Has it already been a decade since the Green Revolution? Mousavi, Ahmedinejad. The cries on the rooftops echoing the very Revolution that toppled the brutal, corrupt Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi?
A decade before that, it had been the 18th of Tir Student protests during the Khatami administration. A brief calm of Reformism thrust to despair confronted by the realities of an intransigent elite of hardliners.
And this last November, four decades after the ouster of the Peacock Throne, the largest anti-government protests since the fervor of 1979 spread around Iran were ignited. I, who pride myself as a lay expert was caught flat-footed.
Quite frankly, when I read a summary, it was all the same script. Politicians changed [often to house arrests and blacklisting], but the dramatis personæ was remarkably familiar: university students, trade unions – especially the buses, same cities, and so on. Two things stuck out: 1) supposedly the lower classes were joining in, and 2) while I doubt the lower classes would go this far, more motivated by economic pressures, there were recorded acerbic chants asking for the Shah to return. Like, that’s about the biggest F-U you can do.
It’s hard to come up with an exact figure, but if the government is to be believed (it’s not), only around 300 people were killed by the security crackdown. Human rights organizations put casualties more at ~1500. I’m not saying to average it out or split the difference, but I’m more inclined towards the 1,000 mark at least.
During the Green Movement in 2009, TVs had broadcast the verdant protests on twenty-four-hour news networks; the Great Satan apparently for the first time seeing an attractive, educated and young generation. (Until Michael Jackson died – priorities).
Easy fodder for the Color Revolution conspiracy theory crowd. That ‘left’ faction so loony they may hate George Soros and Globalists [Jews] more than Alex Jones and David Duke, respectively. Two things can exist at once. I never discount shenanigans, but am ever wary for the fifth column trope. As to our media, I think Jon Stewart was on the ball in his critique. Obviously Sean Hannity and such are mind-numbing, memory hole propaganda, but, the prime directive of commercial media is, well, commercial profits. I mean nothing new about that, but ideology is driven by ratings.
For some reason It wasn’t until weeks later I caught wind of the 2019 protests. I mean, I don’t follow Iran for a living, but I thought I would have heard something earlier. I was ashamed. I honestly was. I was like: how can you of all people not have known this was happening. Aargh!
Let’s face it. If there is one thing to give Donald Trump his due credit for, he knows how to suck all the oxygen out of a news cycle. And of course, we oblige. And there’s more in the world – as there always has been – going on. But now, it’s not out of ignorance, but some sort of festering complicity to feed not only the narcissist’s feedback loop but to sustain our own constant outrage.
I myself fell victim to it. the adrenaline. I mean. Nothing would feel better than punching Donald Trump in the face. And since that’s unlikely the next best substitute is a cultist. And like Trump, the cultists are not driven by lofty thoughts or even anachronistically tawdry and romantically-chauvinistic visions of a city on a hill or a thousand points of light.
Nope. They hear 52 hostages. Granted, they’ve never read Guests of the Ayatollah, by Mark Bowden. Never read or seen one of those hostages like I have – William O. Beeman. They could care less about our role giving Saddam Hussein chemical weapons [I mean “agricultural aid”] – to make the Western Front from WW! look tame.
The downing of a civilian aircraft in 1988 by the USS Vincennes took 290 innocent lives. I do not believe it was on purpose, but while several former hostage-takers have apologized and expressed regret for things going too far, to this day, the United States government – other than perhaps figures like Madeleine Albright and John Kerry – has never issued a formal apology.
At the time, Vice President George H.W. Bush said of the incident, “I will never apologize for the United States — I don’t care what the facts are. These are things we don’t want to mention. And yes All the Shah’s Men, and the whole Mossadegh affair has been de rigeuer – and done to death. Only insofar as if you mention Operation Ajax you’re an instant expert on Iranian history and politics or something.
Whilst essential to understanding modern Iran – let’s not go back that far. No need to. I digress and am losing my train of thought. I merely wish to set a foundation for new friends that don’t know me. And I’m more than humble, but whenever Iran pops up in the news I want to bang my head against the wall mostly.
That being said, after the assassination of Soleimani I’ve been heartened by the people invited on CNN and MSNBC at least. Hooman Majd, Robin Wright, Trita Parsi, Vali Nasr, Robert Baer… add any I’m forgetting. Basically, I have more to say on Soleimani but thought I’d just grease the wheels. Malcolm Nance gets a big demerit from me though.
When Malcolm Nance calls the Persian Gulf the ‘Arabian Gulf’ it’s like nails on the chalkboard or saying ‘Democrat Party’. Disappointing, as I otherwise love the guy. I think he was on the same segment with Bob Baer though. Bob Baer had this look like: bitch, please, I was tied up and tortured by Hezbollah in Lebanon among other things.