Many Dreams and A Nightmare
May 03, 2004
Iran va Jahan
On August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech. He referred to the Emancipation Proclamation of 100 years earlier, which was to have been a great beacon of light for millions of slaves. It had not happened, so in his speech Martin Luther King, Jr. eloquently reminded America of the promise that all men are guaranteed the 'inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness'. He said: "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed ... "
This was a wise and moving speech, one that today could be given anywhere in the world where such freedoms and rights are lacking.
Four decades later, on April 27, 2004, South Africa celebrated ten years of all-race democracy. Nelson Mandela's dream from a prison cell to liberate his nation and bring democracy to South Africa for its entire people has resulted in a lasting legacy ... a dream realized. At this ten-year anniversary, current South African president Thabo Mbeki said: " ... it is today impossible to imagine a South Africa that is not a democratic South Africa. Nobody in our country today views democracy as a threat to their interests and their future."
Quarter of a century earlier, on February 1, 1979, Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile to Iran after having planned, instigated and succeeded in turning a nation against the monarchy and the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The revolution he started from exile promised the people of Iran social justice and a better future, and he vowed to act as a spiritual leader to the nation, leaving politics to an elected President and parliament. Instead, he became the founder of a theocratic Shiite State and ruled Iran for ten years from the Shah's overthrow to his own death in 1989. Khomeini had proclaimed himself Head of State for life, Leader of the Revolution, Supreme Spiritual Leader, and in passing, his ghost maintains all those qualities in his ever-present depictions across Iran.
Ruhollah Khomeini ended the Westernized society that had existed in Iran and replaced it with a strict Shia Islamic Shari'a Law. Women lost many of their rights as equal citizens and had Islamic dress code imposed on them. The new system curtailed freedom of press and speech for all citizens. Former politicians and military personnel were executed. Political dissidents were imprisoned and tortured. Systematic human rights abuses became prevalent.
Within the first year, Khomeini's followers took 52 Americans hostages and held them for 444 days.
Shortly after taking power, Khomeini began calling for similar Islamic revolutions across the Middle East. Fearful of the spread of Khomeini's militant brand of Shi'ism, Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded Iran and started a devastating decade long war. This embroiled Iran in what the regime called a " jihad " , where over one million Iranians died and many were maimed by chemical and biological weapons. Patriotism and nationalism united the people. This war became the main reason and impediment against Khomeini and the mullahs in Iran from exporting their revolution to neighboring countries. However, the plan was never put to rest; it was just postponed!
On June 3, 1989, Khomeini died of internal bleeding. It is said that more than a million Iranians gathered to mourn him on that day.
It is a good lesson in history to recall that during the first year of Khomeini's rule, unusually flattering statements were expressed about him around the world.
1. "Islamic government" could initiate a new "political spirituality" and "transfiguration" of the world, the sort unknown in the West since the rise of modernity. Michael Foucault - Opinion
2. "The Islamic Revolution of Iran presented a new example of perfect human beings and society..." Roger Garaudy - French intellectual and Holocaust denier
3. "Imam Khomeini and the Iranian nation performed a great historical act. In my opinion, as a western and non-Muslim person, I believe, it is a miracle that a divine revolution in today's world takes place in such a manner." Robert Karlson - Canadian scientist
4. "The Islamic Revolution of Iran is honorable for it is the cry which has its origin in Ayatollah Khomeini's conscience." William Wersey - American author and journalist
5. "One should express his viewpoint regarding what he performed in his country and in a vast part of the world with great respect and deep thought." Pope John Paul II.
6. "Khomeini has offered us the opportunity to regain our frail religion... faith in the power of words." Norman Mailer - At a meeting of authors regarding the fatwa, New York City, February 1980.
7. "The freedom-lovers of the world mourn the sad demise of Imam Khomeini." Ernesto Cardinal - Nicaraguan combatant scholar
We should also not forget this statement:
"What he (Stalin) did in Russia we have to do in Iran. We, too, have to do a lot of killing. A lot." Behzad - Iranian interpreter for Western journalist V.S. Naipaul
Now let us remember some quotes from Ruhollah Khomeini:
"America (the government) is the great Satan, the wounded snake."
"In Islam, the legislative power and competence to establish laws belong exclusively to God Almighty."
"The author of the 'Satanic Verses' book, which is against Islam, the Prophet and the Koran, and all those involved in its publication who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death. I ask all Muslims to execute them wherever they find them."
