Thought Archive

Friday, February 13, 2009

Khomeini - the unorthodox

Many of Khomeini's political and religious ideas were considered to be progressive and reformist by leftist intellectuals and activists prior to the Revolution. However, once in power his ideas often clashed with those of modernist or secular Iranian intellectuals. This conflict came to a head during the writing of the Islamic constitution when many newspapers were closed by the government. Khomeini angrily told the intellectuals:
Yes, we are reactionaries, and you are enlightened intellectuals: You intellectuals do not want us to go back 1400 years. You, who want freedom, freedom for everything, the freedom of parties, you who want all the freedoms, you intellectuals: freedom that will corrupt our youth, freedom that will pave the way for the oppressor, freedom that will drag our nation to the bottom. [159]
In contrast to his alienation from Iranian intellectuals, and "in an utter departure from all other Islamist movements," Khomeini embraced international revolution and Third World solidarity, giving it "precedence over Muslim fraternity. From the time Khomeini's supporters gained control of the media until his death, the Iranian media "devoted extensive coverage to non-Muslim revolutionary movements (from the Sandinistas to the African National Congress and the Irish Republican Army) and downplayed the role of the Islamic movements considered conservative, such as the Afghan mujahidin."[160]


Phil Marx said...

I think the pragmatism of the Persians/Iranians is comparable to that of the Chinese, and I mean that as a compliment to both.

What's sad, from the perspeective of this American, is that the people in this country who proclaim Iran is filled with nothing but a bunch of screaming fanatics probably can't tell the difference between an Iranian and an Indonesian. It's really difficult to listen to what someone has to say about Iran when they begin their thoughts with "Those Arabs..." But you simply can not ignore the majority, no matter how ignorant they are, because ultimately they set public policy.

Hazar Nesimi said...

You are right. Iranians are both pragmatic and radical at the same time. Lets see what happens after Obama and after June elections. The triumph of Obama getting Shia oin his side will be like Nixon to China. But Israel is the crux of it all. Iran will harldy budge on nuclear arms

Phil Marx said...

Iran? Nuclear arms???

I thought they were just making fuel!