by Jamshed Abbas (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 46, No. 12, Jumada' al-Ula', 1439)
The recent protests in Iran that quickly degenerated into riots and vandalism were met with the usual ecstatic, hopeful hysteria in the US media that is primed to exploit any situation appearing to be potentially beneficial to its agenda. One of the few things that an increasingly fractured American media coalesces around is Iran. American policy makers and media members have looked on with growing horror as Iran has made tremendous progress despite the billions spent to destroy the Islamic Republic over nearly 40 years. Economically, culturally, and especially in the realm of international relations and policy, Iran has won grudging admiration, even from the most pro-Israel, neoconservative elements of the US foreign policy establishment.
The reaction of the US media to recent protests/riots is indicative of its increasingly fractured, discombobulated, visceral nature. Rational thought and objectivity have taken a back seat (if they were ever present to begin with) to increasingly open expressions of bias, thinly disguised as objective reporting. This disease of disingenuous expressions of objectivity driven by imperialist or capitalist designs was always part of the pathology of American media. However, the disease of hypocrisy, willful misinformation, paranoia, and angst have now reached (to complete our analogy) proportions of full blown, stage IV cancer.
The protests in Iran, as the Iranian authorities themselves have acknowledged, sprang in part from the economic frustrations of some members of society. The protests were initially peaceful. Soon, a tiny minority, most of them trained mercenaries or infiltrators, committed acts of violence such as arson in a number of venues.
Some 20 people were killed, instigators who were armed and attacked police stations and other facilities comprising most of the fatalities (two policemen were among the dead). Iranian intelligence will surely provide detailed information on who these individuals were and their links to organizations such as the US supported terrorist group Mujahideen Khalq Organization (MKO), but the Western media will of course ignore or ridicule such information. The protests were limited to a few cities and a hundred to a thousand protesters participated at any one time. They soon petered out, as peaceful and law-abiding protestors realized that their legitimate grievances were being exploited by outside forces with a nefarious agenda.
What is remarkable is that tens of thousands of people participated in pro-government rallies throughout Iran in the following days. Iranians poured into the streets to proclaim their love for the Islamic Republic. Friday prayer leaders, the president of Iran, politicians and leaders as well as the Rahbar, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamene’i declared that the legitimate grievances of the protestors should be addressed. They acknowledged the economic difficulties Iranians are undergoing in some sectors, a pain that is a result of the vicious attempt to strangle Iran’s economy.
In addition, as the Rahbar has pointed out, successive executive administrations have failed in some areas of economic reform and the complete eradication of corruption. The overall result, however, of almost 40 years of Islamic revolutionary government has been remarkable. Iran has taken tremendous strides in sectors such as nanotechnology, medicine, social issues such as drug use rehabilitation, women’s education, economic self-reliance and technology, both military and otherwise.
There is ample proof: Iran and its allies — Hizbullah, the Syrian government, Russia, China, Hashd al-Sha‘bi (Iraq), and the many thousands of dedicated young men from many countries — have stopped American and Zionist plots in the Muslim East dead in their tracks. American media outlets that knowingly but falsely allege that the Iranian public no longer supports the Islamic Republic did not mention that tens of thousands showed up to receive Mohsin Hujaji, that glorious martyr who gave his life fighting the very Da‘ish that the US created, trained, and used for its nefarious agenda.
Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s dream of a “new Middle East” has come true but it is one in which American influence has waned and the Zionist state, by its own admission is in dire straits. The next war with Hizbullah (let alone Iran) will probably lead to the end of the Zionist project.
To some, the reference to trained mercenaries and outside interference in Iran’s internal affairs may seem a little paranoid. But, to anyone familiar with the history of US meddling in the Muslim East and Iran, the assertion is logical. One could cite reams of historical data to prove that the US has always actively undermined and intervened, both overtly and covertly, in countries that it sees as a threat to its imperialist designs.
To put things in context, Iran is one of the greatest strategic and ideological challenges the US has ever faced. Those who think that the CIA and the intelligence agencies, paramilitary units, and other agencies that are aligned with it would just sit back with their billions in disclosed and undisclosed budgets and not do anything to try and undermine Iran have no sense of history.
The MKO (aka munafiqeen) is by any measure an extremist, terrorist and cultist group. Washington openly supports it and is the field operations arm of US attempts to sabotage Iranian society. In addition to its long gory history of murders and terrorist acts, it was also actively involved in arson and violence during the 2009 events. The US government that has historically plotted to neutralize Martin Luther King Jr. due to a perception of internal threats, would hardly sit back and ignore what it perceives as a massive external threat.
The protests, as was expected, petered out and all the hullabaloo that the US media had engaged in ended with a whimper. Even the prime minister of the Zionist regime, who tweeted in Persian his “support” for the Iranian people, went back to doing what he does best: undermining the US by inserting his international agenda into its strategic playbook. By his own admission, the US is always at the beck and call of the Zionist regime and its agents that have infiltrated the American political and military establishments.
