|The Early Days of a Better Nation|
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Just two comments for the moment. In yesterday's Guardian, Jonathan Freedland writes on Israeli official reactions to the revolution:
They recall that the Tehran crowds which won western hearts 31 years ago also looked secular and modern – only to be rapidly displaced by a dictatorship of the ayatollahs.The Tehran crowds of 1979 did not look secular and modern - the streets were a sea of black chadors - and almost the only western hearts they won were those of people on the left who were assured by their Iranian comrades - godless and feminist to a man and woman - that what looked like a movement to put the ayatollahs in power was really something quite different underneath. This was true to an extent. But:
In the period leading up to the February insurrection, the left as an independent tendency within the mass movement did not exist. It simply merged with the Khomeini dominated movement, tail ending the reactionary leadership.Juan Cole gives a very clear analysis of why nothing like that is happening in Egypt today, or is at all likely to.
So, not another 1979. 1989? Yes, in the sense that the revolution reverberating across North Africa and the Middle East is a geopolitical earthquake - with the difference that the regimes under threat are more repressive, and more far strategic for the Western powers than the East European regimes were for the USSR. And yesterday's and today's terrible events are a grim reminder that these dictatorships are, for a multitude of reasons, far tougher to crack than the bureaucratic socialist shells that collapsed under the weight of the crowds in 1989.