It’s 3:00 am Los Angeles time and I can’t go to sleep—I am worried about the possible bloodbath of this latest showdown between the Iranian regime and people; looking for a favorite verse takes me to Ferdowsi who’s poetry has been super-relevant during the past week.
The following is when people are asking Rostam, the most celebrated mythical hero of Iran, to save Iran—From the book of Kings, Shahnameh (composed by Ferdowsi between 980-1010 AD)
“You are our refuge, our last hope, our one
Protection now that King Kavous has gone;
Alas, Iran will be destroyed, a lair
For leopards and wild lions will flourish there,
Our land will be a wasted battleground
Where evil kings will triumph and be crowned…”
سپاه اندرایران پراکنده شد
زن و مرد و کودک همه بنده شد
دو بهره سوی زاولستان شدند
به خواهش بر پور دستان شدند
که مارا زبدها تو باشی پناه
چو گم شد سرتاج کاوس شاه
دریغ است ایران که ویران شود
کنام پلنگان و شیران شود
Read Roger Cohen’s great eyewitness account in NY Times (June 20th 2009); he shares with us what CNN and Youtube can’t: amazing journalism.
Cohen’s view about Iran’s youth must be devastating to the regime.
زنـانـشـان چـنـیـنـنـد ز ایـرانیــــان
چگـونه انـد گـردان و جنگ آوران
These are startling moments in recent Iranian history. Breathtaking is the word that comes to mind with every new image out of Iran’s protests. A new tale of Zahhak and Kaveh. “It is as if someone had opened a door and an entire country had spilled out.”
The difference between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad is one of degree and not of kind but it’s obvious that the islamic republic has been constrained to deny its own convictions—if Rafsanjani is not the regime’s legitimate overlord, who is? Mousavi seems to be running along after the crowd, not leading it…
The crackdown on the protesters has been way harsher in cities like Isfahan (above) where there are less foreign journalists to report it.
I would love to believe that Iranians are showing the same spirit of resistance they’ve had towards the invaders throughout their long history against the Arabs, the Mongols and Turks.
The Islamic Republic has believed its own myth of invincibility and now its legitimate children are fighting each other in front of the whole world. If they had simply arranged for Ahmadinejad to win by an at least believable slim margin! What we are witnessing is the clash of the Titans in a perfect storm.
If the Bazaar turns against Ahmadinejad, it would be the end of him. It is a matter of time before the regime rolls in the tanks. I highly recommend Muhammad Sahimi’s great article on the power struggle in Iran. It is a must read for anyone interested in understanding Iran’s recent history, and how it has led us to the present situation.
Abbas Milani discusses Khamenei’s amazing miscalculation in this article.
“Count our votes: the modesty of this demand is particularly moving, set against the majesty of the demonstrations.”
It’s hard to make any deeply intelligent prediction about Iran’s political future right now but I would like to hope that better days will come—though not yet…