IRANIAN DEMONSTRATORS protest at the annual pro-Palestinian rally marking Al-Quds Day in Tehran, in June..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
While many so-called analysts and Middle East experts sit in the comfort of the West, tweeting away their surface-level interpretation of the current conflict in Iran, one thing to keep in mind is that an Islamic regime is an oppressive regime. Although common sense and history dictate that any theocratic government must strips its population of basic human rights, it seems as though these analysts’ main concern is the issue of Israeli and/or American intervention.
While it’s true that the West has contributed to a great many of coups and so-called revolutions in numerous regions of the world, the one currently taking place in Iran is necessary and long overdue.
Rather than arguing about whether the protests are “justified” – with or without the intervention of the West – it’s better that we ask ourselves what can be done that is constructive for the interest of the Iranian people.
As of two days ago, peaceful demonstrations had begun in 27 provinces of Iran, and universities had begun participating as well. One of the most prominent demonstrations took place in Lorestan, where chants such as “death to the dictator” were shouted. Reports indicate that the protests were peaceful until security forces began attacking the demonstrators.
As of now, six demonstrators have been killed.
What strikes me about the “anti-imperialist” interpretations of the Iranian uprising is their hypocrisy. After Western intervention and the disintegration of the Iranian monarchy, Khomeini came to power in the Islamic Revolution. For an “anti-imperialist” to defend this Islamic government and ridicule the demonstrators is contradictory. To put it simply, it’s contradictory to defend the same regime one claims was put into power by the West.
As for the current regime in Iran, to grossly oversimplify matters, if you aren’t a Muslim man, you’re subject to oppression in Iran. For instance the Kurdish population of Iran has felt first-hand the oppression and genocidal policies these so called Western “experts” choose to defend. During the 35 years that the Islamic regime has existed, it has been successful in executing prominent Kurdish political figures and intellects. Along with this, it has been persistent in terminating Kurdish youths and resistance fighters.
Not to mention the government has killed Kurdish rivals to maintain political power.
Iran’s government has also entrenched the cultural assimilation and destruction of Kurdish culture by banning Kurdish language and dress. The regime aims to completely erase Kurdish identity out of fear the Kurds will institutionalize and revolt – which is exactly what is taking place in Iran right now.
Besides the Kurdish population, religious minorities have also become the victims of Iran’s inhumane policies. So much so that many among the Iranian diaspora in the West, who emigrated as Muslims, have chosen to push back to their origins of Zoroastrianism. This is especially prominent within the Dallas diaspora, members of which I have spoken with and expressed their stance against the regime.
For the past two days citizens have begun flooding the streets of Iran and courageously burning the pictures of Khomeini, and the other religious authorities. One video that is circling social media depicts a brave young woman waving her hijab in the air in protest against the state policy that forces women to wear one.
Citizens are demanding that the religious leaders step down; it seems Iranians have had enough of the theocracy and cruel dictatorship.
It is crucial to keep in mind that many of these “experts” and “analysts” will choose to defend regimes that benefit their own Islamic and so-called anti-imperialist agendas at the expense of the lives of religious and ethnic minorities.
It is time that we as Westerners take a moment and realize that these revolts are not about us, but about the people of Iran.
Alas, what these protests and demonstrations may bring is certainly unclear, but they do shine a beacon of hope to the ethnic and religious minorities of Iran.
One can only hope a legitimate and just government follows this revolution.The author is an activist who is studying political science and economics at Boston College.