Reading Ms. Azizi's article, “Spontaneous Courage“, and other enthiusuastic reviews and commentaries on the recent protests in Iran prompts me to make my peace on the subject. I'm afraid Ms. Azizi, as well as a whole lot of other onlookers outside Iran — are blowing the recent protests out of proportion and with undue optimism.
Before I go on, please note that as evident by my previous features on this site, I am no fan of the IRI or am I in any form or shape condoning the clerical dictatorship. I wholeheartedly support any movement for civil liberties and a better life for the youth of Iran. And I wish the recent events were as big as they have been made out to be. But the facts on the ground suggest a different reality than the one expressed and promoted by the external enthusiasts!
I have been in constant touch with family, friends and other individuals via telephone and email. An overwhelming majority of my contacts, especially the ones on the lower echelons of education and intellectual scales profess a lack of interest for these events. Many discount it and just say it's over!
The fact is that a great majority of people in Iran are either unaware of and emotionally disconnected from the recent uprisings or just plain don't have the time and energy to deal with a commitment as big as another REVOLUTION!
The last time Iranians gave blood and sacrificed for a fundamental change, they trusted the clergy, intellectuals and university types who led them down a green path and then pushed them down the black hole of the Islamic Republic. So, they are cautious and untrusting of any proposal for radical change. The question people can't get an answer for is “What'll replace the IRI?” And their past experience leads them to believe that it could be a change for worse!
Reports indicate that unrests were conducted by several thousand students and other followers in an isolated part of the capital and contrary to Ms. Azizi's and other accounts, they have not spread to other parts of Tehran. After all, we are talking about 2 or 3 thousand protesters in a city of 10 to 12 million!
Another fact is the imminent threat that an average Iranian feels from the presence of American forces next door. I know a lot of people and writers in the opposition are excited and speculative about the prospects of change in Iran as a result of what happened in Iraq. But the average Iranian watches the death, destruction and chaos that has followed the takeover of Iraq and wonders what Iran will look like after an American invasion.
There is a deep mistrust of the American intensions for the future of Iran. This is especially true under the constant propaganda aired on IRI's TV and radio. In addition there is the negative and destructive impact of laughable commentaries and shows from LA-based TV channels such as Reza Fazelli's and Zia Atabai's. These broadcasts are so obnoxious and low quality that the regime has begun to simply relay some of these programs on its airwaves to let people decide for themselves! Go figure!
Having presented this assessment, I'm not really sure what the right answer is! And what could be wrong with pumping these events out of proportion and making them into something bigger and more significant than they really were? Then again, maybe portraying something that is not there could have a negative impact in decision making by foreign parties and lead to bad decisions. Maybe not!
But one thing is for sure. There will be more unrest in July as the anniversary of the last major round of protests near. I'm sure there is a positive way that all freedom-loving people can support and boost the youth of Iran but I am certain that comedic satellite shows with their usually untrue predictions and exaggerations will only serve to discredit and trivialize the student movement!