Iran’s pro-government rallies fool nobody

(CNN) — The Ahmadinejad government responded to the courageous anti-government protests throughout Iran in December by cranking up its propaganda machine to stage pro-government rallies. But that tactic won’t work.

The transparently staged events are the surest sign of the regime’s insecurity and its awareness that it must manufacture the illusion of legitimacy.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, abusing the financial resources that belong to Iranian people, put together the spectacle on December 30, calling it a “spontaneous” show of support for the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic.

Some people who saw this clumsily engineered carnival might be led to believe that Ahmadinejad’s government, and by extension the Islamic Republic that he represents, is widely popular — and that the Green Movement demanding civil liberties represents a small minority of Iranians. It does not.

Soon after the Islamic revolution of 1977-1979 in Iran, my colleague Peter Chelkowski and I began collecting an extensive archive of visual materials — ranging from posters, graffiti, murals, elementary school textbooks, billboards, and even stamps, banknotes and chewing gum wrappers — that were effectively used to turn a multifaceted cosmopolitan revolution into an exclusively “Islamic” one.

It took us more than a decade to collect our archive and publish “Staging a Revolution: The Art of Persuasion in the Islamic Republic,” in which we demonstrated how the custodi… >>>

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