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Can't be fooled again
It is illegitimate and cheap to compare one dictatorship with another

By Sana Aryamehr
May 28, 2002
The Iranian

Pro-monarchists are so militant in defense of their precious royals. But the truth is, they're fighting for their elitism: their wealth, their ability to bribe public officials, their resources for getting their stupid children into foreign universities because they can't pass the concours in Iran. Actually, Iran's pro-monarchists, those impenetrably nostalgic shahis, whether they want to accept it or not, are quite identical to the pro-mullahs that run the country now.

Sometimes when I bother to listen to Reza Pahlavi (who, by the way, has a made-up name designed to demonstrate superiority and patriotism. We all know that Pahlavi was an ancient language, not a family name. It's the same with the so-called Windsors of England: theirs is a fake name to cover the fact that their real family name is German. Isn't it amazing how they're all in on it together?) for a few minutes, I see that look in his eye.

No, I'm not talking about that scared, uneducated (unless you count how his "high connections" got him into one of the best universities in the United States) look of fear when he actually has to speak in public. I'm talking about that look that says "Yes, yes YES!! If I manage to ascend to my glory as ruler of people I don't care about, I can be rich, happy AND powerful again." His eyes water with greed. But monarchists don't see that because their eyes are blurred with the same affliction.

None of these monarchists care that rich little Reza's father stole millions of dollars from the Iranian public so that he could live in luxury in the United States (and in his various other properties around the world). Not one of the monarchists questions the fact that in all his years outside of Iran since the revolution, Reza hasn't done anything for the Iranian people. He hasn't set up a cultural center or any kind of fund or anything to at least fake that he cares. He doesn't even care about his own money, probably because it's limitless, otherwise he would have set up one of these centers to benefit from the huge tax write-offs that come from charity-type organizations.

Despite his wealth and his undeniable access to the US government, he's done nothing to support democracy in Iran. His only platform, his only goal for Iran is to regain the throne. He has continued to fight tooth and nail for his "birthright" (he is constantly reminding us of this supposed right he has to rule millions of people for whom he cares pittance) to be king. And it is certain that once he achieves his only goal, he'll continue the tradition of his father and grandfather: gradual ascension to dictatorship, followed by endless robbery of the Iranian public and culminated with executions and long-term imprisonments for anyone who cares to disagree with such vagabond, anti-democratic policies (wow, the monarchy really does sound like the Islamic Republic, doesn't it?).

I believe the last time someone said they would bring "democracy" to Iran, they ended up forming the Islamic Republic of Oppression. Let us not forget that Khomeini, like the Shah before him after he was reinstated to his throne (for the second time) thanks to his British and American allies, said that he would not become a ruler of the people, but would merely do as they wish. Iranians should keep their eyes open for such rhetoric. We can't be fooled again and let history repeat itself. Little Reza has been saying the same things.

Granted, the man has no intelligence, but at least he must recall certain critical points in history. Surely he remembers what Iran did to his grandfather and his father before him. Does he really believe he's got a chance? I'm not a supporter of the present regime and I cringe when I see what has happened to Iran, but I accept reality.

Millions of Iranians fought and sacrificed and gave their lives to be rid of the dictatorial, corrupt Shah who cared more for foreigners than for his own people. That is worth a lot. The one sure thing about the Iranian revolution and the war that followed it was that Iranians said loud and clear that they do not want a monarchy. I respect that.

Today, monarchists go on and on about how great life was during the Shah's time. Yes, compared to now, there were some things that were better under the Shah, but it is illegitimate and cheap to compare one dictatorship with another. Besides, these monarchists couldn't possibly comprehend the suffering of so many Iranians who lost family members to political executions, who lived in poverty and who were constantly being treated worse in their own country than foreigners were.

Who can forget the most blatant example of this discrimination: the Shah's elaborately expensive display of his greatness during his ridiculous 2500 year anniversary celebration of corruption. He wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on his tents and French cuisines (apparently Iranian food wasn't good enough to celebrate Iranian history) and his European fabrics and furniture. And he didn't invite Iranians. He invited numerous "dignitaries", most of whom outright disrespected him by sending lesser "dignitaries". For instance, he invited the Queen of England, who declined in favor of Prince Charles, who also declined.

Sadly, the omnipotent power of monarchies is that their damaging influence reaches far beyond the borders of the lands they rule with their mighty gold. A Palestinian friend of mine told me last week that when the Shah was kicked out of Iran, it made such a huge difference for Palestinians because he was such a huge backer of Israel. I was shocked. I didn't know how much the Shah had negatively impacted the Palestinian people. And look who Reza has become such good friends with: the Bush Administration, a government that will go down in history as the most destructive to Middle East peace and the greatest Zionist sympathizer since Lord Rothschild himself.

Iranians will never forget how the Shah took Mossadegh away from the people, with help from his American and British "friends" (of course, the Shah saw their true colors when he was dying from cancer and was shipped all over the world so his "friends" wouldn't be burdened with him -- the single biggest gift they've ever been given in the Middle East). Some day, Iran will be a true democracy. We'll have a leader who actually cares for us and not a bloodthirsty, power-hungry dictator. The one thing we can be certain of, however, is that this leader will not have "royal blood".

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Sana Aryamehr

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