Two Pictures that Summarize the Islamic Republic

I originally posted this on the anniversary of the Iranian Islamic Revolution, on my personal (secret and private) Facebook page, which is some time ago, but I loved it and I thought I’d share it with you even though it’s a bit outdated.

ناخناشئ

“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” – Karl Marx

Soon we’re going to have the 35th anniversary of Islamic Revolution. These two images, I think, summarize the revolution the best. The one on the left is an iconic image which signals the victory of the revolution, the one on the right is from a few days ago. The first one shows the Air Force turning their back to Shah, and the second one shows Air Force saluting the Supreme Leader. It’s a not-so-subtle attempt to recreate the same image for the “new” leader, who’s still “new” after 25 years of ruling the country, who still is haunted by the shadow of the previous leader, his father figure, the man he longs to be and never can. This is the Farce of Ayatollah Oedipus.

And the Islamic Revolution can be explained by comparing these two pictures – one is spontaneous, the other is staged, one is historic, the other insignificant, one is revolutionary, the other reactionary, one signals the fall of a dictator, the other signals the power of a dictator, one is meant to uplift people, the other meant to scare them, one shows soldiers saluting a leader of people who was supposed to be our Gandhi, the other shows soldiers saluting a dictator who’s too pathetic to be our Stalin.

These two images are almost identical yet they reveal nothing but differences, because photos don’t lie – not even the staged ones.

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About Kaveh Mousavi

Kaveh Mousavi is the pseudonym of an atheist ex-Muslim living in Iran, subject to one of the world’s remaining theocracies. He is a student of English Literature, an aspiring novelist, and part-time English teacher. He is passionate about politics, video games, heavy metal music, and cinema. He was born at the tenth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. He has ditched the Islamic part, but has kept some of the revolutionary spirit.

  • Al Dente

    Good point about the similarities and differences between the two pictures.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    The Shahanshah offered himself up as a Gandhi figure?!?

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      No, it was Khomeini. The western media had dubbed him “the Gandhi of Iran” before the revolution, of course he became a bloodthirsty tyrant after.

      • Pierce R. Butler

        Thanks for clarifying that – it makes slightly more sense, especially when you consider Khomeini’s early history as an underdog.

        Power corrupts.

      • rapiddominance

        You said the western media dubbed him “the Ghandi of Iran” before taking power. I don’t suppose you were alive then, but based on what you know, did most Iranians have any such hope?

        Also, I don’t know much about the Ayatollah K. I was about 4 when he came to power. Do you think he had redeemable qualities before taking power, or was he a “monster” from the start?

        Scott

        (The two questions are near identical, so you could probably offer just one relatively short answer)

        • Kaveh Mousavi

          Based on the available evidence, all the dominant discourses were violent and to some degree undemocratic, and the liberals were eliminated very early and easily.

          I think he had many redeemable qualities, or he wouldn’t be able to lead such a revolution. But at the end he changed.

          • rapiddominance

            Power seems to do that. What is it that they say about power: Once a person has it, the only thing they’re worried about is losing it. I THINK a preoccupation with maintaining power alters a lot of leaders who originally had noble intentions.

            Stalin and Hitler–I think they knew what they were gonna do.

  • rapiddominance

    Kaveh, I wished I would have thought to ask you this question earlier:

    I know you’re using a pseudonym, but aren’t you a little concerned that maybe your material is being monitored and can be traced?

    I’ve had questions come to mind that I’ve wanted to ask, but I haven’t because I didn’t want you getting in any trouble for having answered them accurately.

    That said, if you’re willing to create this particular OP, I’m not sure you’re scared to say anything on your blog.

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