Saturday, April 09, 2005

Homework assignment: Iran

Iran is cooking. Simmering. Just coming to the boiling point.
No one knows what the US Admistration has planned. At the moment, diplomatic initiatives are underway to bring about a more open Iran, with the issue of nuclear weapons being used as the lever. The term "WMD" has been discredited, so we wait to see what the new buzzword will be.

Iran Press Service seems to be an expatriot group working for a more open Iran.
IPS is the abbreviation.
Confederation of Independent Iranian Students is a group fighting for a secular, democratic system based on a freely elected Parliament.
CIIS is the abbreviation.
Abbas Amir Entezam is a student leader, curiously enough allowed "a short leave from prison."

I am not clear how this works. Is it possible that the authorities allow prisoners "leave" to see if their incarceration has improved their attitude? Or is this a tactic to make authorities appear more tolerant in the case of political prisoners. It reminds me of the dilemma faced by Polish officials in 1979 when a new Pope was about to return to his homeland in Poland for a visit. The parallels are eerie. I expect that Iranian officials are feeling the heat.

Here is an interview of this young man (b. 1975) that gives some sense of the tense state of affairs between an authoritarian Iranian government and a population of young people who want more freedom.

Because Iran is at the centre of world’s attention, because the world is looking at Iran, we have a historic, but very short occasion to be on the world’s stage. It is upon us to make the best use of this unique occasion to expose our aspirations, our demands and our wishes. In one word, to tell the world that by referendum, we want liberalism, pluralism, democracy, human rights and secularity.

Secularity. This is aimed at a government measuring everything it does against a religious yardstick.
Here is the language of revolution.
I have seen an read it before.
The questioner and the person being interviewed are both on the same side.
The English is that of well-educated people whose first language is not English. (Does Iranians believe the authorities claim that they are not after the nuclear weapon, that they want atomic energy for peaceful, civilian uses only, like producing electricity?)
Who can resist language such as this:

Already we can see the impact in the streets, on the people, on the youngsters as well as on the officials. One of the latest jokes is this: “Let’s go choose colour”, in reference to the colours of these recent revolutions. These events have spirited the people, mostly the young generation and at the same time dispirited the authorities, mostly the leadership that is thrown in full crisis, as it sees visibly how similar dictatorships relying on the bayonet have crumbled in one night and finished.

This shows that when a regime has not a popular backing, it can fall; it can melt like snow in the sun. These lads know that in order to live and survive a regime must have both domestic and international legitimacy, something that this regime has neither.

These are the voices of serious people who are very much trying to keep a lid on violence, but who see that when a popular revolt is about to happen, stopping it is like trying to stop the birth of a baby. If you go about it wrong, the baby can die. But the birth happens all the same.
I cannot read this interview without having a feeling that something important is about to happen in Iran.

1 comment:

joanneA said...

Hay John

Yet another great post. Very informative. Yeserday and today you are two for two.

Hope you and Sandy have a great Anniversary dinner tonight ( oops can I comment on that in a blog comment?) if not my apologies for lack of blog proceedure.