It has come to this: The Islamic Republic of Iran killing the sons and daughters of the revolution during Ashura, adding martyrdom to martyrdom at one of the holiest moments in the Shiite calendar.
Nothing could better symbolize Iran’s 30-year-old regime at the limit of its contradictions. A supreme leader imagined as the Prophet’s representative on earth — Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s central revolutionary idea — now heads a militarized coterie bent, in the name of money and power, on the bludgeoning of the Iranian people. A false theocracy confronts a society that has seen through it.
The emperor has no clothes.
Still, let us give this theocracy credit. It has brought high levels of education to a broad swathe of Iranians, including the women it has repressed. In a Middle East of static authoritarianism, it has dabbled at times in liberalization and representative governance. It has never quite been able to extinguish from its conscience Khomeini’s rallying of the masses against the shah with calls for freedom.
The result, three decades on from the revolution, is precisely this untenable mix of a leadership invoking transplantation from heaven as it faces, with force of arms and the fanaticism of militias, a youthful society far more sophisticated than the death-to-the-West slogans still unfurled.
Nowhere else today in the Middle East does anything resembling the people power of Iran’s Green movement exist. This is at on… >>>