Next year: snow without the mullahs
Time is running out for the ayatollahs in Iran. The people of Iran have suffered through a generation of theocratic dicatorship which has brought them nothing but hardship and suffering. Michael Ledeen at NRO has been following the developments in Iran with frequent articles on the topic. So when I read stories like this, my sense is that it does not matter. The power struggle between the hardline theocrats and the slightly less hardline theocrats is becoming increasingly irrelevant. It's irrelevant because even if Khatami wins the political battles to push through the reforms he wants, it's going to be too little, too late to satisfy the people. It would have worked perhaps ten years ago, but by now the yearning for a complete break with the headlong dash down the theocratic cul-de-sac has become dominant. Khatami too will be swept away when the revolution comes, because the gap between what is achievable within the system and what the people now want has become too big. While Khatami is rearranging the deck chairs on his Titanic (or trying to, as he's being blocked by the harder hard-liners), the ship of theocratic dictatorship is going break apart on the iceberg of modernity.
A recent report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung corroborates the general tone of the reports we've been seeing in the blogosphere. Under the title "the courtesy of the Persians," the report contains the anonymous quote, "The Iranian peopple know the that system is finished. But we Persians are a polite people. We're too polite to tell our rulers." The machinations of the ayatollahs reflect their growing alarm that they're losing control of society. Khatami is using this to further his own relatively reformist platform against the hardliners. According the FAZ he said, "The main reason for the fall of the regime of the Shah was his opposition to the demands of the students for more freedom and justice."
The article also depicts an interesting generational divide. The younger generation of westernized intellectuals seems confident that profound changes will take place, but without coming to the point of a second revolution. The older ones who lived through the Khomeini's revolution beg to differ, saying that shortly before the Shah's fall people were saying the same thing. Bu the most significant item in the report is the message that the people have lost their fear. Everybody from professionals in Tehran to farmers out in the boondocks are no longer afraid to call for a regime change. The meme doing the rounds is "Next year: snow without the mullahs." It was supposedly said by a child first.
The FAZ article ends describing a political debate by theocrats on a stage:
And while on stage they're preaching anti-Americanism, the audience is demonstratively drinking Coca-Cola. Occasional boos can be heard. Those on stage become nervous. "Look, they're booing us," they say and blame one another. But more and more spectators turn away disinterestedly, tiptoe quietly out of the hall mumbling apologies with the much-abused Persian politeness. [...] The hall empties. The debate on the stage becomes more intense. [...] It's as if their lives depended on it. But nobody's listening anymore.
The snow will return next winter. With a bit of luck the mullahs will be gone.
Posted by qsi at January 09, 2003 11:08 PM
| TrackBack (0)
Read More on