Death to stupidity
Why would you want to reduce the biggest, most horrendous crime committed by a Western/Christian power in history if you are out to show the world that Islam and its anti-Westernism can lead the world to a better place?
December 12, 2006
Last night when I saw on the news that Iranian students had demonstrated against Ahmadinejad at Amir Kabir Universtiy I was filled with pride. These are the cream of the crop of university students in Iran having finished at the very top of the infamous and gruelingly difficult ‘concours’ examinations. Amir Kabir is Iran’s MIT. These students are the ones that do not have to worry about their own futures as much as the rest. But they worry about that of the country. They are courageous enough to stand there in front of Ahmadinejad and do what most of us are scared of doing: call him a dictator to his face.
They burned his picture and chanted, “Death to the dictator.” In our days it was “Death to the Shah” which made it a decidedly Iranian slogan, there being only one shah and him being Iranian. Last night I went to bed wondering how many would get arrested and tortured like they routinely do whenever they dare speak against the regime through out our miserable history.
Today there are several kinds of brain-drain taking place in Iran. There is one that comes from migration to freer shores by such bright young stars as the Amir Kabir students. There is another caused by the drug epidemic that no one really talks about. There is one that takes place through marriage and domestication of women which is too subtle even for the left to acknowledge. But there is also one caused by imprisonment and torture. The draining of brains can happen within the cozy confines of the motherland.
Ahmadinejad is a newer brand of dictator one who was elected with a majority of the votes. But in Iran the regime seems to think that a simple majority gives license to engage in any act it wishes to commit. They do not realize or want to realize that respect for minority opinion and individual liberties are what make a true democracy. Hitler won an election for god’s sake! Oh, I forgot their brand of revisionist historiography does not see a monster in Hitler.
In fact when I first heard about the student protests I thought they were protesting the Holocaust Denial Conference. But no Muslim or Zoroastrian will defend a Jew in Iran -- not at the cost of imprisonment or torture. I, myself, am using a pseudonym and am as timid as the next collaborating Iranian. At least, though, I spent a good few hours pondering my own cowardice and trying to build enough courage to put my real name to this. That is more that most people do.
You can hate Israel. You can hate the Zionists. You can resent the Jews being given Palestine instead of East Germany but to deny the Holocaust is idiotic. Not only is it historically inaccurate but it is tasteless and self-defeating as well. It would be easier to deny the martyrdom of Imam Reza, for example, whom even the more devout seem to think, died of over-eating rather than poisoned grapes.
Why would you want to reduce the biggest, most horrendous crime committed by a Western/Christian power in history if you are out to show the world that Islam and its anti-Westernism can lead the world to a better place? If you are trying to avenge the blasphemous act of the Danish cartoonists why not question the existence of the Vikings! I would have loved to see the students demonstrate against the conference. What happened to Iranian Jews both inside and outside Iran? Why have they not said a word? If they have then they should have said it louder so we could all hear--like the students at Amir Kabir who made it to prime-time news here in Europe. Right now there are Iranian Jews in Los Angeles who are still doing business with Iran and this regime.
The good news is that the students in Tehran are once again showing signs of youthful courage. The kind that brings governments down. But the opposition movement abroad, its total inability to unite factions, to lobby Washington, and to have a coherent ideological back bone, is impotent to do anything to help them. Back in ’70s the opposition movements abroad made a lot of noise and tilted international opinion against the Shah. Now those students in Iran have no one to help them. They also happen to be opposing the regime just as Washington not to mention Paris, London and Berlin want to negotiate and make the, so called, Islamic Republic ‘partners’ in establishing peace in Iraq.
Anyway you look at it the war in Iraq had one real victor: Iran. The utter failure of the Americans in Iraq not only made a huge mess of Iraq but strengthened the Iranian regime’s domestic and international stature. After 9/11 those who opposed the theocratic regime saw its fall as a real possibility but the failure of the United States in Iraq sealed that hope as unfounded and naïve.
In fact Iran is now the new face of anti-Americanism in world over -- just as America has reached the heights of unpopularity. They are the underdog heroes of the Muslim world. Even the French love Ahmadinejad. Because he has become the anti-Bush par excellence. The intellectuals in the West hate Bush so much that they embrace all his enemies without looking to see where those enemies might stand on Gay marriage! Anti-Americanism has become so widespread that anyone who champions it, like Ahmadinejad, becomes an instant hero. Ahmadinejad told those brave students heckling him that America was the worst dictatorship in the world. For how long are we going to use America as a scapegoat? For as long as her short-sighted policies make her unpopular.
The people of Iran are waiting for petrol money on their dinner tables that is why they voted for Ahmadinejad. Not because they wanted a Holocaust conference. Everyone resents the large sums that the government spends in Lebanon and Palestine. The people of Iran want what most people want: economic prosperity and the freedom to enjoy it. But without any real opposition movement backing those lone cries of the brave university students the world will forget about their plight and Ahmadinejad and the oppressive regime in Iran will bask in their newfound identity as the ones who can stand up to almighty America and yes, even help her in establishing democracy in Iraq! Comment