At this time every year I am bombarded by demands from the media across the globe to take part in programs on the anniversary of the 1979 Khomeinist Revolution in Iran.
Since I cannot hide my feelings, everyone knows that I always spoke about the event in anger. I was angry at the fact that, in a moment of historic madness, Iran gambled its future on a half-baked ideology concocted by a semi-literate mullah.
I was angry at the fact that Khomeini and his pseudo-Marxist associates got Iran involved in the longest war in our history that claimed a million Iranian and Iraqi lives. I was angry at the mass executions which, in some cases, run into thousands in a single weekend.
This year, however, as I moved from studio to studio, “assessing the results” of the Khomeinist seizure of power, I felt more sorry than angry. Maybe age has mellowed me and I think that it might be time for Iran to move beyond anger.
Or maybe it is because I have had more contact with younger Iranians in recent times, including many who were not even around when the ayatollah returned to embark on his killing spree.
At the time of the ayatollah’s return, Iran’s population was 38 million. Today it is close to 80 million. The demographic balance has tipped in favor of the future and against the past. Almost two-thirds of Iranians today were either not born at the time of the mullahs’ takeover or were children not involved in the shenanigans of their elders. Moreover, graveyards are full of those who started and led the Khomeinist revolution while tens of thousands of first generation Khomeinists have fled to exile in places as far as Syndey in Australia to New Bern in North Carolina.
We cannot say that the blood of children should be spilt to atone for the parents’ guilt. To the new generation of Iranians my quarrel with the dead ayatollah and his octogenarian successor appears anachronistic, not to say weird.
The younger Iranians are not interested in things their parents were interested in. They don’t give two hoots about ideology and do not approach the modern world, a world in the creation of which we played no role, with a mixture of fascination and suspicion. They want to be part of this creative but chaotic world which, whenever given the slightest chance, they have shown they can contribute to.
So, I feel sorry for these new generations that are forced to under-achieve, to live below their capabilities because the morally bankrupt Khomeinist sect has built a wall around Iran.
Those from the very same generations who have managed to leave Iran have demonstrated talents and energies that have won admiration. Forty-nine per cent of NASA’s scientific personnel are of Iranian origin. The Islamic Health Minister Dr. Hashemi has revealed that there are more Iranian doctors in the US and Canada than in the Khomeinist Republic. For decades, Iran has suffered the biggest brain drain in history, according to an International Monetary Fund study.
I feel sorry for the people of Iran who are denied the services of their own children. Those left in Iran are also denied the chance to do their best and to realize their highest potential. In my own profession, journalism, I can identify quite a few people in the Iranian media today who, given a minimum of freedom, could produce work of the highest standard. Only they are never given that minimum of freedom. So I feel sorry for them.
We have people in Iran who could, and whenever given a chance, produce high quality literature, theatre, cinema and art. The problem is that they have to cope with systematic censorship, imprisonment and, eventually exile.
So I feel sorry for them and the rest of us because we are denied the fruits of their genius.
I even feel sorry for the pathetic Ministry of Islamic Guidance that tries to forbid the use of certain words in literature, starting with a black list of 38 words.
I also feel sorry for Iran’s religious and ethnic minorities who are not allowed even the small freedoms they enjoyed for centuries.
All Iranians are not Muslims. All those who are Muslims are not Shiites. All those who are Shiites are not Twelvers. All those who are Twelvers are not Osulis. All those who are Osulis are not Khomeinists. All those who are Khomeinists are not devotees of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who is cast as “Leader of the Islamic Ummah.” So a very small minority of mullahs and military, thanks to their monopoly on guns and money, is holding a nation hostage.
I feel sorry for the 230,000 inmates of the Islamic Republic’s prisons, because none benefited from due process, and the 6.5 million who have spent some time in the Islamic jails during the past four decades.
I feel sorry for Mir-Hussein Mussavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard and Mahdi Karrubi, all ardent Khomeinists, who are doomed to spend the rest of their lives under house arrest without being charged.
I also feel sorry for the first President of the Khomeinist Republic Abol-Hassan Banisadr who is languishing in exile, and for his three successors, Hashemi Rafsanjani, Muhammad Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who are denied passports to travel out of Iran. Khatami has even had a total ban imposed on the mention of his name and running of his photos in the Khomeinist media.
I feel sorry for the families of the 100,000 or so men and women executed by the mullahs including the 2000 put to death since President Hassan Rouhani and his “New York Boys” won a share of power in Tehran.
Please forgive me, I also feel sorry for Rouhani who has tacitly admitted that he is an actor playing president while real power is wielded elsewhere. Here is how Islamic Chief Justice Sadeq Larijani put it last week: “The powers of the President are vague in our Islamic Constitution. To call him head of the executive branch is open to question.”
I feel sorry for a government that has to spend part of Iran’s own income with the permission of the P5+1 group and organizes “spontaneous celebrations” when President Obama releases a small fraction of the nation’s “frozen” assets. Rouhani calls that humiliation “Fatah al-Mobin” (Evident Victory) and claims it as “Islam’s greatest diplomatic triumph.” I feel sorry for him.
Khomeini created a system in which everyone is a loser, everyone including himself. His mortal remains are kept in a sumptuous shrine that cost $50 million to build. However, apart from schoolchildren bussed there by force and the European Union foreign policy tsarina Federica Mogherini and the German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, hardly anyone goes there. The late ayatollah’s writings, especially his mediocre poetry, have become standard fare for stand-up comedy among Iranians.
Finally, and please don’t get angry with me, I am even sorry for the “Supreme Guide” who is also a big loser in a system in which everyone is a loser, everyone including the winners. Since 1989 he has not set foot out of Iran and does not dare visit 25 out of 31 provinces for fear of assassination. He cannot travel abroad because there is an Interpol “Red Alert” warrant against him for involvement in the murder of Iranian Kurdish dissidents in Berlin. He is a prisoner of the past, not to mention his own illusions.