Reza Khan And Mohsen Namjoo

What a misguided volley of negative reactions from Iranian monarchists to Mohsen Namjoo’s recent song, Reza Khan! Isn’t the artist just saying out loud what they all think? Do any of them believe that change can happen by making nice with the religious Iranian masses? As Lenin famously put it, “Nowadays you musn’t stroke anyone’s head, you’d get your hand bitten off, you’ve got to hit them over their heads, without any mercy.” This was Reza Khan’s philosophy as well, and every monarchist I know strongly believes that without Reza Khan’s iron fist there would be no modern Iran. It seems, however, that Namjoo has blasphemed against this monarchist saint by honestly and thoughtfully pointing out Reza Khan’s most effective strategy of beneficence: fear!

Here’s one baffling reaction by a literal-minded monarchist listener.

Of course, a good work of art isn’t judged by what it appears to say but by where it takes your mind. Namjoo’s Reza Khan did this for me. For example, it made me wonder if our single-minded drive to imitate Western democracies promotes weak and indecisive opposition leaders, preventing us from seeking and nurturing strong national leaders who can get things done. Don’t tell me monarchists don’t also think along these lines sometimes–their calls for referendums and such notwithstanding.

So what’s the big fuss by monarchists? They couldn’t have written a  better song themselves…unless they’ve gone soft on what it takes to be the king in Iran.

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