Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Rising Generation in Iran

I seldom say much about the persecution of Baha'is in Iran -- besides the fact that I'm certainly no expert on Iranian affairs, there's very little to say, except what a horrible violation of human rights it is. And, I've been hearing predictions of the Islamic Republic's fall my whole adult life, so I'm a bit skeptical about yet another one. However, no regime, however totalitarian, is immune from the change of the generations -- even if there isn't a counter-revolution, there is bound to be counter-evolution.

From the article The Mullah's Achilles' Heel: Iran's Youth:

Notwithstanding the Mullahs' pretensions, the Islamic Republic is built less on the sublime spirituality of religion and more on the profane temptations of power. In placing so much focus on demonizing the peaceful Baha'i minority and threatening human rights champions, such as Dr. Ebadi, the hardliners betray the emptiness of their beliefs and ideals, which must be imposed through violence and intimidation.

Instead of celebrating the transcendent values of compassion and justice, which inspired a glorious and pluralistic Islamic civilization for centuries, Iran's self-appointed clerical rulers promote a hateful and ignorant totalitarian ideology. Some of the most vigorous dissent against clerical rule is by clerics themselves, both orthodox and reformist, calling for separation of religion and state, consistent with 500 years of Shia tradition. Many Islamic clerics are persecuted and there is even a special court for the prosecution of dissident clergy.

A regime that does not enjoy a democratic mandate, and which is unresponsive to popular demands for a prosperous and open society, desperately needs foreign conspiracies, heresies and other enemies within to legitimize its rule. But time is not on the hardliners' side. The reality is that 70% of Iranians are less than 30 years of age, many are Internet-savvy, glued to satellite television and have very little toleration for the Islamic utopia promised by their leaders when the evidence of national decline is apparent everywhere.

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