Coup d’état vs Revolution in Iran
Posted by iranrevolution on June 16, 2009
For the past few days I have been unable to write anything at all. I have been pinned in front of my computer, reading news, looking at images and clips, twitting and retwitting. Iran, its election, the attempted coup d’état and the popular reaction has preoccupied me completely.
I was only a young boy when the last great revolution happened. I can clearly remember the charged atmosphere, the demonstrations, the slogans, the fear and the excitement. I even partook in one of those huge demonstrations against the Shah; a sea of people chanting death to the Shah. I am not quite sure what I thought of it all back then. It must have felt exciting, exhilarating and at the same time, from my point of view, lacking meaning and purpose, the implications of what we were doing unknown. Back then, the Shah was not just a king, he was almost a God. I remember kids speculating if he ever went to the loo and if he did, did he wipe his own ass? Shah responded by different means, he declared marshal law and at times his soldiers would fire indiscriminately into the crowd, he apologised to the people and said that he understood their legitimate calls for democratic reforms, he even appointed a former opposition figure as prime minister but that too was too late. He fled the country; Khomeini returned to Iran from exile and 10 days after that, the regime of Shah was gone for ever.
Thirty years on, one revolution, an eight year war with almost a million casualties, thousands of political activist jailed and executed, personal freedoms curtailed, millions of Iranians exiled or self exiled, the revolution now finally seems to have come a full circle.
As each night people are shouting God is great on their rooftops, reminiscent of the nights before the first revolution, and as they gather in their million to protest against the regime in precisely the same street as I once did in my youth, I wonder how this one will end. Seven people died yesterday by the hand of the basij, the conservative paramilitary group close to current president Ahmadinejad, I hope that they are the last to be killed by this regime. I hope one day very soon, the people of Iran can proudly declare that they live in a true democracy, that the revolution they started thirty years ago, the last great revolution, has finally succeeded.