Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Revisiting the Legacy of Imam Khomeini

I twitted on my Twitter this morning:Imam Khomeini's efforts to establish new model of governance/religious democracy were countered by reactionaries who see no role for people. This phrase marks the major challenges we face today in following the legacy of the Founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. From the very early days of the national awakening and uprising against the tyranny of the Shah, Imam Khomeini was approached by radical elemants to take up arms and to invite the people to engage in armed struggle against the monarchial  regime. Imam refrained and emphasized instead on the cultural nature of the revolution and invited people to resist through peaceful protests and strikes. This non violent approach was they key to the massive nationwide support for Imam. 

As opposed to a monarchial dictatorship based on subservience to the west , Imam called for a democratic state based on religious values. Reactionary elements pressed for an Islamic State, while Imam called for national consultations and for an Islamic Republic. These elements went so far as to ask Imam to establish the new state based on demonstrations staged for the Revolution, while Imam stressed on a nationwide referendum which was held in 1979.
In every stage reactionary elemants moved to weaken the democratic pillars of the Revolution , while Imam stood firmly to enact elections and bring people to the polls .He was determined to educate a nation deeply harmed by decades of tyranny and imperialist dominance. If it were not for the fierce and violent attacks of monarchists and radicals and if it were not for the continued active opposition of the west against the Revolution , and fear of  a repetition of history(the Coup of 1953), many observers believe Imam would have taken a less forceful stance against his opponents. Yet what happened later in many parts of the world, and during the Arabian spring or awakening, in countries like Egypt, proved that Imam's vigilance for those early years of the revolution was justified.
Even during the difficult years of war imposed by Saddam Hussein against Iran, Imam never allowed any cancellation of elections or polls .
Along side this democratic approach, Imam also strongly advocated transparency, accountability and an ethical demeanour for Muslim politicians and those wielding power. "The egoistic and selfish drives are the greater enemy" his stressed in most addresses that he made.  The paradigm that Imam envisaged a bold role for women in social and political affairs. Women were never considered as second hand citizens by Imam, but a new pardigm for  women's advancement was enacted in Iran. 
During the 3.5 decades that have elapsed Iran has faced many challenges both external and internal, the Islamic Republic has met expectations in some areas and at some times, at others however there are still  serious issues which need to be addressed. We need to reassess and revisit our actions to ensure that we are still on the right path.
Today an active reactionary campaign is underway to distort and smear the thoughts and ideas of Imam, they are those who have followed their personal or party  agenda these years and have no regard for God or for the nation.

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