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Jun 29 2009

Under the veil of repression

Tyranny and repression unavoidably depict an inverted and distorted picture of the political realities of society. The fall of dictatorial regimes has always produced outcomes other than what the political observers had expected according to their previous observations. It is quite understandable that in a repressed atmosphere the true character, power and programmes of political parties or forces, the balance of power between social forces, the direction and pace of political trends and, most significantly, the true political and social inclinations of the people and of various social classes, would not find an accurate reflection.

Iran under the Islamic regime is a living example of a repressed political environment with a distorted political profile and hidden history-making trends. Judged by the appearances, the present and future political personages of Iran are to be found among the likes of Khatami, Yazdi and Soroosh. Apparently, ‘worker’ and ‘communist’ are not forces present at the centre stage of politics. Apparently, what determines the fate of Iran is Khatami’s smile and Khamenei’s health. Apparently, the discourses determining Iran’s future are the regurgitations, over and over again, of the slogans of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution and Mullahfied versions of the demand for the ‘House of Justice’, which under the title of ‘civil society’ saturate the pages of the apparently ‘influential’ publications of the apparently ‘dissenting’ circles close to the regime itself.

News reporters and news fabricators, professors of oriental studies, experts from the Western states, nationalist parties and patriots, Third Worldist groups and those ‘smitten’ by the East, which, for a time, for reasons beyond their own control, delusively thought of themselves as communist, are all eagerly gazing at this jumbled scene, this warped picture, and receiving their conceptions, beliefs and inspirations from it. If we believe them, Iran stands at the threshold of yet another Islamic salvation. Domesticated Mullahs, together with an Islam perfumed with the rose-water of ‘modernity’, with Muslim-enough dissenting thinkers and dissenting-enough Muslims, with a law inspired by Islamic faith and a theocrat that respects the law, these are supposed to usher Iran, through a gradual process devoid of any revolution or disturbance, into the era of the second Islamic Republic. This is the ‘civil society’ which, in the minds of the pious Bazaar merchant and his Western-educated sons, the Iranian people have been longing for for a century and, indeed, deserve. Iran is supposedly moving along this route.

However, behind this spectacle, real history moves in a different direction. One should look further, put the ear to the ground, and feel the tremors of the foundations of this reactionary system. The current battle in Iran is not between hard Islam and soft Islam, or between theocracy and law, but between freedom, on the one hand, and tyranny, reaction and Islam, in all their forms, on the other. In the developments lying ahead, the personages in the foreground will quickly become irrelevant, and disappear. In the camp opposing Islamic reaction we will find not today’s petty reformers but the rank of communism, freedom and working-class egalitarianism, the rank of radical, anti-religious secularism, the rank of modernism, and the rank of thorough liberation of women. These are the true inclinations of the great majority of the Iranian people which lie hidden under the veil of repression today, and which are about to make the political future of Iran.

The above was translated by Jamshid Hadian and edited by Bahram Soroush. It has been translated and published because of its relevance to the current situation in Iran. It was first published in Persian in Iskra, No .3, April 4, 1998.

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