Outspoken or outsmarted?

The appearance of a letter by T. Zolfaghari in response to another three-year old letter by Kambiz Ameli [Letters, 1 August: “Dwelling on the past“] was what triggered the writing of this piece.

In this bizarrely belated, if not out-of-date response, to the spurious allegations made by Ameli some three years earlier, Zolfaghari urges us to drop the question of “who to blame for the revolution” and move on. Ironically, it is Zolfaghari himself who, strangely after a three-year lapse, is still hooked on the subject of on who to put the blame.

Ameli's motives are, to say the least, questionable. He shows all the symptoms of a deeply wounded (and betrayed) ex-affiliate of the old regime, most likely through family connections, who had found a chance to settle some old scores. His previous associations with the regime is evident. Clearly he carries no affection for, as he put it, the “communist-backed” Mossadegh, nor does he pelt the usual venomous rhetoric at the Shah's Savak.

Ameli's arguments are often so familiar that makes me wonder if he has copied them from other letters of the same kind written by the usual anti-Pahlavi fraternity. But his comparison with the Saudi Arabia and its royal family is definitely original. Ameli must be a zealous antifeminist who prefers to see the women under the veil and in the kitchen – as is the case in the Saudi – as opposed to seeing them reaching the professorial, ministerial and ambassadorial posts, as was the case under the Pahlavis.

But I am not writing this piece as a reply to Ameli's or Zolfaghari's letters as I found their contents lacking any credible argument. However, what I am interested in is using the re-emergence of this topic, no matter how untimely it might be, to address a wider question.

The reality is that the causes behind the events of some twenty five years ago which brought the rule of the fundamentalist clergy upon us remain to be a gripping subject and a burden on the national conscious. Iranians, as a nation, have made it a habit to escape from self-accountability. They go to great pains to find any excuse to clear themselves from blames and self-guilt. But if they choose to search deep and hard in their collective souls, they should find, principally, only themselves to blame.

The evidence is compelling: All other nations who staged a revolution at some point in their history, did so in order to break with the “tradition” and adopt a “modern” status. Iranians are the only nation in the history who revolted against the “modern” and returned to a dark and degraded “tradition.”

This is a uniquely Iranian phenomenon, not explainable by any Western analytical or sociological tool. The only way to understand and explain this retrograde development we call the “Islamic revolution” is by revisiting our history and particularly the progression of the Shiite culture – something that was totally ignored and even rejected by our so-called progressive non-religious intellectuals.

These pseudo-intellectuals are amongst those who prefer to claim that the revolution was “high-jacked.” This group who were in fact the foot soldiers of the Ayatollahs were, in true sense of the word, the collaborators. In their mind, there was nothing out of line when they rallied behind a fanatical Ayatollah who, through his writings and preaching, had made no secret of his intentions to restore the Shiite's long lost pride and claim to power.

The collaborators had no problem either when voted for the establishment of an Islamic Republic. Only when the boundaries of the revolutionary justice reached them did our collaborators realise how ignorant they were. The “high-jack” theory is another self-denial attempt made by those who were outsmarted by the clergy.

Yes, for now, we must move on. But a nation cannot have a peaceful future unless it comes to peace with its past. The past is always there to haunt the future.

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