Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I could not resist

I was reading some comments on a right wing panel yesterday when I came across the following part and although it is written probably by an American (with enough knowledge on Iran), it is a well done piece. Therefore I couldn't resist not to steal it!

I liked it and it is written in the same fashion as if the author is me.

Let's read:

What happened in Iran in the late 70's and the so-called revolution is a complex issue. It is a culmination of many variables including social, political, cultural, religious, economic and strategic, both domestically (Iran) and internationally(USA and European).

The late Shah was NOT a tyrant, depending on your point of reference. He was NOT an edi Amin, Saddam, Pinochet or Khomeini and his thugs, as a few examples. He WAS a patriot and a true one at that. SAVAK was no worse than any other intelligence agency (including some current western ones) and corruption has never been unique to the Iran and the cronies of the Shah's court (these alone are no excuses for a revolution!).

Yes, the Shah made mistakes and a few grave ones. Personally, I think that he could have been firmer and more resolute in handling the riots at their onset. In my opinion, he should have been more aware and in tune with the needs of his people rather than being so single minded in implementing his vision for a secular and modern Iran.

I think, partly, it was a vision being implemented too quickly and not aligned with the cultural and social maturity/reality of most of the Iranian population. He once said that the single unifying point for Iran was "the King, the Monarch". I think that holds true but, equally, the other more unifying point, certainly at the time for Iran, was "RELIGION" i.e. Shite Islam. Perhaps, not among a few educated, westernized Iranians, but certainly for the majority of average people there. Progress is a great thing provided your average population mindset can keep up with it.

As for the role of President Jimmy Carter, personally I think he was a weak, ignorant man. His mistakes were graver than the Shah's. The main difference is that Carter's mistakes affected the world (as we witness now) more intensely than the Shah's. Carter's actions gave birth to what we call Islamic Fundamentalism. The alliance of reds (communists) and blacks (Islamists) contributed to the Shah's downfall -they used call themselves Islamic Marxists (a ridiculous term and in essence a contradiction).

Since early 90's and decline of communism, religion has taken a more prominent role - Islam as preached by a few megalomaniacs has become the new communism and I think it is harder to defeat it. One can argue with a head of State decree but, for most who believe, one will find it very difficult to argue when words and actions are prompted on behalf of God!

Looking forward:

America often has played the big brother worldwide. I think it is a good thing at times provided America and the American government, in particular, fully understands the culture, history and nuances of a country and its people when it chooses to intervene.

Since 9/11, I think the western world has become less insular and more aware of the Middle Eastern culture, its traditions and requirements. The same applies to European countries such as France and Britain. You can bet your bottom dollar that most Middle Easterns are very savvy about Western way of life and culture and it can work to the advantage of those who preach violence. What we view in the West as a tyrant, within limits, is often viewed as a strong leader in the Middle East, feared yes, but is respected. Democracy as we know it in the West is not something that can be exported. It is a lengthy process. It will take generations to be successfully implemented. Are we prepared to put the time and effort in for some self expediency or altruism? There are no fast solutions.

I firmly believe that the Shah was NOT a tyrant and the Shah was not running a constitutional monarchy. He was ruling not reigning - he was an Absolute Monarch not a Constitutional Monarch. But I do believe, at the time, it was necessary. The Shah and his father only ruled for 50 years in total. That is a very short time to bring about ambitious changes for a country with 2500 years turbulent history and firmly embedded traditions.

An analogy would be: when there is a massive fire in your house, do you take immediate action to put out the fire or do you start taking votes as who and what should be done to put out the fire?

The Shah's father, who founded the Pahlavi dynasty in Iran, was a SOLDIER and held those values.

Finally, I am unsure if the Shah's son will be able to re-establish "Constitutional" Monarchy in Iran. But I do know that his people are absolutely fed up with the current thugs in Iran and are suffocating. As long as they are suffocating, the West will not be spared either - it has become a small world, very connected and dependent one at that.

Where is our friend Jimmy Carter now to promote human rights in Iran ? Has he had a waking dream ?

I believe, the best thing the West can do right now, is, at least, not to throw a continuous life line to the Mullahs and these charlatans who conduct atrocities in the name of God. If the Ayatollahs call America the Great Satan, I am so sure that they teach Satan a few tricks!

I liked this piece very much! It is describing my own feelings regarding the late Shah of Iran


Romana said...

Democracy is a process not a product!

Anonymous said...

"the Shah was NOT a tyrant and the Shah was not running a constitutional monarchy. He was ruling not reigning - he was an Absolute Monarch not a Constitutional Monarch."

Do you agree he was an Absolute Monarch not a Constitutional Monarch and that he wasn't running a constitutional monarchy?