The New Media Journal
December 5, 2009
As Iranian demonstrators are quietly gearing up for the next uprising and as the regime is nervously and secretly devising strategies and scare tactics to keep demonstrations under control for the upcoming December 7th, the color Green manifests itself in various forms by various groups to signify their cause.
Green was the color chosen by Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi during the 2009 presidential elections. However the “Green Movement” refers to uprisings which have been taking place since June 12th elections in Iran.
In part, the Green Movement was conceived after hundreds of thousands of supporters of Mr. Mousavi took to the streets to protest their votes. Demonstrations were met with a brutal crackdown and Khamenei, instead of deferring to the demands of the people, resorted to violence, giving birth to the Real Green Movement of Iran.
True that there might have been strong initial support for Mousavi and his Green campaign. But seizing the opportunity, the campaign quickly transformed itself to the real aspirations of the Iranian people and can no longer be considered as an expression of support for Mr. Mousavi. Mousavi’s Green officially came to an end when he formed a new social front called the “the Green Path of Hope.” Several Mousavi sympathizers have been trying to resurrect the Mousavi Green, but it seems that it has lost traction among the Iranians.
Notwithstanding, there are still many shades of Green lurking inside and outside of Iran, but can be categorized into three:
1) There are those (so-called Greens) who advocate a theocratic political system, and do not want to see the current "regime" overthrown, but "reformed" through peaceful means and by using the current system's constitution to effect change. Last thing people like Moussavi, Karuubi, and Khatami, who are deeply loyal to the ideals of Khomeini and were themselves leaders of the 1979 revolution that resulted in the creation of the current political system, want is for the system to collapse. They think that the current system, specifically the current constitution, has enough tools in it to allow the system to reform itself. In their view, power needs to be transferred to the people gradually. What should be noted here is that the so-called Green leaders are concerned with correcting the wrong direction the revolution has taken.
There's good reason for the so-called Green leaders to seek a gradual transformation of power. The fact is, they, at one time or another, have taken part in brutal repression of the Iranian people themselves and are worried that their own criminal activities will be exposed once the regime is toppled. As the people who helped shape the current constitution, the so-called Greens fully believe in Islamic republic and are fully aware that Islamic republic has intentional safeguards to prevent any meaningful reform and return to democratic rule.
A question for Iranians to ponder is whether real reform can take place by the so-called Green leaders. To answer it, a critical examination of Mr. Mousavi’s background is a must. Even if Mousavi had come into office following the June 12 presidential election, he would not have challenged the political order. Like other reformist, Mr. Khatami, he would have tried to fix the Islamic republic's internal and external crises through slight policy tweaks. Mousavi's rivalry with Ahmadinejad has more to do with internal power struggles and economic policy. No Iranian president could fundamentally change Iran's position on nuclear policy or its regional role because it is fully understood that foreign-policy decisions fall to Iran's supreme leader. Furthermore, Mr. Mousavi advocates “the full execution of the constitution and a return to the Islamic Republic's original ethics (Khomeinism). He demands “Islamic republic, not a word less; not a word more." Some of Mr. Khomeini’s “original ethics might be useful here: [T]hose who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under [God's law]. Khomeini: Islam Is Not a Religion of Pacifists (1942)Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! … Islam says: Kill them, put them to the sword. People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! Khomeini: Islam Is Not a Religion of Pacifists (1942)
Those who have blindly joined the so-called Green are strongly advised to examine Mousavi’s past before they jump on his band wagon, otherwise they will be greatly disappointed as many 1979 demonstrators have been after witnessing 30 years of broken promises.
2. There are Iran’s Pro democracy Movement (Real Greens) that completely oppose the totality of the Islamic republic and a theocratic regime. For them, the idea of "the Islamic Republic" is repulsive, and they advocate nothing short of total eradication of the Islamic republic. They believe that Islamic republic cannot be reformed and regime change is the only viable option. A significant characteristic of the Real Green Movement is that it does not have any specific leader. Its leaders are men and women on the streets. The alternative that these groups propose is quite diverse, and includes the monarchists, leftists, socialists, plus some religious and minority groups. There is no consensus amongst these groups on how they think the regime should fall and what form the new government should take. Some advocate a bloody revolution and mass uprisings while others see it through non-violent means.
3) Finally, there are those who believe in a true Islamic (Caliphate) state, and return to 7th century pure Islamic principles. Ahmadinejad and Khamenei belong to this shade of Green. Despite the fact that Amnesty International has ranked Iran second to China in human rights violations, they constantly brag about the liberties bestowed to Iranian women under the banner of the Shariia law, and hope for exporting their system of theocracy to other countries. The color green is deceptively used by the Islamic Republic’s Ministry of Intelligence and plain clothes Basij militia not as a separate movement but to infiltrate demonstrators in order to identify and arrest its leaders, subvert the movement and prevent it from gaining strength.
Since June 12th, the political leaders in Iran for a variety of reasons have belonged to either of the three opposition groups at one time or another and have switched sides to suit their purpose.
Today's demonstrations, the people who come to the streets are Iranian youths, university students, women, human rights and political activists who form 70% of the Iranian population and are desirous of a free, independent and secular Iran. They are conscious of failures of past reforms and do not believe that Islamic republic under a supreme leadership that controls both the Islamic and national law can be reformed. The Real Green movement is fueled by the desire for democracy, human rights and secularism, all absent in Iran current constitution. This is why both Ahmadinejad and Mousavi who pretend to lead their respective greens fear the success of the Real Green Movement.
A true democracy and reform cannot be realistically achieved under the Islamic republic banner and by those who give pretense of reform and see Khomeini as the ultimate revolutionary and source of aspiration. It seems that the Islamic regime has entered a phase that whatever tactics it adopts and whatever shade it puts on, it only brings its demise closer. This is the beginning of the end of one of the most brutal, heinous regimes of the 21th century. No doubt its demise will have far-reaching effect on the Middle East and political Islam.