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Ideas

Iran's Tale Of Two Revolutions, 1979 & 2022 — And What To Look For Now

The revolt in Iran began in protest of police brutality and the Islamic Republic's rotten structures, but quickly became a "revolution of minds," hastening the rise of a national community united in its resolve to live in a free and lawful state.

photo of woman holding up hand that says 'help'

The movement is not abating

Onur Dogman/SOPA Images via ZUMA
Elahe Boghrat

-OpEd-

The revolutionary uprising of Iranians against the clerical regime of the Islamic Republic did not end with the last days of 2022.

Two of the movement's defining traits have been its nature and essence, as shown in protesters' slogans and initiatives, as well as the support of the international community — something the world, watching protesters' courage and resilience, couldn't refuse.

But one of the demands made by the Iranian defenders of democracy still hasn't received meaningful support from Western governments: their call to investigate the residency rights given to families of Islamic Republic officials in Western countries.


Some Democratic and Republican legislators in the U.S. have echoed this call. Taking action on this would confront not just the regime in general, but the individuals who make it work, by sanctioning their loved ones. These loved ones belong to parents and families who have no qualms about shooting and hanging the beloved children, spouses and parents of other Iranians, all in a bid to hold onto power at all costs.

This initiative could become a precedent not just for Islamic Iran, but for other dictatorial countries — sending a message that those who kill and maim cannot expect to find refuge or protect their families in a democratic country. The more these figures in the regime pressure Iranians today, the more pressures they will face in time, both in Iran and abroad.

The Iran revolt is built on unity

The other point of historical significance is the revolt's essential gravitation toward unity. Those who focus on identity politics and insist on dividing societies based on sectoral, political, gender or social demands — or into antagonistic groups — and whose divisiveness has even begun to shake Western societies, have been extending their zeal for labels to the Iranian revolt.

They forget that in open and democratic societies, sectoral demands are either already met or will be met, through the legal guarantees given to individuals as citizens. Human societies naturally tend toward unity, or at least convergence, and that is certainly the case with Iran, whose society needn't be divided into men and women, Kurds, Azeris and Persians, or religious and secular. Labels harm the social unity that ultimately serves every member of society.

The Islamic Republic loves its labels — the better to divide and rule.

That makes this revolt also a rejection of state-sponsored segmentation and separatism. So while the revolution of 1979 fomented disunity and was left unfinished and untenable, the results of the revolution of 2022, will, like the fruits of the Enlightenment, prove lasting and irreversible.

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Geopolitics

The Trumpian Virus Undermining Democracy Is Now Spreading Through South America

Taking inspiration from events in the United States over the past four years, rejection of election results and established state institutions is on the rise in Latin America.

Two supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dressed in Brazilian flags during a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Bolsonaro supporters dressed in national colours with flags in a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on November 4, 2022.

Ivan Abreu / ZUMA
Carlos Ruckauf*

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — South Africa's Nelson Mandela used to say it was "so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build."

Intolerance toward those who think differently, even inside the same political space, is corroding the bases of representative democracy, which is the only system we know that allows us to live and grow in freedom, in spite of its flaws.

Recent events in South America and elsewhere are precisely alerting us to that danger. The most explosive example was in Brazil, where a crowd of thousands managed to storm key institutional premises like the presidential palace, parliament and the Supreme Court.

In Peru, the country's Marxist (now former) president, Pedro Castillo, sought to use the armed and security forces to shut down parliament and halt the Supreme Court and state prosecutors from investigating corruption allegations against him.

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