SHAFAQNA – This February Iran will celebrate once more its grand victory against monarchical despotism – this year maybe more than ever, millions will be reminded of the sacrifice Iranians had to commit to for Freedom and political self-determination to be reclaimed, now that imperialism has return to haunt the region, an evil contained still, but not defeated.
Experts such as Mohsen Kia, an independent researcher based in Iran whose work has often been published at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies says there is more to Iran’s apparent political victory, than meets the eye. “Beyond Iran’s struggle against the unjust rule of a tyrannical house, experts have often neglected to recognize the inner force of this one Islamic Revolutionary movement – the force which propelled it, and the power of the convictions it carried within. More than just a movement, more than just a political stand against an unpopular, and illegitimate regime, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini offered a link in between the Divine and the Political, calling on his countrymen to build a system which would reflect, follow and abide by those very Islamic principles which stand the base of all, and any Islamic society.”
In truth, and much to Washington’s dismay, Iran’s Islamic Revolution was inspired before it was manifested – its foundations both rooted and devoted to a religious tradition, many world capitals have failed to comprehend, and appreciate as they remain anchored in their prejudices.
As Marwa Osman, a Lebanese political analyst noted in exclusive comments: “Democracy can be expressed in many great ways, according to people’s wishes, traditions and cultural sensitivities … The same way we cannot quantify or measure cultures according to a golden scale, we should not attempt to pass judgement on democratic systems as long as they are backed by the people and represent a popular will.”
The true gravitational pull of Iran’s Islamic Revolution lies in its stand against tyranny and imperialism – in all its forms, always and absolutely. And while of course Islam is what gave Iran’s Revolution its very specific tone, it echoes of a universality which can be found in men’s desire to stand free and unshackled.
With Ayatollah Khomeini it was Islam’s purest tradition which was once more reclaimed – the re-proclamation of a political system inspired by God’s divine law. A fervent servant of AhlulBayt, and a descendant of Imam Moussa al-Kazim (the seventh Imam) Ayatollah Khomeini reminded his followers, and beyond, the world state and religious could in fact draw from each other and support one another to manifest into a religious political tradition backed by popular legitimacy. And while many have chosen to see only a theocracy, in the rising of the Islamic Republic, others recognized a call for emancipation from western imperialism and political diktat.
“Imam Hussain taught us all how to stand up and resist cruelty, and the government of tyranny,” he told his people – all people.
A simple call to the truth, a simple promise that victory lies beyond what seems possible if one is in fact righteous, Ayatollah Khomeini reminded a nation that it could, should and had to stand tall – that since Men are born free, no king, monarch or tyrant can enslave them … not without their complicity.
There is great dignity in such a stand … great universality too.
And so the shackles of fear, deception and cowardice were broken. And so a people marched for Freedom unafraid, and defiant – giants in their convictions. For its people, Iran’s Islamic Revolution was not so much a struggle as it was an affirmation of the truth,
Today Iran’s cries and the bravery its people wielded linger on. As promised by Ayatollah Khomeini himself, Iran’s Islamic Revolution did not indeed end at its borders … its wind in fact has carried far and wide, both a promise and a call, together a warning and a testimony against those despots who still wish enslavement over justice.
Today this revolutionary spirit lives in Yemen, deep in the heart of Southern Arabia – a long awaited awakening to a liberty long lost.
Iran did not, as foreign powers claim, meddle, intervene or interfere with Yemen. And if inspiration indeed there has been, it was merely in the empowerment Ayatollah Khomeini offered. Tehran never once in fact stepped out of its traditional political restraint, and non-interference policy.
And though allegations have been many, all have bene debunked. Still the world sees in Iran only deceit, backwardness and infamy. Such grandstanding of course only reflects political upsets and foiled ambitions. Iran’s revolution against the Shah was by definition legitimate, since enacted by the people.
To Western capitals’ great dismay , Iran’s revolutionary spirit is slowly manifesting into a grand Pan-Islamic revolutionary movement, one which stands in opposition of Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia’s dogmatic interpretation of Islam.
Yemen’s struggle it needs to be said, its march towards political and personal freedom, started long ago – back in 1962, when Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser flew Pan-Arabism and republicanism in the face of all Gulf monarchies as he helped overturn Yemen’s ruler, Muhammad al-Badr. Then, Yemen’s thirst for emancipation was still in its infancy, it had not yet taken form or root. A floating idea, Yemen came into its own under the terrible weight of absolutist tyranny – as exerted by Saudi Arabia.
Just as Iran learnt to speak freedom under utmost repression, Yemen learnt the semantics of Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic revolutionary dream as it endured religious, civil, and political oppression. From its own struggle, and it needs to be said against all odds, a movement was born, embodied first in the Houthis – this northern Yemeni tribe whose roar would come to shake the house of Saud.
Today, Resistance no longer remains the Houthis’ exclusive character – today, Yemen as a whole has risen a grand Resistance movement.
Where Pan-Arabism failed, Iran Islamic Revolution stands to succeed. Unlike President Nasser whose political vision was devoid of a religious spirituality, Ayatollah Khomeini reclaimed clerics’ duty of guidance over the political so that accountability could prompt greater popular representation.
As Ayatollah Khomeini once observed: “A materialistic ideology cannot bring humanity out of the crisis caused by a lack of belief in spirituality— the prime affliction of the human society in the East and the West alike.”
Iran has a great deal to teach if only the world was not so judgemental.
By Catherine Shakdam for the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies