June 18, 2009

Broken Promises

With everything going on in Iran, my mind is on constantly fire. I find myself shuffling a series of conflicting thoughts and ideas. Some emotional, some political, most impractical. I spin conspiracy theories with delusions of a Utopian Iran where I can take my daughter to rural Iranian villages on the coast of the Caspian Sea. We eat fresh walnuts that make our hands black. Stopping for tea and Zoolbeya. Spiraling first up then down Mt. Damavand. My mother is there, her brothers, her sisters, all of us returned from exile as if allowed back into the garden.

For the first time in my life, I feel at home, no longer out of place, no longer alone, but I know this is just a false fantasy. I have changed; we have all changed too much. The ground is too soaked with blood. Our memories have been erased by a blind faith in God.

I want to release a theory. It may not be intellectually sound enough to be taken seriously, I may not have sufficient facts or footnotes, but it must be let out, because it is taking up too much space in my head and needs to be voiced.

It starts with oil and power and strategy and American interests in the Middle East and the CIA and Globalization and privatization and Iraq and Afghanistan and natural gas and back room deals and politics and betrayal and lack of leadership and carefully crafted leaders who are more palatable than ignorant hill billy wanna be Skull and Bones mamma’s boys, and nuclear weapons and axis of evil and terror and heroin junkies and prostitutes in Dubai and unemployment. It ends, as it always does with the broken promise of freedom and self-determination and democracy.

For anyone who knows anything about the history of the Middle East in the 20th century, Iran is a key player in controling the region, and American has had its sites on control of the world’s 4th largest oil producer since WWII.

When an upstart nationalist, thought that perhaps Iran should be able to enjoy the wealth of this highly sought after new global commodity, the CIA had other plans. A carefully crafted coup displaces Mosaddeq and implants the Shah. The next chapter reads like a clichéd CIA handbook. Benevolent dictator turns Iran into the Paris of the Middle East, kills, tortures, and terrorizes communists, intellectuals, artists with his CIA trained secret police Savak. Same story in Indonesia, Chile, El Slavador….

Years go by, Iranians re-group. They slowly build a revolution. No not the Islamic one you have heard so much about, but an actual socialist one where millions of workers take over factories and march in the streets. They are not only brining down a dictator they are standing up to American imperialism. Could it be a truly democratic socialist Iran in control of its own destiny in the Middle East? Let’s not be naïve.

The Iranian left makes a critical mistake by aligning itself with the Islamic faction hoarding in on its revolution. Trusting Khomeni becomes the end of the Iranian left. Khomeni carefully manipulates the left promising the Islamic voice to topple the Shah. In the chaotic days in 1979, suddenly the Shah is out and a vacuum is created. A splintered left leaves too much room, and Khomeni moves in. The rest is history. He quickly murders and tortures all dissidents, including the leadership of the very parties that brought about the revolution. A free socialists Iran controlled democratically by the workers who run her industries is hijacked by Islamic fundamentalist who revert the Paris of the Middle East to a back water nation more in place in the 7th century. The first Islamic Republic of the 20th century is born and Iran is officially dead.

What does that have to do with the green Twitter revolution we are watching in 2009? Here is my idea:

Bush with all his PNAC and Texas swagger was not the right cowboy to open up Iran. He could bomb Iraq back to the stone age, but Iran was a much more sophisticated enemy, one that needed a charmer, a diplomat, one who is well-versed in 21st century marketing and technology. In short to bring Iran back in to the fold of a globalized world order, we need Obama and yes Mousavi.

I think that the CIA and the US is behind this current “revolution.” I can see it now, a few weeks from now the supreme leader is disposed, Ahmedijan is out, and the savior of Iran Mousavi is in. A man most people know little about, a lesser of two evils like his American counter part. Two puppets, who themselves are being controlled by corporate interests, money, and power begin to reset the Middle Eastern stage- Iran opens up to the west…American oil companies move back in, pipelines from the Caspian Sea contracts are signed, American companies swoop in to bid for the new privatized contracts. Free trade agreements are signed: McDonalds, Krispie Kreme, Pizza Hut, and Monsanto are more than happy to rebuild Iran and remake it in America’s capitalists cloned image. Another nation checked off the list…only a few left.

Am I a conspiracy theorist? Perhaps, but we Iranians are by nature. I guess that comes from being born in a nation that sits atop a mighty plateau, with natural resources, natural harbors, and oil.

Now here is the thing; I think I don’t mind. I have come to peace with Iran transforming itself into another American consumerist clone. Thirty years of oppression. Thirty years of fear. Thirty years of stifling a vibrant culture is enough. Perhaps, entering the globalized world order like the rest of the world is better than being oppressed behind a veil and with a stick.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I have no hope for real freedom or democracy in Iran in my lifetime, so I will turn my avatar green and cheer Mousavi for the same reasons Americans cheered Obama, but in my heart I know he is not the answer. Iran will remain entangled in the strings of the puppet masters.

I take comfort in the fact that Iranians are a proud people, you have to be to keep a cultural alive for 2500 years. We will sit atop this plateau and wait for our turn to control our own destinies.

Some books to check out:

Revolution and Counter Revolution In Iran by Phil Marshall
The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
All The Shah's Men by Stephen Kinzer


  1. Very interesting post. I hate it, but I'm a conspiracy theorist too. I want to believe in revolution. I want to believe that things will get better. But I'm not holding my breath.

  2. Actually, I had wondered that as well. Especially since most events in Iranian history (and, indeed, the history of many parts of the world) have the CIA hand hidden by the glove of "spontaneous" uprisings. I've have to know more about Mousavi to be convinced of the theory, but for now I'm still concerned.

    VEry thought provoking post.

  3. bz- i don't think you are a conspiracy theorist- you are probably dead on. from what little i know of the proud persian iranians- they have been invaded and never defeated. the culture and the people have remained true to themselves- and i doubt america's shallow culture would have impact enough to dislodge that. you come from a proud heritage :)

  4. wow
    I had the very same idea... ironic that Obama 'doesn't want to interfere.'