"If one finds an infidel to continue in his role as a corrupter of the earth, his moral suffering will be all the worse. If one kills the infidel, and this stops him from perpetrating his misdeeds, his death will be a blessing to him."
"Familiarize the people with the truth of Islam so that the young generation may not think that the men of religion in the mosques of Qom and al-Najaf believe in the separation of church from state, that they study nothing other than menstruation and childbirth and they have nothing to do with politics."
"Christian, Jewish and Bahai's missionary centres are spread in Tehran to deceive people and to lead them away from the teachings and principles of religion. Isn't it a duty to destroy these centres?" (Disputed attribution)
There are many more such revealing quotes and sweeping statements. One thing is certain; the theocratic political system instituted by Ruhollah Khomeini was ruthless, repressive, undemocratic and unjust for the people of Iran, as well as engaging in an anti-Western course, in particular against the United States. He used Islam as a political means to achieve his goals, and in the process victimized Islam as a religion.
Although, since Khomeini's death, the political system he instituted has continued with minor changes, the majority of the people have long since turned their back on the clerical establishment. They are fighting it with the limited means at their disposal. The young generation, 70% of the population, dream and yearn for democracy and their inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In sharp contrast to the people of Iran, the people of neighbouring Arab states and other Muslim countries suffer from the constant brainwashing in mosques and 'Madrasah' that continue to emphasize anti-Western ideology, revering and emulating Khomeini and his ilk.
If America's Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream for freedom and the security of justice; if President Mbeki of South Africa proclaims that nobody in his country today views democracy as a threat to their interest and their future; then we must remember how the entire civilized and Western world misread, misjudged and praised a cynical and vengeful cleric of the Muslim faith and the consequences for Iran and the world.
June 3rd, 2004 will be the 15th anniversary of Ruhollah Khomeini's death. Khomeini had a dream, a dream to export the Islamic revolution to other Muslim countries, with all of its violent, undemocratic political and social injustices. He opened the Pandora's box of violence and terrorism in the region, and as we have witnessed, engulfing the civilized world in a war of ideologies: theocracy vs. democracy, radical Islamic vs. secular Western civilization, and fanaticism vs. rationality.
If successful, this will be Khomeini's posthumous legacy. A dream that in reality is a nightmare.
In support of my opinion, please read:
The Department of State's annual international terrorism report:
29 April 2004
Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria show little change from previous years.
Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2003. Its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence and Security were involved in the planning of and support for terrorist acts and continued to exhort a variety of groups that use terrorism to pursue their goals.
Iran's record against al-Qaida remains mixed. After the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, some al-Qaida members fled to Iran where they have found virtual safe haven. Iranian officials have acknowledged that Tehran detained al-Qaida operatives during 2003, including senior members. Iran's publicized presentation of a list to the United Nations of deportees, however, was accompanied by a refusal to publicly identify senior members in Iranian custody on the grounds of "security." Iran has resisted calls to transfer custody of its al-Qaida detainees to their countries of origin or third countries for further interrogation and trial.
During 2003, Iran maintained a high-profile role in encouraging anti-Israeli activity, both rhetorically and operationally. Supreme Leader Khamenei praised Palestinian resistance operations, and President Khatami reiterated Iran's support for the "wronged people of Palestine" and their struggles. Matching this rhetoric with action, Iran provided Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian rejectionist Groups -- notably HAMAS, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -- General Command -- with funding, safe haven, training, and weapons. Iran hosted a conference in August 2003 on the Palestinian Intifada, at which an Iranian official suggested that the continued success of the Palestinian resistance depended on suicide operations.
Iran pursued a variety of policies in Iraq aimed at securing Tehran's perceived interests there, some of which ran counter to those of the Coalition. Iran has indicated support for the Iraqi Governing Council and promised to help Iraqi reconstruction.
Shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein, individuals with ties to the Revolutionary Guard may have attempted to infiltrate southern Iraq, and elements of the Iranian government have helped members of Ansar al-Islam transit and find safe haven in Iran. In a Friday Prayers sermon in Tehran in May, Guardian Council member Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati publicly encouraged Iraqis to follow the Palestinian model and participate in suicide operations against Coalition forces.
Iran is a party to five of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.
Link to full report: Some States Renounce Support for Terrorist Activities http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2004&m=April&x=20040429144342dmslahrellek0.642544&t=livefeeds/wf-latest.html http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2004&m=05&d=03&a=2