Article2

Response to Article1

By CCC

2/25/94

 

Here is CCC’s first response to ghandchi:

 

 

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Sam Ghandchi (samg@netcom.com) wrote:

>AAA, an SCI reader, in his message says that he has lost a brother

>and many close friends and comrades. I can only sympathize with

>his loss and say that yes, Iranians have buried so many of their

>brightest intellectuals in mass graves in the last century, without

>even achieving half of what some nations such as Singapore have

>achieved.

 

>Why? I think because of sensational assessments of the world and

>our society; and replacing brevity and fearlessness contests for

>reason. I am sorry to be so harsh and cold-blooded in my response

>to AAA's tragic report, but I do not want to see the sacrifice of

>another soul for sensationalism. I am afraid that Iranian

>intellectuals have already lost too much by resorting to

>sensationalism, especially in the last four decades and I prefer to

>have my reason, rather than my emotions, to direct my actions

 

But isn't this a bit simplistic? Lets see

 

>AAA's final call for action goes as follows:

]In summary, my message is the following. First, Iran needs a

]revolutionary change to take it back from the IRI's rule. Second, it is

]not clear that any leading opposition group will be a practical force

]for implementing this revolutionary change and therefore, a new

]independent force must be created to fill this void or otherwise we

]can look forward to living in conditions similar to our neighbors in

]Pakistan and possibly Afghanistan. Finally, THE TIME FOR ACTION IS

]NOW AND WE MUST TAKE THE LEADERSHIP ROLE THAT WILL

]COMPLEMENT THE CHANGE WITHIN THE IRANIAN SOCIETY.

 

>The above analysis reminds me of the period after the 1953 coup

>after the overthrow of Dr. Mossadegh's government. Many Iranian

>intellectuals who were tired of the politics and defeats of Tudeh

>Party and Jebheh Melli chose two new sensational alternatives. The

>first one was the Cheriki leftist guerrilla movement and the second

>one was the Shariati mystical-Islamic movement.

 

Now, there is a (rather large) gap between the two. Both the guerrilla

movement and Shariati's satrted in the 60's - and both were effected

by another event, the 1963 uprising against the Shah's "white

revolution". The 10 year in between does amke a difference!

 

>The former felt dead in the quiet times of 1953-1962. Pooyan called

>the intellectuals of the time BAGHA (meaning status quo)

>supporters.

 

Indeed, Pooyan was, first and formost, addressing the Tudeh party

members with his thesis (again in the mid-sixties). It wasn't

addressed at intellectuals as a group, most of whom at the time were

increasingly being attracted by the regime and absorbed in the

system. Unless, of course, you only mean the opposition minority.

 

>Ahmad-Zadeh looked to Regi Dubre's theories for action and being

>alive. They finally were consolidated in the Fadaeean Khalgh :

>organization.

 

>The latter group, Shariati and his Hosseiniiieh-Ershad, created a

>mixture of Existentialism and Islam in a mystical fashion. They

>attacked liberalism by undermining rationalism and they idealized

>emotionalism by choosing the path of heart. They partly joined the

>forces that finally are part of the current regime; and partly became

>the body of Mojahedin organization which was previously formed

>by the radical elements of Nehzat Azadi.

 

>Actually the above two tendencies among the Iranian intellectuals

>for over 30 years were the reasons why the liberalism did not grow

>in Iran in this period. Yes we did have a liberal tradition which was

>continued from the time of Mashrootiat. People like Alameh

>Dehkhoda continued that tradition even after Mossadegh's fall

>Dehkhoda himself was always a supporter of Mossadegh

>Unfortunately, the new intellectuals of the 60s had no patience for

>this liberalism, which was already tarred by Tudeh Party within the

>opposition and was damaged by the Shah's repression from the

>other end.

 

Again, it is not clear to what period you are referring to as the "over

30 years". The fact of the matter is that the 25 year period between

the CIA-backed coup of 1953 to the anti-monarchy revolution of

1979 is divided almost 50-50 by a period of stagantion after the

coup in which the Shah sought to strengthen his rule by oppression

and the use of SAVAK, and the other half in which the movements

you referred to emerged - and then crushed (in the case of armed

struggle).

 

While I quite agree that the lack of liberal tradition in Iranian

politics has been a major factor in the growth of violence and/or

mystical/religious oriented groupings during the 10-15 years before

the revolution, I found your analysis of the reasons for the first

rather simplistic. Furtheremore, classifying intellectuals as if they are

a homogeneous political groupings and then blaming them for

whatever happened to Iran in this (and some other) periods is

bordering on naivity. This sort of "analysis" is used universally by

many opposing groups: the monarchist blame intellectuals for the

revolution, the mollah's blame them for keeping the Shah in power

for the period he was in power, and many people on the left also

doing the same.

 

The last bastion of liberalism in Iran was crashed by the overthrow

of Mossaddegh. It was the failure of liberalism in the ten years after

that which led to the emergence of radicalism from whithin (as you

also observed). The Bazargan government was liberal only in name: it

could not and would not defend and safeguard the most basic human

rights against the onslught of the reactionary mollahs. It was ready

to compromise anything for power (unlike Mossaddegh who would

stand against the Shah whenever matters of principle were at stake).

And true, the radical left (both Islamic and Marxist) had no time and

place for such "luxuries" as human rights in their agenda, either.

 

It looks as if the Iranian people have had no choice but to go through

"trial and error". They tried liberalism (in the shape of Mossaddegh

government) and failed by the coup. They tried voilence in the

sixties/seventies. That failed too as all these movements were

crushed by the might of SAVAK torture machines. They then turned

to religious salvation - and got the IRI with all its barbarism,

devastation and regressive records. The signs are that this latest

experience is leading many back to liberalism again - with a

difference. The political changes both inside and outside Iran have

created a more favourable conditions for the growth of liberalism.

One can easily witness that the argument for violence and extremism

is losing ground in the Iranian politics, and the forces of reason and

secularism/liberalism are gaining grounds. What it lacks is a political

leadership to turn this new sentimentality into a political force and

affect changes for the betterment of the society.

 

-CCC

 

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