Alliance For democracy In Iran

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Shahanshah Aryameher


Iranian Freedom Fighters UNITE

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Credible Opposition is the Islamic Regime's Achilles Heel By Potkin Azarmeher

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What is the regime's Achilles heel or may be I should use the Persian equivalent, what is the Esfandiyar's Eye of the Islamic Republic?
I believe the overwhelming majority of Iranians want change. If the Islamic regime was overthrown tomorrow, there would be the biggest mass street parties the world has ever seen in Iran. Yet the majority of Iranians both inside and outside Iran remain passive observers of the events. While in their hearts they want to see the back of the mullahs, they are still hesitant in actively playing their part. What is the reason? Rather than lecturing those who fall in this category and coming across as lofty and arrogant towards them, or simply keeping within our own circles, those of us who are active in some way or another should genuinely listen to what the silent majority have to say. As someone reminded me many years ago at school, God has given us two ears and only one tongue, we should therefore listen twice as much as we talk.

The two overriding replies I get when I ask this question are:
1- Who do we replace the mullahs with?
2- We can't do anything, its a waste of time.

If the mullahs are to be overthrown, the "great powers" will decide and do it, not us.Perhaps I should do this post in two parts, but in a way the two are interconnected. Let me start with what I have labelled as reply number two. There are good reasons for this, deep rooted in our recent history. Our nation has struggled against rival super powers of the time, the British and the Russians, who wanted to split the country along their own zones of influence. A weak incompetent Qajar dynasty, backed by Shiite clerics whose sole purpose was to keep the population backward and illiterate, ensured that the Iranians as a nation were too weak to decide their own destiny against the British and the Tsarist Russian superpowers of the time.When against all odds, Iran produced a hero by the name of Reza Shah the Great, and once again Iran was ruled by an Iranian dynasty, we were just about to find our rightful place amongst other nations. In less than two decades, our wounded pride was restored, we made great advances towards modernising our country and perhaps most important of all, our Iranian identity, trampled on by centuries of foreign invaders and non-Iranian rulers, flourished again. But just when we were finding our feet on the ground again and the foundations of a modern secular Iran was being set, the Allied forces invaded Iran and the British, who hated Reza Shah for having cut off their influence in the country, forced his abdication and exile and even tried to restore the Qajar dynasty.This deep set Iranian conspiracy theory that the super powers decide our future was best captured and told by the great Iranian novelist and satirist, Iraj Pezeshkzad, in his masterpiece of contemporary Persian literature, My Uncle Napoleon. So much so that the phrase 'Uncle Napoleon way of thinking' or 'Uncle Napoleon syndrome' has become a distinct reference in the modern day Persian language.Yet despite this My Uncle Napoleon Syndrome(MUNS), Iran has produced three major revolutions and upheavals in the last 100 years. One must remember that the MUNS is only prevalent during the periods of defeat. Thus the same people who took part in some of the biggest street protests in 1979 and toppled 2500 years tradition of monarchy in Iran, once they realised what a mistake it was, started to deny their contribution in the revolution and instead claimed it was the British and the Americans who had engineered the Islamic revolution.Going back to reply number one, 'Who do we replace the mullahs with?'. Nothing scares the regime more than a credible opposition and nothing puts off the silent majority more than a phony opposition. If the 1999 student uprising across 19 Iranian cities shook the foundations of the Islamic Republic, the unfortunate emergence of the LA TV stations and the kind of comical opposition that was beamed to the Iranian people as the alternative to the Islamic Republic stopped the momentum of the new pro-democracy movement from becoming a mass movement and the protests from reaching the critical mass needed for a regime change.This is why I pointed out some of this phony opposition in my interview with the Front Page magazine. Paper organisations or to be more up to date, web based non-entities who call themselves "Parties" and have more members in their "central committees" than actual supporters through out the world, led by Don Quixote fruit cakes who never fool the Iranian people inside Iran but do manage to fool some well wishing and well meaning outsiders by their preposterous claims of extensive organisational networks inside Iran, what they like to call 'hasteh' :)The credible opposition will not come about from hotel conferences of old political groups in London and Paris either. As I told one of the organisers of these conferences, if you put a lot of zeros in one room, the output will still be zero. I have been active for 28 years against the theocratic rule in Iran, I have followed Iran related news every day since the start of the 1979 revolution, I have made the effort to travel and meet face to face with people across the spectrum of the Iranian politics and gauge their appeal, effectiveness, IQ and authenticity and whether they have the potential to mobilize the silent majority. I am no academic, but I trust my instincts and my empirical observations. When I was asked about the outcome of these conferences, this is what I said: 'speeches will be made, they will sing their own praises that they have gathered under one roof, they will elect a co-ordinating committee of around 16 people and then it will all fizzle out, because they will never have the initiative to carry any actions. 'Those who asked me were surprised how accurate my predictions were but I was surprised that they expected anything else.The credible opposition will come from within Iran but not from within the regime. For people will not trust those who are in bed with the clerics. The credible opposition will not be formed overnight in Iran either, it will not be a homogeneous single organisation and it will not immediately and publicly declare its goal as the overthrow of the Islamic regime. It has to win small concessions step by step, gain people's confidence and ensure that the momentum is maintained. Its success will depend on whether it will correctly judge the mood of the people and their readiness and make the right decisions on a case by case basis.The continuous conflict between the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom and the outdated repressive ways of the Islamic Republic makes me confident that this credible opposition will come about.Meanwhile those of us outside Iran should not present ourselves as the alternative to the current regime but promote every genuine secular and pro-democracy voice inside Iran.We should be credible, tell the truth as it is, not exaggerate and we should not create Dir-Yassin effects amongst the silent majority.Making the silent majority active and political should not be made synonymous with becoming a revolutionary immediately and demanding the overthrow of the Islamic regime, it should really be something that deals firstly with the individuals relationship to his or her immediate surrounding.We should actively solicit the international public opinion and use it as a lever to prevent Western politicians from doing deals with the mullahs and bolster the regime. Having the international support of the people around the world will strengthen us immensely.The combination of credible effective opposition with international support will once again give confidence to the Iranian people that they are not alone, they can make a difference and they do not have to wait passively for the super powers to decide when this dark regressive period in our history is finally over.

''Bus Ride Away'' - By John Keenan

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