No To Shi'a Islamists, *Protect* Democracy
At the beginning of Iraq War, a discussion had opened up in the intellectual circles as to whether appeasing Saddam Hussein was like Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler, and why Saddam's regime must have been overthrown, before it becomes a threat like Hitler's Nazism. Regardless of whether the assessment of Saddam's regime was correct or not, one thing for sure has been a fact in the last 25 years, and that is the reality of Islamism being a reactionary movement, threatening not only the Middle East, but the whole world, and its appeasement until the 9/11.
The Islamist reactionary movement took power first in Iran in 1979, and then showed its ugly presence in Afghanestan and other countries of the Middle East, and not only it was appeased at the beginning, like Hitler's Fascism, but contrary to Hitler's Germany, it did not have a short life in Iran, thanks to its appeasement by the European states, and the IRI lobbyists in the U.S., and it has stayed in power for 24 years and counting, reminding one of long life of similar despotic ideological states in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Block.
With the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Shi'a Islamists have been targeting Southern Iraq, hoping to create another Islamic Republic in the Middle East. The best way to fight them is *not* by suppressing democracy, but is to *protect* democracy. What does protecting democracy mean? It means that one should not allow them to close down secular journals and media. One should not allow them to intimidate the rallies and gatherings and parties and associations of secular forces by their guns and knives, etc.
Protecting democracy means one should not believe the Islamist Ayatollahs and gang leaders to be the representatives of the Shi'a people. It means the Ayatollahs who issue any criminal fatwa, must be arrested, and punished according to the human rights standards of the world, and must be tried in the world court for crimes against humanity.
Basically Shi'a Islamism is a reactionary movement, just like the rise of Nazism, when it started in Europe. But the more democracy is *protected*, this reactionary movement will break up more. In contrast, the more it is appeased, this movement will become more united, and even will control any dissent, like it has been doing in Iran for 24 years.
In Iran, the first major dissent of the Shi'a Islamism was the mojAhedine khalgh organization that has been an Islamist group, but with some protestant elements in its thought, questioning the role of the clergy, and they were suppressed within two years after the success of the 1979 Revolution, and they have been slaughtered all these years by IRI, and they mainly moved out of Iran, mostly being based in Iraq.
Another major dissent in Shi'a Islamism happened recently by the speeches of Aghajari of a group called "mojAhdeine enghelAbe eslAmi", and a death sentence for Aghajari was issued by IRI courts. Aghajari's group worked with IRI all these years, and Aghajari himself had supported Khomeini's death fatwa against Salman Rushdie, and even now, he was silent when in a press conference his mojAhdeine enghelAbe eslAmi still supported death fatwa of Salman Rushdie. After students' protests, Aghajari's death sentence was changed. Now if there was any democracy inside Iran, this dissent of Aghajari would have grown into a full-blown branching of Shi'a Islam.
The Islamists want to keep the environment in Iraq a closed society. Under Saddam's closed society, they grew, although they were in opposition, and under an IRI-styled dictatorship of their own, they will be able to grow and keep semi-unity too. But in an open society, Shi'a Islamists will break up, just like all dictatorial groups. In other words, as soon as democracy is *protected*, these reactionary despotic groups will split, and their pseudo-unity will become history in a short while. Their unity is the unity of ignorance and intimidation, whether under a dictatorship they oppose, or under a dictatorship they control.
Shah's error in Iran was that he thought by suppressing democracy, and not by *protecting* democracy, he could win over such forces. In fact, the best way to win over these forces in not just creating democracy, but more important than that, is to *protect* the democracy in Iraq.
Finally if the democratic state develops in Iraq, the final break up of Shi'a will follow, and forces ranging from mojAhedine khalgh, mojAhedine enghelAbe eslAmi, Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr, Sistani, Hakim and others will find their own constituency, and even the extremist KKK-type groups among them, will be limited to their small constituency, and cannot claim to be representing all of the Shi'a population, and this development will help the break up of the rule of Shi'a clergy in Iran and elsewhere as well.
The only answer to Shi'a Islamism is a secular government in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. Those who are thinking to appease the Islamists, by consenting to an Islamic government in Iraq, are doing a real disservice to humanity, worse than what Chamberlain did in appeasing the Nazis.
Middle East is no different from Europe and the majority of people in the Middle East *want* secular states and the Shi'a mollahs and Islamists, who try to misuse the religious rituals, to create the image that people in the Middle East want Islamist states, are playing the same old trick they played in 1979 in Iran.
The issue is not just agents of IRI in Iraq, and the issue is not whether somebody in Iraq is not an Arab, who is pushing the Islamist state, just the same way that at the end of Soviet Union, the issue was no longer about Stalin's agents infiltrating elsewhere. The issue is that creating Islamist states is the goal of the Islamist reactionary movements, and it should be opposed by all freedom-loving people of the world.
In the 21st Century, these Islamist Dark Forces should not be allowed to misuse the religious feelings of the people, to force another religious state on the people of Middle East. Majority of Shi'a people inside Iran, in an open society, would tell any unbiased observer, that they want to have a secular state, and they want IRI to go, and will never want any other sort of an Islamic state in Iran in the future.
Moreover, when U.S. journalists and politicians refer to the Islamic Republic of Iran, they should not use the word "Iran" and should call it "IRI", which means Iran and Iranians have no interest in the IRI religious state, and do not want to be identified with it.
Hoping for a Futurist, Federal, Democratic, and Secular Republic in Iran and Iraq,
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor
April 26, 2003
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