December 14, 2009

Ayatollah’s Dilemma

It was almost 10 years ago, 1999, in which I was admitted to university. Ayatollah appeared almost frustrated on TV; his fans even more depressed, crying as though they had no other option. Sobbingly speaking, he said, “even if they burn my picture or tear it down, you should keep silent.” And the crowd burst into tears, frantically.

It certainly was a great development. The previously perceived sacredness seemed defenseless, at least temporarily. Whatever the reasons, Supreme Leader decided not to confront people’s angriness which demonstrated itself in publicly disrespecting him.

Perhaps Ayatollah used to think that his tolerance could work as a safety tube, sort of a painkiller that could help relieve some pain and calm down angry demonstrators. He was right in making sense of the role played by those kinds of acts. However, he certainly was not much familiar with Golden Rule of medicines: that painkillers can work no more than a limited period; and if the real cause is not to be cured, the patient shall need a stronger painkiller.

10 years later, 2009. In demonstrations of Student Day, some people burnt a picture of Ayatollah Khomeini, late founder of Islamic Republic. The scene was aired several times on national TV. Many religious lecturers around the nation decried the event. Many demonstrations were arranged in which scores of people demanded heavy-handed response to the perpetrators. Interesting enough was that a poster of Ayatollah Khamenei was also torn down in those demonstrations and its captured scenes were aired along with those of Ayatollah Khomeini. And almost nobody paid a special attention to that. Publicly disrespecting the Supreme Leader had lost its effect, kind of a dead painkiller.

One might argue that IRI strategists are far away from realizing the current world, the age of information, in which basing a political system on sacredness no longer works. Some others might speak of Ayatollah’s dilemma; that neither forgiving the offense nor cracking it down can do him a favor. In my turn to speak, I just silently wonder what the painkiller of 2019 might be.