When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Ideas

Why The Fate Of Iran (Like Ukraine!) Is About Something Much Bigger

Just as Ukrainians are defending the sovereignty of Europe's borders and the right to democracy, the Iranians risking their lives to protest are fighting a bigger battle for peace across the Middle East.

Photo of members of the Iranian paramilitary volunteer forces (Basij)

Members of Iranian paramilitary volunteer forces (Basij) during a meeting with Iranian Supreme leader

Kayhan-London

-OpEd-

Tumult has been a constant in human societies, alternating between periods of war and peace. Iran, my country, has had more than its fair share of turmoil.

It is universal to be hopeful that the peaceful periods would be prolonged by increased freedom in society brought about by scientific, economic and legal progress.

And it has, but mostly in the West and in countries in south-east Asia. There, they have used the force of economic development to assure their citizens a measure of peace and security, with or without democracy. This certainly is not the case in the Middle East, in many African countries and even in Latin American states run by the "anti-imperialist" Left.

Many of these places have, among other troubles affecting them, become the den of that violent and vicious ideology, Islamism.


It's no accident that officials of the Islamic Republic are discreetly looking for a hideaway and refuge for themselves in socialist-run Venezuela.

Iranians battle against tyranny

Islamism — a radical political agenda that seeks legitimacy in religion — is the tumor of the Middle East. It began to grow in the mid-20th century and has expanded almost unchecked, spreading its hatred of Western liberalism with all the propaganda tools of the modern world. Not confining itself to that cursed region, its metastasis has taken the form of intimidation inside Western societies and worldwide terrorism.

The Islamic Republic that came to power in Iran in 1979 is its epicenter. The apparent variants of the fundamentalist ideology are only masks for a single hatred of freedom and the urge to subjugate.

Iran's regime has used the nation's resources over four decades to strengthen and promote radicalism, though naturally, thanks to freedom, Western states were better able to fight its influence than the downtrodden societies of the Middle East.

The end of that regime may yet help to usher in another one of those peaceful periods.

After the September 11 attacks, the United States and Europe blocked the Islamist inroad, but only into their own lands. The Middle East continues to heave under the weight of the oppression of Islamism, even as its tentacles reach far beyond the region.

Just as many Europeans will see Ukraine's resistance as a defensive war on their behalf, so the world must see the resolve of Iranians to free themselves from tyranny as a similar battle on behalf of regional and international peace. The end of that regime may yet help to usher in another one of those peaceful periods.


You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

LGBTQ Plus

Mayan And Out! Living Proudly As An Indigenous Gay Man

Being gay and indigenous can mean facing double discrimination, including from within the communities they belong to. But LGBTQ+ indigenous people in Guatemala are liberating their sexuality and reclaiming their cultural heritage.

Photo of the March of Dignity in Guatemala

The March of Dignity in Guatemala

Teresa Son and Emma Gómez

CANTEL — Enrique Salanic and Arcadio Salanic are two K'iché Mayan gay men from this western Guatemalan city

Fire is a powerful symbol for them. Associated with the sons and daughters of Tohil, the god who bestows fire in Mayan culture, it becomes the mirror and the passage that allows them to see and express their sexuality. It is a portal that connects people with their grandmothers and grandfathers, the cosmos and the energies that the earth transmits.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest