16 April 2010

Thoughts on leadership and change in Iran

The following was posted earlier today by the Twitter activist @_Free_Iran_:

"Friends today I would like to express my humble opinion about some things I have noticed lately on #iranelection.
First let me say that eventho I would like to share my thoughts about this, I am very conscious that my opinion is not important, that it is the people inside Iran who will determine their future. Also I hope that none of my dear friends will interpret this as an attack on their opinions, because it isn't. I have great respect for their point of views, but I also wish to share my concerns with people on iranelection 

Before adding anything else, let me explain again that I am 100% for secular democracy in Iran, but I think there is different ways to get there, and that a sudden change is not always the best. However in the present situation I simply cannot tell, it may or may not be the best plan. The islamic regime may disappear within a day, or it may take longer, it is the people inside Iran who will decide.

My position, for the time being, is not to be against, but to be cautious about, more or less unknown "leaders", and also about more known "leaders" who may have their own agendas, which may not be the best for Iran. Of course, just like most of you, I hope that Iran will be freed from the islamic regime soon, hopefully within a year, but I am being cautious because I worry that we may make the same mistakes as in 1979 and that we may be led to chose the wrong people as leaders, as long as they say the things we want to hear and are willing to topple the government. But this is not enough, we have to know who they are. 

Let us not forget that Khomeini did say "the right things", the things people wanted to hear. He was what many would call "a strong leader", he was charismatic in his own way, but had his own agenda and led Iran to disaster. Before choosing someone as "leader", it is also good to know not only their past actions, but their personality as well. Get all the information possible, know what they have done, know their state of mind, know their agenda in details.

We also have to remember that eventho I believe our green friends, brothers, sisters, -the protesters - are the majority, and as much as I hope for secular democracy in Iran as soon as possible, there is still possibly a big minority who are happy to live under an islamic regime. Therefore whoever will find themselves in leadership positions will have to consider their voices as well, and will have to be somewhat "moderate", they will have a very difficult job trying to "balance" everything, and to keep everyone happy as much as possible, but hopefully will be able to avoid a neverending and bloody conflict among the good people inside Iran.

We have to remember how Shah, eventho he was an intelligent and modern man, and eventho he cared very much about his country and people, may have tried to change too many things too fast, at least for some people who may have felt threatened by so many changes (even if good) so quickly. I think we should remember this if we want to achieve a victory where all (or most) people will be able to live at peace with each other.

And finally, let us look back at history and make sure the same mistakes are not repeated. At the end of 1978, as the Shah's power was crumbling, because Shapour Bakhtiar had been a leader in the resistance, he was chosen to help in the creation of civilian government in place of the military one, which had existed up to this point. Although this caused him to be expelled from the National Front, he accepted the appointment, as he feared a revolution, in which communists and mullahs would take over the country, because he thought this would ruin Iran and was he right or was he right .... )

In his 36 days as premier of Iran, Bakhtiar ordered all political inmates to be freed, lifted censorship of newspapers (whose staff had until then been on strike), relaxed martial law, ordered the dissolving of SAVAK and requested that the opposition give him three months to hold elections for a constituent assembly that would decide the fate of the monarchy and determine the future form of government for Iran. Despite these conciliatory gestures, Ayatollah Khomeini refused to collaborate with Bakhtiar, denouncing the premier as a traitor for siding with the Shah, labeling his government "illegitimate" and "illegal" and calling for the overthrow of the Monarchy.

It is clear to me that Khomeini had his own agenda, which was not the best for Iran, but his own thirst for power. The one thing he knew well tho, is that we need unity to achieve victory, however, after using this unity to get himself in a position of leadership, he then broke his promises and eliminated all who got in his way. Let us not forget about that.

This is all I had to say for the moment, thank you dear friends

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