By Potkin Azarmehr
In 2009, millions of Iranians spilled out onto the streets and protested against the rigged results of the presidential elections. The protests were brutally repressed, and the regime’s savagery was captured by the camera-phones of thousands of citizen journalists. These images were then disseminated across social media by a young tech-savvy population, who showed the world the true nature of the Islamic Republic.
As expected, many so-called experts and academics, who had their information and material fed to them by regime lobbyists, were taken aback, and provided a reading of events that was grossly inadequate. Somehow, they had to come up with a narrative that still supported their notion of “this is a popular and relatively democratic regime” fighting against the unjust imperialist West – a narrative that would validate their own lack of support for the protesters.
That narrative was that the protesters were rich kids of north Tehran! It was a callous and reprehensible narrative. Suffice it to say that Neda, the famous icon of the martyrs of the 2009 post-election protests, was the daughter of a truck driver, and the vast majority of the protesters, detainees and those whose lives came to an abrupt end were from ordinary working Iranian families. Nevertheless, these “experts” were the media favorites, and managed to push their narratives with considerable success.
Ironically, when small pockets of affluent kids from north Tehran came out on the streets to celebrate the signing of the nuclear accord, the same “experts” defined them as the “Iranian masses!”
With the onset of the recent protests, the echo-chamber academic elite that the mass media love to host once again appeared highly inadequate in their knowledge of what was going on in Iran. Unable to read the writing on the wall, they were once again stunned by how distant and remote they were from the realities on the ground inside Iran. They needed to come up with a new narrative. But even the most imaginative experts could not risk their reputation by claiming that these protesters were the affluent kids from north Tehran! This time the evidence against them was as overwhelming as the evidence for evolution is against the creationists!
Thanks to citizen journalists and other ordinary people in Iran, the world could see that this was very much a grassroots protest that was taking place across the whole of Iran, including in small towns with populations of under 100,000 – which had never seen a protest before.
So what could the “echo chamber” luvvies come up with now? After carefully deliberating and scraping the bottom of the barrel, it was decided that the hardliners and the IRGC were organizing these protests against their beloved Rouhani and the “moderates” of Iran. Hence, international public opinion should not support the protests!
The problem with these “experts,” academics and think-tank analysts is that they fail to do basic factual research. They fail to listen to the chants of the protesters. It is as if it were beneath them to listen to the protesters’ chants.
In all of the videos that came out of Iran during the recent protest wave, there was not one chant in favor of hardliners, not one chant in favor of softliners, not one chant in favour of the IRGC, and not one chant in favor of the Green Movement leaders who are currently under house arrest, and who in 2009 told the 2 million people out on the streets to go back home.
This time, the chants were against the entire Islamic Republic establishment, and they were aimed unequivocally at the clerics. No fair-minded observer can fail to see the level of hatred that there is among Iranians towards the clerics who have ruined Iran since they seized power in 1979.
The chants were loud and clear: “We dont want an Islamic Republic,” “We dont want to be ruled by the clerics.” There was also a significant yearning for pre-1979 Iran. Chants of “Reza Shah, Bless Your Soul” were vociferously shouted in Qom. People were chanting in praise of Reza Shah, the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty, the modernizer of Iran, who curtailed the power of the clerics and drove them back into their mosques. And the chants were taking place in the holy city of Qom, the very bedrock of the ruling Shia clergy, where the seminary schools produced the clerics currently in power, and where the 1979 revolution started from!
One wonders what the Iranian people must do and how they must protest for the media luvvies to give up their false postulations and accept that the Iranian people no longer wish to be ruled by clerics and no longer wish to live in an Islamic Republic.