independent trade unions were banned and replaced by Islamic societies formed by the Ministry of Labour. Their profit share and bonuses which were established under the Shah were nullified. The right of strike was rejected. Wages stayed low, many factories were shut down; and their workers were fired without any unemployment benefit. Because of protests, many workers were arrested, jailed, and executed by the Islamic regime, whereas this spectrum of left continued supporting the Mullahs’ regime.
For this body of the Iranian left, terms like human rights, individual freedom, women’s rights did not belong to their preoccupation. There have been divisions based on class, ideology, and any class related antagonistic factors. In this perspective, they argued that domestic capitalists consistently represented the interests of Imperialists, but the role of Mullahs and its traditional ties with feudalism and traditional capitalism has been selectively ignored. In his famous book (History of Thirty Years), Bijan Jazani, a founder of Marxist-Leninist OIPFG, gave an overwhelmingly credit to Ayatollah Khomeini, as a “revolutionary” Mullah of “petite bourgeoisie”. The 14 century-old Islamic laws, Sharia, under Khomeini’s “Velayt-e-Faghih” (God’s state which was described in Khomeini’s book was amazingly ignored by the left from then on). Khomeini had these fascist, misogynist, and anti- socialist ideas before the 1979 revolution, but he was accepted and praised by a spectrum of the left as a symbol of struggle against the Shah. To conclude, Islam as a divisive or a monolithic factor was not taken by the left into consideration.
By contrast, religion has been used by colonial or key powers as a dam to discourage democracy and modernity. Although, to some extent in the Middle East and North Africa, Islamic movements were a factor of unity, but they were tolerated by colonialists to prevent democratic alternatives. The Islamist movements had no effective solutions for the objective problems. The state of economic dependence, with or without Islamic solutions, cannot be removed. There can always be commercial monopolies, supported by colonial powers. The only solution to guarantee economic independence is rapid development under a democratic and secular state--otherwise Islamic states like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, or Iran, economically remain (dependent) client states of foreign powers.
Colonial powers have respected and even propagated religion in Iran, as a means of conspiracy. Shiite Mullahs in Iran, like Christian missionaries in Africa, are known for being protégés of the British colonial administrators; they both have been preaching to bring people closer to God, but not closer to freedom and progress. Colonialism would keep their colonies the most undeveloped, the most illiterate, and superstitious. Such backward attitudes are at hand through religion. Plundering and looting of the colonies, without such social preconditions, could not be easily committed in the history of colonialism.
In the Islamic colonies, the missionary’s role was in fact replaced by the Islamic Ulama, which could be adjusted better with the long-term colonial aims. The colonial officials did not intervene in matters pertaining to Islam or Islamic traditional practices. However, the separation of religion from the practical affairs of government and law was a colonists’ wish. It was, in itself, interference in matters pertaining to Islam. In the case of Iran, it is believed that all through the 20th century, the British Empire had to deal with a number of influential clergy to mutually help each other’s influence. The peak of this mutual help was the 1953 coup which was planned by US / UK against the Iranian PM, Dr. Mossadegh, who by nationalising the Iranian oil industry, was challenging the British oil interests in Iran. They utilised the most thuggish and reactionary Muslim elements of the “Bazaar” (traditional business, closed to the clergy), and the leading clergy to help the coup. Dr. Mossadegh is the only democratic PM of the Iranian recent history and because of this coup the US / UK reinstalled the Shah as a despot.
Even after the first successful Iranian constitutional revolution in Middle East history, Iran could not free itself from the influence of Mullahs. Soon, the written constitution that predicted power in an elective authority lost its sense. With the support of the Mullahs, the power remained as a divine gift in the hands of kings who were considered since the Safavids “representatives of Hidden Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi, on earth” and since his occultation, Mullahs were considered the only interpreters of the Imam.
Despite division of Iran into “spheres of interest” between England and Russia, Iran was not officially colonised, but the country lost a natural way of progress, democracy, secularism, and independence. As documented in F. William Engdahl’s book A Century of War - Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, Britain’s interest in the Middle East was piqued when her leaders realised that oil would replace coal as the energy source of the future. At the turn of the century Britain had no first-hand access to oil and was dependant upon America, Russia or Mexico for her supplies. This was quickly understood as an unacceptable situation and through intrigues involving British spy Sidney Reilly and Australian geologist and engineer William Knox d’Arcy, Britain was able to secure drilling rights to Persian oil from Persian monarch Reza Khan. D’Arcy paid what amounted to $20,000 cash for rights to tap Persian oil until 1961, with a 16% royalty from all sales going to the Shah. The British company that Reilly persuaded d’Arcy to ally with then became known as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, a forerunner of the mighty British Petroleum. To put an end to this plundering, Iranian oil was nationalised by the Iranian popular PM Dr. Mossadegh. Two years later in 1953, Mossadegh was overthrown by a US / British coup and, with the help of the leading clergy led by mighty Ayatollah Kashani—an influential Mullah, who had already sworn to let topple the democratically elected government of Mossadegh.
More than the institutions, like army, the civil service and the judiciary, which have systematically been set up in the colonies, British colonialism needed religion to better control the vast territories they had acquired during the nineteenth century. Sects and cults furthermore were created. Sectarian conflicts were incited. All these measures paved the way for keeping the state of economic dependence, event after their physical departure. An example of such a “decolonisation” is the independence of India in 1947, which turned into a division of the Indian subcontinent into two and then three countries based on religious conflicts. This finally gave birth to an Islamic state in Pakistan under President Ayub Khan at the end of 1960.
The establishment of communist states in the 20th century was for some Muslim activists like MEK (People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran) a pole of anti-colonialism, a political alliance to bolster an anti-West, whereas for Shiite Mullahs (like Khomeini), “communism is the atheism” and hence was demonised as a “Kufr” (profanity). The emergence of Marxism was seen by Islamic movements, especially by the Iranian Mullahs, as an alien demon to fight and keep away from the mental and physical presence of Shiite society. Although Islamist political entities have Stalinist methods of organisation, they are more characterised by their anti-communist than anti-West. After all, the legacy of communism reminds them that the problem of atheist culture will be more dangerous than the western colonialism. Communism has always remained the main challenge to any Islamic political body in the favour of the colonial power of British Empire or US hegemony.
This anti-socialist character of Islamic movements in general and particularly that of Shiite Mullahs in Iran was the missing link, which could not connect a big spectrum of Iranian left with the reality. They fell into the Khomeini’s tramp, what finally cost them thousands of lives besides a bad reputation.