Thursday, June 18, 2009

Iran: 1951 ... 1979 ... 2009

Is Iran the new France? The French had revolutions in 1789, 1830, 1848 and 1871 - and then again in 1968!

Iran had a democratizing interlude from 1951-1953 when Mohammed Mosaddeq was Prime Minister. As revolutions go, this was a pretty low-key one. But the Cold War was in full swing, and Mossadeq was definitely not seen as a team player by Team USA/CIA. And so the bad guys swooped in and Operation Ajax, under the supervision of Kermit Roosevelt, succeeded in orchestrating a coup d'etat that restored the absolute rule of the Shah.

But that changed, big time, in 1979 - and this time there wasn't enough Ajax in the world to stop the Iranians. As deeply disheartened as many of us were by the way that the massive popular insurrection against the Shah seemed to segue so easily and smoothly before our eyes into an Islamic Theocracy, how different, really, was that from the way things turned out in France back in '89??

And now, once again, the Iranians are at it. By this point I think it's safe to say that this is the real thing. Thomas Jefferson said something about every country needing to have a revolution every 20 years, didn't he? Well, in the brave new globalized world, maybe we just need one real revolution, somewhere in the world, every 20 years - just so we remember what it looks like when people actually give a shit. For now it is the Iranians turn to show us all how it is done.

2 comments:

mamiel said...

I would love it if this were the real one for Iran, but I am not sure if it is. I do think a revolution there is inevitable, though. It's gotta happen.

Now, I know your feelings about Ms. Karen Armstrong, but I do have to say that she has written some good stuff about Iranian shiitism, conditions under the Shah, and exploitation of Iran for oil and gives a good background to the reader who knows nothing about Iran.

I guess we'll just have to keep watching and see what happens.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

If the analogy with France holds up Iran with deliver plenty of disappointment - and it will be a wild ride.