The social, political and economic transformations in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and China point to the end of violent revolutions and the emergence of a new approach to transformation that involves reform and revolution.Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies at Oxford University, coined the term refolution to describe the hybrid form of change that had taken place. These transformations were non-violent and pointed to a belief that violence generates enemies and it causes great pain and suffering.Several generations of these societies had lived through such pain and suffering and were determined not to repeat the experience for future generations.
The recent social movement in Iran points to the same awarness and social maturity amongst the masses that have experienced social strife, economic deprivation, and hopelessness within a theocracy that asserted its legitimacy through violence and in the name of divine will. The people Iran are astutely persuing a non-violent path to bring about change and have learned the lessons of history and taken to heart the principles underlying social transformation.In contrast, the powerful that have clashed with this broad social movement have not understood another principle that those that win power through violence against their enemies willuse violence againsts their friends! The recent show trials of prominent figures within the theocracy and the purges that continue are a testament to this principle.
Fear can alone explain the disproportionate and violent response to a peaceful movement.The survival instict can evoke fear and no doubt survival continues to be at the core of what is traspiring in the collective mind of a now fractured theorcracy.
The emergence of hybridized world where societies and cultures are now able to interact and morph into new vibrant societies that value not purity in race, culture, religion, or tradition understandably poses a threat to the pillars of power in Iran.The youth of Iran and more significantly the women of Iran have emerged as a valiant champions of universal principles adopted by this hybridized world. They have moved from being negatively critical to being Critical in the positive sense, where one change will quickly lead to another – or critical tipping point. Simple acts of texting, tweeting, emailing, congregation, social networking, and chanting now define the new forces of change in this hybridized world.
The people of Iran have understood these principles and amongst their creative chants, they recognized and celebrated the diversity that exists within Iran and called for unity.Their call was distinguished from the slogans of support for the institutions but rather unity in the establishment and preservation of individual rights.
How proud must we all be.
As a minority whose fellow believers remain incarcerated and deprived of basic human rights, I am doubly heartened by these developments.I have a responsibility to maintain a belief that is founded on conscious knowledge and it is these events that allow me to be more hopeful than ever, even as the Yaran of Iran, defenseless and powerless will face the full force of the state at their trial this Sunday.They too are amongst the powerless that cause fright among the powerful.