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Friday, August 21, 2009

Fed up with Iran

I am feeling very disillusioned right now. Iran has been getting a lot of press coverage in recent months with the general election and the events following the resutls and frankly I'm getting more and more fed-up with the stories that keep coming out. As one of only two Shia-majority and Shia-governed countries (I am not yet counting Iraq as a third), the values and ideals that the country represents does not go along with the values and ideals of Islam and more specifically Shia Islam.

Let's start with the general election and work our way from there. The election saw a supposedly landslide victory for President Ahmedinajad for a second term. The polls before the voting all indicated it would be a close affair, but Ahmedinajad supposedly won large majorities in both urban and rural towns and even in the towns of his main rivals. It was approved by the Supreme leader Ayatullah Khameni within 24 hours and everyone was meant to accept it as halal.

Clearly this did not go down well with the voters leading to large protests and demonstrations, something which the government found unacceptable. The security forces under orders from the government, employed heavy handed tactics to try and quell the protests leading to the deaths of, officially, 30 people, but perhaps as much as 250 people unofficially. 100's were also arrested and several are currently under trial for crimes against the regime.

As the trials got underway, allegations emerged that the arrested had suffered torture, abuse and even rape whilst held in prison. Many people mysteriously disappeared, whilst others are currently being held without charge. All in all it has been a very messy few months for Iran and the Iranian government.

All this has added to my growing disillusionment about Iran and it's activities. It upsets me to think that this is what a Shia government can do. I am probably being incredibly naive, but I just don't understand why it appears to be so wrong. Ayatullahs are meant to be highly educated, highly spiritual and highly regarded as leading religious authorities, but having political power just seems to change all that. How else can you explain what is going on, the atrocities that are occurring in Iran?

This leads me to ask one big question. What would the 12th Imam do? Right now, if he were the supreme leader of Iran, would it be different, would it be more humane, more correct? The answer has to be yes. As the Imam of our time, as someone who is infallible and closest to God, surely he would lead in a completely different way.

Would the Imam allow heavy handed tactics to deal with protesters leading to their deaths? Would the Imam allow the alleged abuse of prisoners? Would the Imam allow potentially rigged elections? Again, perhaps in my naivety, I can only answer 'no' to all these questions. And yet, if I can see that with my lack of religious knowledge and authority, how can someone as grand as an Ayatullah supposedly not see that?

Perhaps I am mistaken in placing such a great deal of faith in our Ayatullahs, in fact the more I think about it the more certain I become that I am indeed mistaken. That doesn't come as a relief, but just serves to depress me even more. Can it only take a mausoom, an infallible man to make the right choices and decisions? Are us mere humans simply not up to the task? Is having power and control in a government really that corrupting? The more I think about these questions, the more I think that the answer is 'yes'.

This realisation is probably the most depressing, the most upsetting. The one main Shia governed country in this world is a big mess. I realise that I am being terribly simplistic about this all. Trying to criticise and comment on an Ayatullah when I don't have even 0.001% of his knowledge and faith is not the right starting point, but looking from the outside, these recent events just add to the growing disillusionment. What are we meant to do?

Finally, just to add more damage to the faith we may have in Ayatullahs, you may have read of a new ruling passed by a Shia Ayatullah in Afghanistan which permits men to deny basic maintenance towards their wives (i.e. food, clothes, housing etc) if they are denied their sexual demands. This ruling is basically allowing marital rape. If an Ayatullah can permit that then what is the world coming to?

Take care all,
Thoughts just flow, when do they have to make sense?

PS. Ramadhan mubarak to all!

1 comment:

Watford Man said...

Great blog. Important questions. But our community doesn't want to hear them. For too many Shias, being pro-Iran means being pro-Islam and vice versa. So many Shias I speak with are shocked to discover that countless ayatollahs are critical of the regime in Tehran. Not all ayatollahs think the same. But the broader point is this: power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.