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"Repression of the Repressed"

Recorded 07-26-09

1) 2:23 Repression of the Repressed MP3

2) 2:56 Repression of the Repressed MP3

The Repression of the Repressed
[col. writ. 7/25/09]  (c) '09 Mumia Abu-Jamal

    In the 30 years since the Islamic Revolution, the U.S. has been the focal point of Iran's foreign and domestic policy; the pivot around which all else spins.

    It has been the central theme animating its diplomacy, and also the organizing tool that the elites have utilized to elicit support from broad sectors of the population.

    The recent spate of threats from the previous (George W.) Bush administration, and the nomination of Iran to the fatuous 'axis of evil' served to only reinforce state power, and strengthen the hands of the powerful clerics, for they were able to deploy Iranian nationalism as a mobilizing force.

    The Iraq War was a godsend to Iran, for it removed its bitterest enemy, Saddam Hussein, and led to the emergence of the Shia majority as a power, right next door.

    Yet, all is not well in the Islamic Republic, as shown by the recent eruption of protests that followed the announcement of the presidential results. The irony is that all 3 approved presidential candidates, Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and, yes -- even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were given permission to negotiate with Washington.

    I say 'given permission' because under the Iranian constitution the president doesn't run things -- the Supreme Leader does.

    In Iran, all of the wheels of state power, political, military and judicial, converge in the person of Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei -- the Supreme Leader.

    When the 1979 Iranian revolution caught fire, all major segments of Iranian society  turned against the man known as  "America's Shah", who was regarded as a U.S. puppet.  The Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was a dictator, whose secret police, the Savak, were dreaded and feared for their use of torture.

    After the Revolution did torture continue?  Certainly.  As Will and Ariel Durant taught us, "Nothing is clearer in history, than the adoption by successful rebels of the methods they were accustomed to condemn in the forces they deposed"
[The Lessons of History (1968), p. 341]

    In fact, the Iranian revolution was a rightest revolution, that wiped out leftist forces from the workers' movements, the students, radical political parties and democratic activists.

    In part, that explains much of the present repression against the many forces which converged around the elections, for they are seen, not just as adversaries, but enemies of the state -- and worse, enemies of God.

    Iranian scholar Farhi Farideh, in her brilliant 1990 study, States and Urban-Based Revolutions: Iran and Nicaragua  (University of Illinois Press) argues that every successful revolution uses "dangerous" memories from hidden histories to inspire, teach and mobilize new generations to rebel and recreate new social and political realities.

    Iran has thousands of years -- even before its Islamization -- to draw upon, to find new ways -- and perhaps old ways -to recreate a thriving civilization in the Middle East.

-- (c) '09 maj    

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