The Iranian revolution has turned in on itself
The Iranian revolution was very much a case of my
enemy’s enemy is my friend. I remember it well. It took place in 1979 though it
seems like yesterday. 31 years ago.. That evil old man sitting in Paris, given
political asylum by the French. I don’t know why. Since then the French haven’t
been particularly tolerant of Islam. Strange race, the French. I suppose it was
because it didn’t seem that he could ever do any harm. Nobody (at least in the
West) really took much notice of him. There were television pictures of him
sitting somewhere in the Paris streets, like an old testament prophet I
suppose. But as things came to a head in Iran, I think it is fair to say that
we, in the West, at least in London, became increasingly alarmed. It was
extraordinary. After the Shah abdicated & left the country Khomeini
returned & whoever it was that was the interim President just melted away
& the Islamic Republic was born. The crowds turned out for him in such
force that nobody could resist Khomeini.
And what a disaster it has been. The 8 year war
with Iraq. Countless executions. Not, of course, the first time that this kind
of bloodshed has followed revolutions. The French Revolution & the Russian
Revolution were worse. A return to Islam. Was this really what the people
wanted? It now seems that by no means all of the people turning out were
fundamentalists. In fact, many of them were in fact communists. I remember Barry
Goldwater, that completely off the wall right wing American politician who ran
for President in 1964. He advocated using nuclear weapons against North Vietnam
but in 1979 he said he would have preferred the communists to take power in
Iran because at least they provided some leadership. But what do people want?
Who knows? The very term, the People is misconceived. Everybody is different.
Nobody doubts that the Shah was corrupt & ripe for the picking but, as so
often, what followed was worse. After the Bolsheviks took power in Russia &
the other Soviet republics, people used to look back on the period of the Tsars
as a golden age.
The trouble with ideologies made flesh is that they
see it as their sacred duty to hold power forever.
How long can the Islamic Republic of Iran last. On
the face of it is on the verge of disappearing. I know quite a lot of Iranians
in London. None of them claim to be muslims. Christianity has pretty much gone
down the plughole in the West & I rather feel the same will happen with
Islam. I know some Iranians, in London, all of them dissidents. One of my
friends & I will not name her, has been a torture victim.
I have been involved in the case of Zahra Bahrami.
She is a Dutch citizen, now. She returned to Iran last year to visit her
daughter when she was arrested for waging war against God. I am not quite sure
how this can be but the deranged old men with beards who run Iran these days no
doubt have their fantasies about how this can be.
It must be very frightening for her. She faces
death by stoning. In the West we are not perfect. But at least we no longer
stone people to death.
The simplest solution would be to just release
Zahra Bahrami & let her go home.