Splitting hair


Splitting hair
by Esfand Aashena

Mr. Bagherzadeh, in your comment to me in your article about Bakhtiar you are refering to the general Iranian population during the 79 revolution as "mob" and criticizing the degar-andishan for "joining the mob and opposing Bakhtiar".

First of all the extent of degar-andishan becoming political forces, garnering support among the general Iranian population becoming more noticeable was AFTER the revolution not before.

Before the revolution thanks to the Shah's SAVAK crackdown, you are talking about only leaders of parties without too much exposure, acknowledgement or support in Iran.  You can not attribute being in middle class necessarily "supporting" a political group. 

MKO had the biggest support because of their religious tendencies and again after the revolution they showed up with about 20,000 - 30,000 people in Amjadiyeh. 

It was after the revolution with fresh freedoms that people started reading books, debating and making political statements and lining up behind available political parties before Khomeini purged everyone.

So please tell me at the height of the revolution when people finally had the Shah on the ropes after decades of dictatorship and corruption and his regime was on the verge of collapse why should've the "mob" and degar-andishan given Bakhtiar a chance?  What qualified him as a trustworthy figure?  He was appointed by Shah, was he not?  His own party dismissed him for siding with Shah.  So why should anyone support him at that juncture? 

It's not like foreign armies were invading Iran and Bakhtiar was ejecting them from the country.  He was trying to cool the internal revolt against the Shah after decades of dictatorship.  The same dictatorship that he was supposedly against.  Yet he didn't seem to understand what to do or what he represented. 

It's like you're walking with your loved one, say your wife, sister, brother, father, mother or husband, and a criminal walks up and demands money and then starts beating your loved one.  Do you just stand there and "reason" with the criminal to politely go?  Mr. Criminal this is not right, please allow me to explain?

And then when some people passing by come along to your rescue and they apprehend the criminal, do you say; Mr. Criminal let this be a lesson to you so I'm going to let you go and I hope you don't do this again?   No you try your best to arrest the criminal and won't let go if the means to arrest him is available.

At best Bakhtiar was a Reformer, the same word and characteristic that the current degar-andishan, the current "mob" have an allergy against!  Not to mention that the current day Reformers such as Khatami, Mousavi, Karoubi and others HAVE organized street protests and unlike Bakhtiar HAVE actual support among the population.

If (actually when) people revolt against Islamic Republic and they get to the same point in history say in 1978/1979 of bringing the regime down AND if someone say Mousavi, Khatami or Karoubi ask people to "don't do it" and give him a chance, the answer is NO!  The current "mob" thinks that Mousavi and Karoubi "stopped" people from toppling the regime yet they laugh off the green movement as futile.  Well that's another subject for another place.

So Mr. Bagherzadeh you are splitting hair when you says Bakhtiar should've been given support at that time.  You don't know what a regime under Bakhtiar would've looked like.  Would he been able to upend the corruption that Shah and his cronies were so deeply entrenced in?  You don't know that.  Yet you think people should've given up their one time shot of being united and ending the Shah regime to support an unknown figure and hollow promises. 

Shah could've chose Hassan Ali Baghal and he would've released the prisoners and asked for elections.  It doesn't matter WHO was in that position at that time, he would've done the EXACT same thing as Bakhtiar.  So please don't split hair.

I don't know if history will be "kind" to Bakhtiar since I am not sure how you're defining "kindness".  You can't be "kind" to a dictator, especially when he is on the verge of collapse.  You can be "fair" but not "kind". 

There was another article on i.com recently saying history will be "kind" to Reza Shah.  I don't understand this dogma about people "asking" history to be "kind" to this person or that person.  History will say whatever is necessary but we won't be here to view it with our own dogmas, we'll be six feet under.  I believe history will refer to Bakhtiar as Shah of Iran's last gasp of stopping the people's revolution against him.

Photo caption: probably a veteran selling Rivas in the tuplip garden in Gachsar. You can see the Rivas coming out off the burlap bag's corners.


more from Esfand Aashena
Esfand Aashena

Should Bakhtiar have restored the Monarchy?

by Esfand Aashena on

Faramarz jaan Darius jaan posted an interview with Bakhtiar (in 1984 I think) where he said with the benefit of hein sight Monarchy should've been or should be restored.  One would think that perhaps he should've asked for the young RP to stay and become the new king?!  Stay, it's gonna be fun!  

I don't believe the degar-andishan (any group other than Khomeini's Anjoman Islami) had really a say so in the revolution.  They did not have large enough population.  Many in the middle class (indepenent of any political ideology) were worried on a variety of reasons, such as security and Islamic changes that Mullahs would bring.  In the end the goal was to topple the Shah just like the goal now is to topple Khamenei and VF.  Not easy.

Everything is sacred

Anahid Hojjati

yes, there were several before Bakhtiar

by Anahid Hojjati on

Thanks Esfand for your blog.  I also agree with Faramarz's comment. After declaration of "hokoomat nezami" by Azhari and after all the prime minister changes, why should have people thought choosing Bakhtiar was anything but a ploy by shah to stop the revolution?   Almost always, I like Mr. Bagherzadeh's analysis but this one about "Bakhtiar" is Monday morning quarter backing.





برو کنار که داره فروردین از راه می‌رسه. اینهمه زور زدی اینهمه آسمون و ریسمون و بهم بافتی و مثل‌های بند تنبونی آوردی که آخرش بگی‌ ما همون خ...بودیم که بودیم. خوب بابا جون اینو که ما از روز اول می‌دونستیم. منتها فکر میکردیم شاید بعد سی‌ و دو سال دو زاریت افتاده که بفهمی خودتو از چاله به چاه اینداختی ولی‌ مثل اینکه هنوز یه سی‌ سال دیگه لازم داری داداش. از این به بعد اینطوری بگو: "ما نمیدونستیم داریم چه خاکی به سرمون می‌کنیم (مودبانه گفتم که قهر نکنی‌) ولی‌ خوب کردیم و بازم همون خاکو به سرمون می‌ریزیم". واه که بقول سوری غش کردم از خنده!!



Water over the Dam

by Faramarz on

Esfand Jaan,

I agree with the general theme of your blog.

In the 18 months between the time that Shah removed Hoveida (August ’77) and when Khomeini came (Feb. ’79), Shah went through 4 Prime Ministers; Amouzegar, Sharif Emami, Azhari and finally Bakhtiar. With every change, Shah’s position became weaker and his decisions became more and more irrelevant. I admire Bakhtiar for stepping up to the challenge and trying to rescue the country, but he never really had a chance.

Khomeini was like a tsunami coming to our shores and we all stood around and watched it as he destroyed our nation. When Bakhtiar took over, the majority of the people were waiting for Khomeini to return, including almost all the opposition, Marxist, Islamists, a good part of the military (especially the lower ranks like Homafars) and the majority of the intellectuals.

This was a collective decision/failure by the people, not just the mob on the street. Let's own up to it.