But what lessons can we, the discerning and Islamically cognizant vanguards of a new international order based on justice, indigenous rights, universal sovereignty, and world peace draw from these events? Firstly, America is in terminal decline. “Liberal democracy,” the false idol that America (Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” comes to mind) is so proud of, a tool that the elites believed would enable them to maintain what was a plutocracy disguised as democracy is crumbling before our eyes. The 1% are in desperation mode. America is suffering from the worst crisis of confidence. Western countries that claim to be beacons of freedom and liberty commit gross injustices against members of their own societies. They routinely impose draconian and unjust punishment on individuals they perceive as a threat to their stability. Examples abound: the imprisonment of individuals for four years for posting support on Facebook for underprivileged people rioting in London against a racist criminal justice system; and up to 80,000 people in solitary confinement, something that the UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez has called a human travesty.
Imagine if Iran jailed a disproportionate number of young men from a historically oppressed minority and housed them in conditions that amounted to torture, the US media would be reporting it with screaming headlines. There are sections of white, middle America that have HIV rates higher than some African nations due to high rates of needle exchanges, as the middle class that is being crushed by a vicious capitalist system, turns to drugs and suicide.
Many of these stories are culled from American media sources; this is the fascinating aspect of the decline of American civilization. In a post-modern, post-Enlightenment West, where there is no truth and the only truth that matters is based on individual perceptions, the problem is not lack of information. There is a deluge of information, so much that desensitized minds no longer care. People create echo chambers for themselves where they process information that only fits their worldview. So, for example, the story of a county in middle America having HIV rates worse than some African nations has no impact as people go about their stress filled, partisan, increasingly myopic lives.
This encapsulates the reason why American civilization shall inevitably erode to the point of collapse — the destruction of all possible references of human morality and rational truth. The Qur’an points to this reality. The destruction of corrupt societies is not always caused by meteors, earthquakes, or other natural disasters. God destroys societies by the very moral and ethical ills that said societies commit in full transgression of all universal moral codes. The Qur’an also repeatedly admonishes man for not using his God given intellect.
American society is flooded with contradictory information. A citizenry that has zero critical thinking skills marches to the beat of popular culture and partisan politics driven by a moneyed, two-party system; zombies come to mind; a capitalist system in which the people are nothing but walking talking zombies, the living dead people drowning in a society that places materialism above all. The few that are awake live in fear and disgust, a potential target for their political views.
Secondly, discerning Muslims with astute political vision must realize that Iranian society has reached a level of sophistication and institutional stability that is unshakable. When Igor Nikolaevich Panarin, a Russian analyst wrote in 1998 that US society would soon fracture as states such as California secede from the union, people scoffed. Today, secession of the most populated US state from the union no longer seems implausible; it looms large on the horizon.
American police brutality on a daily basis is well documented. Large swathes of the American public are afraid to call the police in case of emergency. Contrast this to the level of concern during the protests in Iran. The Iranian parliament met in a closed session during the protests to discuss the treatment of those arrested and to keep an eye on any potential abuses. This writer was in Iran during the protests and witnessed the level of interaction, dialogue, trust, and confidence that underpinned the Iranian public’s engagement with law enforcement. There was the case of an Iranian getting out of his/her car to try and argue why a traffic ticket should not be issued. The police officer was polite and patient. This scene of patience and deference by the police and respect toward them was repeated countless times in the streets of the Islamic Republic. People who get out of cars at traffic stops in the US face probable death. Iranian police that patrol streets and give out citations are unarmed. American police are armed to the teeth. Anyone who lives in Iran for any period of time quickly realizes the sheer absurdity of American propaganda.
It is a commonly accepted fact within mainstream political theory that electoral participation is one of the barometers of the health of a country’s political system. Over 73% of Iranians participated in the last presidential elections. Even virulently anti-Iranian Western publications had to admit that millions of Iranians enthusiastically participated in the elections. In sharp contrast, the American public’s confidence in the US political system has been on a constant downward spiral. Just 58% of the electorate participated in the 2016 presidential elections and just 40% participating in the last congressional elections. These measurable indicators point to Iran being a more vibrant, politically healthy, and socially stable country. Iran has suffered an unprecedented 8-year war in which the whole world aided the butcher of Baghdad, Saddam Husayn. It has faced vicious sanctions, sabotage, assassinations, military pressure etc. Yet, the ideological foundation of the Islamic Republic is such that it has withstood all these tests and not only passed them but thrived. The American government routinely threatens, harasses, and attacks people within the country who it perceives as a threat.
Thirdly, committed Muslims should realize that the US media is nothing but a very elaborate circus. Western media generally is an elaborate hoax although outlets such as the BBC are very devious and clever about their agenda. The US media on the other hand is a cesspool of schizophrenic activity. Everything should be read between the lines and with a pinch of salt. The reality is often very far removed from facts on the ground. The protests in Iran and their coverage is but one example. All peace loving, social justice conscious peoples should realize that we are all in this together. No one wishes ill upon America. As Imam Khamenei has pointed out, America’s enmity with Iran is not directed by the people. It is directed by the elites, the ones who victimize not only others but also their own people.
But ultimately, the people must take responsibility. Again, the Qur’an eloquently lays out the scenario: when the masses will complain to God on the day of judgement about the elites that misled them, they will be rebuked by the elites for not using their own minds. Whatever the case, the fact remains: the day when America’s slow decline will snowball into manifest chaos doesn’t seem very far. In contrast, Iran’s future is bright and glorious. No one can stop the inevitable coming of a justice-filled future, least of all a crumbling America. Indeed, the American media and political establishment’s reaction to protests in Iran reminds one of a dying old man desperately trying to stave off death with diversions that are pitiful.