The ten days leading to the dawn of the Islamic Revolution in Iran are commmemorated each year. The period begins with the return of Imam Khomeini to Iran after years of exile in Iraq and later in France. From the day he came back events gained momentum until ten days later the Shah's apparatus collapsed and the monarcy practically fell apart. The Revolution was not a violent or armed struggle, on the contrary ,it came naturally through the will power and resilience of the nation. The Iranians stood up united against oppression and tyranny. In millions, they marched and chanted slogans demonstrating the strength of the masses when they move united and faithful. I can never forget those majestic scenes of collective strength and heroic resistance.
They called for independence , freedom and an Islamic Republic. Their message was sometimes improperly conveyed and misunderstood by an outer world overshadowed by the cold war era. On the other side, an idealistic approach and biased support for the Revolution from within did not allow for an objective assessment of the events. As time passes, we can see things in a more realistic light today. Can we learn from the gains and the losses of this important trial of Islam and democracy ?
Twenty-nine years later Iran has passed the test of time, pressures and sanctions. It is today a major player in regional development , a reliable partner in trade and investment and a sucessful example for developing countries particularly on indicators of human development.
That, not implying that we do not face challenges and unfinished work ahead. In fact, in spite of the great strides, Iran still has a long way ahead. The experiment of creating a religious democracy is one of the kind. Today 29 years later, the aspirations of the people should not be overlooked nor should one objective overshadow the others. The slogan Freedom ,Independence and Islamic Republic cannot be minimalized today. Freedom cannot be sacrificed for independence, and vice versa. Also democracy and Islam are delicately interwined in a sophisticated political system. Today there is a concern that certain factons may see their success in the weakness of democracy and the democratic process in Iran. The reformist discourse is still at the core of the debate.
The Dawn has arrived but there is still a long tedious day ahead of us . There is no going back, we need to move ahead.