Saturday, February 11, 2006

27 years and going!

I was determined to do an update on Liberal leadership race, since Ruby Dhalla, John Godfrey and other new names have been thrown around.

But I realized I wouldn't be doing myself and many others justice, if I ignore the 27th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

It took less than two months from the Feb revolution to the establishment of the Islamic regime in early April of 1979, and I was born right in between.

Before I was old enough to talk, the war started. Saddam Hussein with the support of U.S attacked Iran in hopes of occupying the country. This war lasted long enough to drive both countries into economic devastation. We spent many nights in underground shelters with our parents, learning about American and Russian made bombs and rockets.

I started my fourth grade, after the cease fire of July 1988. Soon after, Ayatollah Khomeini pass away and his successor, Ayatollah Khamnei, took over as the supreme leader of the regime.

Rafsanjani's presidency opened up new doors to relative prosperity and social liberty during 1989-1997. During this period, the country's economy recovered from the 8-year war to some extent, while I graduated from highschool.

The 5th parliament, elected in 1996, was the first that involved the participation of different groups of people, campaigning on social and economic reform. That was the beginning of my experience with grass roots political participation.

In 1997, the hopes of social liberties, freedom of speech and the quest for democracy and justice resulted in more than 20 million votes for President Khatami.

First year of Khatami's presidency was very promising for the elite. I left Iran in 1998, before the killings of summer 1999 at Tehran university dormitory by the hard-liners as part of their resistence to the change.

As much as Khatami's government tried to heal the relations with the international community, reform social policies and heal the economic deficit, the right wing had their own agenda.

By the end of Khatami's two terms, the country and the world had seen many clashes between the reformists and the right wing hard-liners. For the most part, the poor had become poorer and the rich richer. Finally in spring of 2005 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a right wing star candidate, was elected as the new president of Iran.

I have been far and away from Iran for more than 7 years now, but for all I know, more and more the new government is turning the international community against Iran.

Being as old as the revolution and the islamic regime, I can't help thinking that no matter how far I am, my story will always be intertwined with that of all the innocent children of Iran.


At 6:52 a.m., Blogger Jackal said...

Very good post my dear sky, my complements [;)]

Just one point here about the war. The American support for Saddam is slightly over exaggerated by the I.R. propaganda in line with their anti-great-Satan slogans. It was fed to us as if there was a personal hatred - bad blood there. You know how we Iranians love to make things personal.

US's policy at the time was collateral control with the aim of protecting Israel from potential sources of regional instability, which was quite successful.

Anyhow, at least until the last year or two of the war, perhaps 1987, when both sides started attacks on the oil tankers and the situation was getting out of control with a possibility of expanding the war to other countries with special US interest, US was not actively involved in the conflict.

Actually when Iran had the upper hand in 1986, Americans tried to make a truce and that was how Iran-gate happened.

I'm not saying that US did not turn a blind eye on Saddam's atrocities (but remember the 444 days of hostage taking). Anyways Saddam Hussein’s supporters were the Arabic countries: Kuwaiti and Saudi money was paying for Russian and French weapons (no American, for there was an equally imposed sanction on both countries, well much worse for Iran with an American army!), and Jordanian, Sudanese and Palestinian fighters in the fronts.

On the last year, the situation was different. There was a Security Council resolution (598) calling both sides to cease fire to which Tehran wouldn't budge. The hardliners didn't want a cease fire. The motto was "jang-jang ta raf'e fetneh dar jahan", do you remember that? I clearly remember the semi-comedy TV programme in which they were singing "solh-e-tahmili khanoum e Thatcher maal-e-khar he". (the same programme with the infamous "deya nomrom valayat...!!!").

Same time, economy was bust, people were tired and Saddam kept bombing the cities. US navy was in the Persian Gulf, Kuwait openly allowed Iraqi forces to use its land to attack Iranian forces in Fawe. International community totally ignored gassing of Kurds and Iranian forces in north of Iraq and as the last blow came from Americans, shutting down the passenger jet, attacking oil rigs and sinking a few of the best Iranian battleships Khomeini was driven to "drink the cup of poison". A really dramatic end.

I'm not trying to condemn or clear the I.R. All I want is that maybe we should look back, go through what happened, see the events in the context of bigger global issues and learn.

P.S. Ahh that was quite a post on its own right. Why don't you invite me to write in your blog page for a while as a guest contributor? I'll try to minimize my spelling mistakes [:D]

At 8:39 a.m., Blogger Bahar said...

I think you should start up your blog again.

Why don't you?

At 9:17 a.m., Blogger Jackal said...

I won't write frequently enough to keep my readers; that's why I suggested I could use yours as a platform to once in a while scrap something.

Whoa, I saw 'Walk the Line' last night. I just loved it; my kind of movie. And you know what, I just LOVE the accent. Even more than Irish [;)].

At 11:17 a.m., Anonymous Mona said...

Excellent post!

At 9:57 a.m., Anonymous Corrections from Ali said...

Great posting, Sky.

With respect to content, one small little note. The U.S. did not support Iraq when it invaded Iran. Actually at that point the Americans, in the context of trying to find a solution toi the hostage crisis, where providing Iran with military intelligence and warning the government about Iraqi troops forming on the border. As always, Iran did not heed their advice and did nothiong. The U.S American relationship began to warm, and nothing more, in 1983.


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