Iran Is The Event!
Iran Is The Event!
There is no shortage of new headlines about the Middle East in the international press. There are headlines of every kind, summing up the region's many open-ended conflicts and aborted attempts. Nevertheless, most of these events seem repetitive- deja vu to an extent. This leaves boredom replacing hope and leaves us with a sense of dejection inimical to dynamism. Instead of the event arousing a response and pushing us to do something and take action, it makes us drowsy.
Sometimes, the events currently unfolding in our region resemble endings that had been artificially stretched in an excessive manner or deaths that refuse to confirm their death and to die, or these events merely have predictable ramifications and repercussions on unfinished events that had preceded them. This stagnation is usually accompanied by the world turning its back and ignoring us.
As for events that differ slightly and do entail some sort of novelty, like the demarcation of the Lebanese-Israeli maritime borders, they are made obscure. Their actual meaning is falsified, while revealing the fact of the matter is forbidden.
Generally, what is most significant remains that the impact of our many events has become limited to the geographical space in which they take place, most of the time. Rarely does our region produce events that have an impact on a country other than that in which they had taken place. This does not negate their being extremely costly in terms of blood and physical devastation, which are now unfortunately being sacrificed for nothing in return- rather, with no hope of getting anything in return.
Only Iran is different. Today, it has produced an event in every sense of the word. It is the event.
It is neither typical nor familiar for women in this part of the world to revolt against a patriarchal tyrannical regime that bases its legitimacy on its interpretation of the divine. It is not an everyday development for ethnic minorities, first and foremost the Kurds, to revolt against a fortified tyrannical centralized regime either, nor for some cracks to emerge within the regime that comes closest to modern totalitarianism in our region after it had blended this totalitarianism with hubristic theocracy.
In contrast to events unfolding elsewhere, the developments in Iran have broad implications for the region. As we well know, Iran has established a presence in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and the Gulf, meaning that if its regime were to collapse, it would be the collapse of an empire and an event in the same category as major wars and turning points that end one era and inaugurate another. With the collapse of such a regime, so too collapses an ideological system that promises salvation and a "third path" and that claims to champion millions of oppressed people around the world.
Moreover, the Iranian event had not been expected, and its potential ramifications could surprise us as well, while predictions of how things will play out are tenuous and vague. Even the many preceding revolts against that regime might not be very useful for processing what is happening today and predicting what will happen tomorrow.
All that can be said in the meantime- with a degree of reluctance and reservation, as well as some embarrassment at what might seem like an attempt to patronize the Iranian men and women revolutionaries- is declarations of preferences that opting for could benefit the movement and its trajectory. These preferences include meeting the need to produce leadership cadres and crystallize new ideas further, especially those regarding the extremely complicated problems of nationalities and minorities.
In any case, regardless of its outcomes, we are looking at what an unequivocally historical event. We are looking at a revolution facing the wars and counter-revolutions of our region. We are looking at a war of hope, which is striving and resisting after its defeats in our Arab homelands.
Iran, once all is said and done, is not only significant because it is a country of 86 million people with an area of approximately 1.7 million square kilometers that borders Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan. Nor does its importance stem solely from its wealth in oil, gas and natural resources, or even from the fact that it is the birthplace of a civilization and culture whose roots go back to ancient times- a culture whose influence can be seen from Persia to the southern Caucasus, Central Asia, Anatolia and Mesopotamia, and in which art, poetry, architecture, technology, medicine and philosophy all flourished. Iran is also important because the 1979 revolution and its Khomeinist Republic must fall. They ushered in a dark era and unleashed the grandest of the barbaric repudiations of everything bright and promising the Middle East has seen in decades.
And so, just as the inhabitants of the Roman Empire, from Europe to North Africa and Western Asia, followed news from Rome, which was considered to shape their lives and deaths, we follow the news from Tehran to watch and bear witness to this regime falling. Sooner or later, it will fall.