Bahai News - Iran is evolving
Iran is evolving
Sunday June 24, 2001
THE FORMER Shah of Iran ran a brutal regime, covertly supported
by America's CIA. However, religious fanatics who seized the Mideastern
country in 1979 created an even crueler police state.
The cold-eyed Ayatollah Khomeini turned Iran into the execution capital
of the world, putting multitudes of people to death. Puritanical
"morality police" flogged women who showed a lock of hair, and raided
families suspected of watching Western television shows. Some women were
stoned to death for sexual sins. Assassination teams were sent around
Europe to kill secular-minded Iranian refugees. Bahai believers were
hanged for their religion. Khomeini plunged Iran into a "holy war"
against neighboring Iraq. He issued a religious edict ordering Muslims
to murder author Salman Rushdie for "blasphemy." Etc., etc.
During the worst of Iran's horror, an Iranian immigrant professor living
in Charleston predicted that his homeland's orgy of Puritanism would
burn itself out, in time.
Well, he was correct. Young Iranians and women slowly grew weary of the rigid
taboos of the ruling mullahs, and began to crave some personal freedoms. In
1997, they elected a reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, who advocated
more democratic rights. Unfortunately, Iran's presidency is partly a
ceremonial office, and most power remains in the hands of the holy men.
As the spirit of democracy grew, the mullahs retaliated, shutting down
40 reformist newspapers and jailing editors. Some reform supporters were
murdered. Just two months ago, democracy advocates in the Freedom
Movement were arrested on orders of religious judges, who charged them
with trying to "overthrow the Islamic establishment."
However, the craving for individual liberties continued snowballing. In
this month's election, young people and women waged an emotional drive
for Khatami, who won a thunderous three-to-one victory.
The Boston Globe said the returns showed "an ardent longing to
break free of an authoritarian theocracy and move toward a more tolerant
and pluralistic democracy."
The human spirit rebels against all sorts of tyranny. It's heartening to
see it happening in Iran.
©Copyright 2001, Sunday Gazette-Mail
Page last updated/revised 071101
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