Each year reaches exhaustion on the Gregorian Calendar at the same time midnight December 31st. Since Pope Gregory in 1587 determined Julius Caesar’s calendar was sufficiently out of sync that an extra day was required every four years to leap the calendar forward and secure it appropriately with the seasons, we have counted our transition to the new year with similarity to our ancestors for 430 years. Most of those years, the resolutions are personal, with an oath to do things differently, a fresh start in life upon the advancement of the calendar to the new year. History, however, is more continuous in arc and less amenable to rigid stops and starts. Suddenly though , the end of 2017 has shifted the ground so dramatically in Iran that something similar to the real historical diversion made in 1989, may be upon us with the coming of the new year. Maybe something truly heroic; maybe, at long last, the breath of freedom to a long suffering people.
IRAN In 1979, the people of Iran were grifted out of their people’s revolution in overthrowing the autocratic Shah, the autocratic dictatorship absconded by religious zealots and replaced with a theocratic one. For nearly 40 years, the Iranian people have suffered under a small cadre of clerics that assume their brand of rigid male dominated society forcing all others into subservience will somehow continue to resonate with a population which is now 60% under the age of thirty and no longer willing to be denied their individual pursuit of happiness. Like all religions with a dark, negativistic view of human interaction, the puritanical restrictions eventually morph into downright moral corruption and overreach that eventually cause fundamental collapse of the subjected’s passive acceptance of authority.
In 2009, President Obama, the so-called leader of the Free World, reached the lowest moral point of his Presidency when he remained silent during the protests of millions in Iran’s Green Revolution as young people were massacred on the streets by regime thugs. History records that he did so as he did not want to upset his fantastical plan to work with the mullahs in achieving a diplomatic pact that would place theocratic Iran in the position of dominance in the Middle East and Central Asia. He was willing to deal away the heroic uprising, remove sanctions, restore billions of dollars to the mullahs, avert his eyes as the regime’s terrorist arm, Hezbollah threatened Israel, overran Lebanon, helped convert Syria into a human calamity, allow Iran to continue to develop ballistic weapons for nuclear delivery that could threaten Israel, the Arabian Peninsula and Europe, kill hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq, and prepare for an active nuclear capability. It is hard to underestimate how ugly this colossal misjudgment proved to be.
Now, seemingly out of the blue to averted western eyes, the Iranian people are rising again to throw off their enslavers, and this time, it may be hard to put the genie back in the bottle. The regime is full of viciousness and will not stand for a mortal threat to its existence, for each of these ‘religious” figures understand that there could be a ‘Libyan sendoff‘ for each of them should their authority erode and their role in murder , theft, and corruption becomes fully uncovered. As 2017 ends, the clamp down on information escaping Iran by authorities makes the extent and potential success of what has erupted from the population difficult to discern. What appears critical this time, is that the revolt of the people is across the width and breath of Iran, and transcends class. Outgunned and up against a vicious reactionary leadership, there is little doubt that success if at all possible will more resemble the French Revolution of 1789 than the Velvet Revolution of 1989. We at the ramparts, must watch and pray for the latter, but history suggests usually otherwise. At least this time, the Iranian people will see an American leader who recognizes their struggle for what it is:
As 2017 leads into 2018, a historic fulcrum is upon Iran and its heroic people. To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway, oppressive authority withers two ways : gradually and then, suddenly.