Tradition, Revolution and Confrontation in Iran

Political scientist Matthias Küntzel gives a devastating background to the volunteer militia Basij Mostazafan–or “mobilization of the oppressed” and explains it in the context of the Shia tradition of martyrdom.

Küntzel concludes that this is leading to the “showdown” between the zealous Mahmoud Ahmadinejad- a product of the Basij– and the Western world. He ignores, of course, the war mongering that the neo- cons have indulged in, training their guns now towards Iran, as if the deepening quagmire in Iraq was not enough. Küntzel’s own account provides the reasons on the dangers of confrontation with a country where the (counter) revolutionary energy has not yet died down. Every revolution eventually devours its own children- the Iranian one has not yet reached that stage.In the background of the tradition of martyrdom and the continuation of the Islamic Revolution, confrontation with the present Iranian regime is only a recipe for further disaster.

During the Iran-Iraq War, the Ayatollah Khomeini imported 500,000 small plastic keys from Taiwan. The trinkets were meant to be inspirational. After Iraq invaded in September 1980, it had quickly become clear that Iran’s forces were no match for Saddam Hussein’s professional, well-armed military. To compensate for their disadvantage, Khomeini sent Iranian children, some as young as twelve years old, to the front lines. There, they marched in formation across minefields toward the enemy, clearing a path with their bodies. Before every mission, one of the Taiwanese keys would be hung around each child’s neck. It was supposed to open the gates to paradise for them. (read on, need to register at TNR)

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Author: bhupinder singh

an occasional blogger

2 thoughts on “Tradition, Revolution and Confrontation in Iran”

  1. The way religious hypnosis can be whipped up through this kind of idiot level symbolism is not funny. And all religious leaders of all shades are guilty of using it.

    do u remember the brick collection hysteria that happened in India for the Ayodhya ‘Ram Temple. or indeed how Ram Janmabhoomi was used to get a fairly rational bunch of people to behave irrationally. Or indeed this fracas over Intelligent Design. Its’ almost asthough religious leaders are creating lightening rods to attract numbers.

  2. Absolutely true. With the advance of ‘modernization’, the process of secularization seems to be pathetically slow, if not actually regressing.

    This is counter intuitive, but true.

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