by Zafar Bangash (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 47, No. 1, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1439)
The annual celebrations of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran are a huge event. Referred to as Deh-e Fajr (Ten Days of Dawn) celebrations, they mark the ten days in 1979 before the last remnants of the Shah’s regime were consigned to the dustbin of history, ushering the establishment of the Islamic State in Iran on February 11, 1979.
Iran is an Islamic Republic. It is, therefore, natural for events and anniversaries to have a strong Islamic flavor. The title “Ten Days of Dawn” is based on the Qur’anic ayat, “Wa-al-Fajr, wa-layalin ‘ashr: Consider the daybreak, and the ten nights” (from Surah al-Fajr). It accurately captures the spirit of the break of the new dawn, at least in one part of the Muslim world after so many false starts elsewhere.
This year’s celebrations had special significance; they were held in the wake of the protests that had erupted on December 28, 2017 over food price rises and corruption. The protests, however, were quickly hijacked by US-Zionist-Saudi paid agents turning the people’s genuine grievances about rising prices and unemployment into riots. They attacked the police using guns and set public buildings on fire. Far from condemning such vandalism, Western politicians and media outlets applauded the criminals. They also indulged in wild speculation about people demanding a change of government and overthrow of the Islamic system in Iran. Such speculation has since been debunked through polls by the Center for International and Security Studies based at the University of Maryland (US), and IranPoll that was conduced among 1,002 Iranians.
Sharmine Narwani, one the best-informed writers on Muslim East affairs, wrote a piece “How American media spin-doctored the Iranian protests,” published by American Conservative, February 12, 2018. She wrote, “According to the poll, more than 72% of 1,002 Iranian respondents agreed that their government is not doing enough to help the poor, 86% said it shouldn’t increase the price of gasoline, 95% wanted a halt on the rising prices of food products, and an equal number agreed that their leaders should do more to fight financial and bureaucratic corruption.”
What about human rights, injustice, and lack of faith in the Islamic system of governance that the West and especially Donald Trump talked up so much? This is what the poll found, “Interestingly enough,” wrote Ms. Narwani, “‘lack of civil liberties’ was the least selected of the options offered by the pollsters, coming in at a paltry 0.3%, while ‘injustice’ garnered just 1.4%.”
Similarly, more than 66% of respondents said the police handled the protests “very well.” The police in Iran are unarmed. Compare this to the US where police forces have been militarized (by Israel) and terrorize ordinary people. They shoot first and ask questions later, if at all. America is not only a police state it is heavily militarized. Most people live in constant fear of the police. This is how the American establishment and deep state want the situation to be; they want an acquiescent population that will not raise its voice against gross injustices, plunder, and oppression in society.
In the Islamic Republic, on the other hand, contrary to vile Western propaganda, people do not live in fear. They freely go about their business even if economic conditions are not quite what they ought to be. This has a lot to do with the illegal sanctions the US continues to impose on Iran. This is also where people have expressed disappointment that the promises the government of President Hassan Rouhani made about improving the economy have not materialized. People’s expectations were raised, perhaps too high, based on American promises but these have not borne fruit. Americans never fulfill their pledges, whether made bilaterally or multilaterally.
These concerns, however, were set-aside during the Deh-e Fajr celebrations, especially on February 11 when millions of people packed Azadi Square. There were men, women, young girls, and children waving Islamic Republic’s flags and carrying portraits of the Rahbar, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamene’i. Mothers pushing prams with infants were a common sight. Old men and women were also present in large numbers in response to the Rahbar’s call that people should show their support for the Islamic system. And they did. More kept pouring in even as the ceremony got underway. Cars had to be parked miles away to avoid congestion at the rally site.
An interesting scene was that police permitted cars to be parked even on the highways. One lane in each direction of the three-lane highway was dedicated to parking. The ever-enterprising Iranians were able to navigate their way through this and three cars traveled through two lanes on each side.
This year’s celebrations were the largest in many years. In fact, many people took Trump’s ill-informed comments as an insult and wanted to show that they fully support the Islamic system and the Rahbar. Many commentators including Dr. Foad Izadi of Tehran University saw Trump’s comments as a huge favor to Iran. The younger generation of Iranians that had not witnessed the unfolding of events during the year of the Islamic Revolution had little understanding of US hostility toward Iran.
Now they witnessed Trump’s extreme hostility firsthand and they understood the true nature of the US that the late Imam Khomeini had referred to as Shaytan-e Buzurg (the Great Satan). Trump had tweeted during the riots, “The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted.” The freedom that the Iranian people seek is from US hegemony.
America’s large footprint in the region has shattered the lives of tens of millions of people. At least five million people have been killed in America’s endless wars in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Some are still raging. Only the people of Iran have secured true freedom, thanks to their leadership and the Islamic system of government that act as shields against America’s preditory policies.
The people of Iran fully understand the kind of “freedom” American involvement will bring. Unlike the US, Iran has a 2,500-year-long history. Americans are cultural and political barbarians; they can only bring death and destruction to other societies. They have a gory record that the people of Iran are well aware of. They got their first taste with the August 1953 coup against the government of Mohammed Mossadegh. Throughout the year of the revolution (1978), the Americans fully backed the Shah and just days before he fled from Iran, Zbigniew Brezezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, had phoned the US ambassador in Tehran, John Sullivan, asking if he could arrange a military coup!
It is not Iran where the people are against the system of governance; this is more applicable to the US. In fact, Trump’s National Security Strategy document (released in October 2017) openly admits that the vast majority of American people have no faith in their government. Trump himself is extremely unpopular; he only appeals to his racist, uneducated base of rednecks.
They have one thing in common: both are ignorant of reality. They do not care, being content to wallow in their ignorance. What is disturbing for the rest of the world is that Trump has his itchy finger on the nuclear button. This orangutan in the White House may push the nuclear button in a fit of rage and destroy the rest of the world.