The Left is Wrong on Iran

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omid
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The Left is Wrong on Iran

Post by omid »

On Iran, the Left is on the wrong side of history.

When I used to read progressive sources, especially North American ones, the focus was overwhelmingly on the Israel Lobby's push for war and sanctions against the Iranian regime. The Left's rightful support for the Palestinian cause, and the powerful, relentless thrust of the pro-Israel Right against Iran--often for war, and never against sanctions, and, in many trenches, against Islam--resulted in a defensive posture with respect to attacks on the Iranian regime.

Combine this with Islamophobia (which causes the Left to try to counter the Western masses' broadbrushing of a new bogeyman into their imagination), the mullahs' meticulously enforced imagery of tented women, and Anglophones' chronic, blinding ignorance of foreign languages, the result is ignorance of the depth, breadth and history of Iranians' visceral hatred for the mullahs.



When the 1978 revolution replaced the Shah with the theocracy, I felt that it will take generations for the latter to get undone: Unlike earthly ideologies such as communism or capitalism, which are based on reasoning, religion is based merely on belief. "Faith"! A binary that most people do not even choose to subscribe to, but which is quietly conditioned into them from birth.

But, two generations later, the end has decidedly arrived for the Islamists. Anti-mullah, often anti-Islam, and many even anti-religion, these generations' most telling cry, directed at the 1978 generation, is the exclamatory, "What were you thinking!" Clearly cognizant of this, the regime survives by augmenting its meagre popular support with systemic terror and oppression. Every sign of dissent in public is crushed.

Appearance is everything. Tenting of women is perhaps its most obssessively enforced dogma. It has had to relent on many strictures, so long as the deviance is enjoyed behind closed doors; in public, the theocracy brooks no dissent. Thus, it clutches at tenting, as if its life depends on it.

And it does! Masih Alinejad's perspective (of the centrality of the hijab) may be instinctive, but it is also prescient! It is this that has sustained the nightmare. Faced with such a manifest sign of support for the regime, the West (both Europe, and Obama's U.S.) steers itself away from conflict, finding instead compromises--to live with the regime.

In so doing, it must relegate, if not sacrifice, its own principles of rights and freedoms.

But, this regime is not representative. It has nearly no support among Iranians, both inside and (unsurprisingly) outside.

It has often been said that the regime does not consider itself Iranian, and is wholly unconcerned with Iran. It is not a mere tyranny, because a tyrannical government would have some concern for the continuation of the country--so that the regime could continue to rule. Instead, it is akin to an invading occupier: it consumes, without regard to what will happen to what it feeds on. A parasite has some interest in the survival of its host; these care only to please their god, and would happily die towards that end.

In the words of a former, high-ranking IRGC member, it views its citizenry as enemy infantry. And, when it can't intimidate, imprison and torture enough, its supporters seem content with their opponents escaping the country, leaving the land occupied by a handful of the devout, waiting for their messianic imam to return. And, indeed, there are millions of Iranians in exile, from a country which had nearly no emigration prior to 1978! The Islamists see their mission not as one of service for the country's citizenry, but of preparing Muslims, worldwide, for the return of their hidden imam.

Thus, the Western and North American Left's defence of the regime is seen not as a strategic, or even a tactical. error. It is not viewed as even betrayal--as there was no past identification with the Left, anyway. Instead, Iranians--especially within--see the West's Left and Liberals as the backers of the mullahs! Support for Trump is not merely an enemy-of-my-enemy reflex; they see him and Pompeo as ardent in their cause.

With the memory of the horrific sanctions on Iraq fresh on their minds, the Left rightly sees suffering inflicted upon ordinary people. But, Iranians inside the country do not see the U.S. as the culprit for the sanctions; they blame the regime.

Viewed from the West, ignorant of what has been happening inside Iran for four decades, this would not make sense. But, living in the thick of the corruption, the deceits, the hypocracies, the oppression, the executions, the stonings, the imprisonments, the tortures, the rapes, the perpetual mournings of this necrocracy, the plundering of the country, the organized prostituting of women to neighbouring countries, the destruction of pre-Islamic antiquity, and the fanatical ignorance of the theocracy's dwindling supporters, it makes perfect sense. A prosperous country has, through incompetence and malice, been reduced to a destitute one. Iranians view these people as a small gang that has taken a nation hostage, plundering the country for their own twisted ideology. Iranians see the wealth of the nation being sent to proxy forces, abroad, to sustain a game of chess intended to support the regime. The central doctrine of the regime is to protect the "nezaam"--the system! It is a motif as old as the theocracy.

The progressives must change strategy. They have lost Iran's public. With the inevitable demise of the regime--even if it lasts a few more years--they will be on the wrong side of history. Iranians remember how the intellectuals and other Leftists sided with Khomeini, against a Shah whose patriotism and contributions are now, rightly, unquestioned. The silence of Western feminists, in the face of a horrendous system of gender apartheid, is deafening--more preoccupied, it seems, with the sufferings of celebrities. The U.S. Republicans, and Trump's bull-in-the-china-shop behaviour, are seen as the solution, with the Democrats as the problem.

omid
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Progressive on Everything Except Iran

Post by omid »

A few days ago, I saw a tweet saying that some Iranian-Americans are progressive on everything except Iran. An echo of 'progressive on everything except Israel', I must ask, "What would be a progressive stance on Iran?"
What would be a progressive stance on gender apartheid?
What would be a progressive stance on religious fascism?

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