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Insatiable revolution

February 11, 2010

The anniversary of the Islamic revolution is marked by official celebrations and opposition protests. It highlights how far the Islamic revolution has strayed from its ideals, says DW's Jamsheed Faroughi.


In its turbulent history, the Islamic revolution has developed two very different perspectives of society that are hardly compatible with each other.

The first perspective presents people with their hopes and aspirations. Those people have worked towards more democracy, civil rights and human dignity. They fought bravely against the dictatorship of the Shah and have made great sacrifices in order to finally topple him. They are content people who, after coming to terms with the country's violent past, yearn for a better future, one without any discrimination for a nation that consists of a mosaic of minorities.

Deutsche Welle's Iran expert Jamsheed Faroughi
Deutsche Welle's Iran expert Jamsheed Faroughi

The second perspective highlights the current situation of an unfortunate society and of a deformed revolution that has lost its way: it is an Islamic regime willing to do anything to stay in power. Brutal violations of human rights are a daily occurrence in this godless theocracy. The rulers in Tehran try to intimidate a discontent society by way of threats, arrests and even executions. They want to replace the torn thread of trust with the bloody chain of coerced obedience.

Illusion versus reality

The history of the Islamic revolution is the history of a struggle between illusion and reality, between the hope of the past and the disappointment of the present. After a bitter reawakening from past illusions, the Iranian people are now disappointed and reject a new reality that they never really wanted. They have yet to forget their slogans from the past, and they also still remember their unfulfilled goals.

As irreconcilable as both perspectives seem, they are still linked together: If a revolution is built on a foundation of illusions, then its outcome is essentially predetermined. The consequences of this process are now being felt by the very people who supported the Islamic revolution, namely the religious intellectuals.

Now, however, a young society demands to be heard, and the issue is no longer the disputed presidential elections; the issue is far more the present clash of illusion and reality. The so-called "green movement" represents the struggle of young Iranians against the illusions of their fathers.

Revolutions, according to an old saying, devour their children. This is not completely true for the Islamic revolution, which not only devours its children, but also their fathers, the revolution's original instigators. Iran's prisons are overcrowded with people who played an active part in the Islamic revolution in 1979. But on this thirty-first anniversary, the illusion of the revolution has finally been completely extinguished. The countdown for the upheaval of an unbearable reality has now begun.

Author: Jamsheed Faroughi (mik)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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