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“Down with the Dictator” - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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On the eve of the revolution in Iran in 1978 and 1979, the national slogan was: Down with the Shah!

Nowadays, Iranians have chosen a new slogan: Down with the dictator.

What is the difference between these two slogans and these two eras? Does it mean that the Shah has gone but the dictator has remained?

It seems to me there is a long history of despotism in eastern countries. We have a long history of tyrranical regimes.

In this article, I want to focus on one dimension of dictatorship. Dictatorship needs to beautify its face. Dictatorship needs to justify its behaviour and method. Lying is the strongest weapon dictatorship has ever had in history. Who can forget the key role of [Reich Minister of Propaganda] Joseph Goebbels in Germany during World War II?

Hitler reviewed the use of propaganda in World War I in chapter six of Mein Kampf. In the course of his criticism of the German effort, he commented on the function of propaganda in general. His statements offer insight into the methods used by the Nazi Party. Hitler frankly explained his views on propaganda:

“The art of propaganda lies in understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and thence to the heart of the broad masses. The fact that our bright boys do not understand this merely shows how mentally lazy and conceited they are.

The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan. As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. In this way the result is weakened and in the end entirely cancelled out.

Thus we see that propaganda must follow a simple line and correspondingly the basic tactics must be psychologically sound.”

Goebbels earned a PhD from Heidelberg University in 1921, and wrote his doctoral thesis on 18th-century romantic drama. He was the architect of Hitler’s propaganda!

Nowadays in Iran, we are witnessing a similar kind of propaganda. The government is using national radio and television, which are operated under the auspices of Ayatollah Khamenei, to constantly point out that the reformists are agents of the US and the West, and Israel supports them. The reformists have organized a velvet revolution against the regime. They keep repeating that sort of propaganda on national radio and television and in government newspapers such as Kayhan. They are the true disciples of Joseph Goebbels, who believed:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

According to government media, Ahmadinejad is an anti-Israeli president, while on the other hand, Mir Hossein Mousavi and his supportors are pro-Israel.

I clearly remember that when Dariush Farouhar, his wife, and some Iranian novelists and poets were killed by security forces, Ayatollah Khamenei announced during his Friday sermon that they were killed by Israeli agents. After the investigation, the Ministry of Intelligence published an announcement confessing that its staff were responsible for those murders.

I want to say that not only is Israel against Ahmadinejad, it is also very satisfied with Ahmadinejad! Why when Ahmadinejad believes that Israel must be wiped off the map of the world and is against the Holocust?

Last month, Gil Ronen wrote a very important aricle published in the Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva. The article was published on 23 June, 2009.

“Mossad director Meir Dagan told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee last week that ‘if the reformist candidate Mousavi had won, Israel would have had a more serious problem because it would need to explain to the world the danger of the Iranian threat.’”

As Prime Minister in the late 1980s, Mousavi was among the initiators of Iran’s military nuclear program, explained veteran analyst Ron Ben-Yishai in a recent article on the Hebrew language website Ynet. “He was the one who began the clandestine program for acquisition of know-how and equipment for nuclear weapons production from Pakistani scientist Abd-el Kadr Khan.” In addition, Mousavi made it clear on the eve of the recent elections that he would continue Iran’s nuclear program as president, meaning that his election probably would not cause Iran to give up its military nuclear ambition.

Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, is “a diplomatic asset for the West in general and for Israel in particular. His Shia fanaticism and Holocaust denial have frightened Arab and Western countries and assisted in the creation of a global anti-Iranian front,” Ben-Yishai added.

Ephraim Inbar – the director of the Begin Sadat Centre at Bar-Ilan University – agrees: “Just because Mousavi is called a moderate or a reformist doesn’t mean he is a nice guy. After all, he was approved by the Islamic leadership,” he is quoted as saying by CBS News. “If we have Ahmadinejad, we know where we stand. If we have Mousavi we have a serpent with a nice image.”

I think right now, Israel desperately needs an enemy like Ahmadinejad to create the best opportunity for Israel. They need something like Ahmadinejad’s speech in Switzerland that was like a gift to the Israelis. He attended the United Nations Conference on Racism in Geneva, but he was the main reason that the Conference published an announcement and supported Israel.

I believe that Iranians know that anti-Israeli propaganda is a big lie used to justify the electoral fruadulence in the recent elections. Because of that, every night a large number of Iranians shout “Down with dictator.”

Ataollah Mohajerani

Ataollah Mohajerani

Ataollah Mohajerani is an Iranian historian, politician, journalist and author. He was Mohammad Khatami's first minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Iran. He also served as speaker of the Cabinet. He later became the president of the Iranian International Centre for Dialogue among Civilizations.

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