Thursday, September 22, 2005

It’s called the “Sacred Defense Week”

September 22 is the anniversary of Mr. Saddam “Hitler” Hussein’s attack on Iran. So much of what Iran is today, I think, is the unfortunate outcome of those devastating eight years of a needlessly protracted war.

This is how some veterans of those years look like dying years later. This is what the victims of chemical warfare look like curtsey of Mr. Hussein and partially made possible, of course, by the (mostly) European, and the American involvement and subsidies.

Some more pictures of the war years here and here.

And the military marches go on to commemorate those events just like every other year. More pictures here, here, here, and here. More young men likely to die in case there is another conflict only to be soon forgotten again as we all move on with our own merry lives.

So you see, I really don’t hold any of the unkind characterizations of Iran and Iranians against the pundits. People are fully entitled to feel superior if that’s what sets their shorts on fire. But I fear some are drawing all the wrong conclusions thus dragging us even deeper into an abyss. All of us.

Iranian revolution came to an end with that war I think. I know the revolution is forever associated with the despicable Islamic form cemented during the war years. But that was never inevitability. Revolutions are funny that way.

Revolutions tend to release the imagination as well as powerful new forces which then often become impossible to comprehend and control.

Before the Iranian revolution, you will recall, we were all being lectured about how all we could do was to make the only possible choice available. It was either the Soviet tyranny as a model for the third world or those American backed strongmen—brutal and vainglorious rulers like the Shah. That was not all too palatable for many everywhere.

No third alternative was even deemed probable. Either “them” or “them.”

And we Iranians said no. We broke out of a suffocating construct. But then we failed miserably in finding our way through all the tortuous aftereffects.

In the midst of the war, there were massive terror campaigns initiated by the MEK activists who killed the President and many other prominent figures which resulted in a murderous, brutal backlash that cost us thousands of our idealistic youth. There were massive student unrests brutally suppressed and a civil war in Kurdistan and elsewhere taking a heavy toll while some of our most promising men and women were dying on the battle fronts.

The confusing atmosphere and all, in retrospect, proved too much for a people who had come to feel liberated from a Bastille of imagination, and who yet lacked the experience or the tools necessary to make possible a more humane alternative.

But judging by the venom and the bloodlust evident in the “civilized,” portion of our planet after a bit of pressure, I am not quite convinced any other people in our shoes would have been any less of a failure.

That’s why, you see, in my less despondent moods, I remain (guardedly) optimistic. Iran is an ancient nation and this too shall pass.

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