Who's afraid of another velvet revolution? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-25-2006, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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Who's afraid of another velvet revolution?

Velvet Revolution in Iran?

Martin Beck Matušt*k

November 17 marks seventeen years since the Czech Civic Forum and the Slovak Public against Violence choreographed the demise of one of the last Soviet-orbit regimes. In kind, there are three anniversaries coming up in 2007—the centennial of Jan Pato?ka's birth; thirty years since his death; and the thirtieth anniversary of “Charta 77.” That bold Czechoslovak Manifesto for human rights issued in January 1977 by Václav Havel, Jan Pato?ka, and Ji?* Hájek, Charta 77 paved the way to the events of the “Velvet Revolution” of November 17, 1989. Pato?ka’s birth and his Socratic death (in March 1977, he suffered brain hemorrhaging during his interrogation at the hands of the Czech secret service and was left untreated at the police station) will be commemorated in Prague 22-28 April 2007.[i]

“A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of Communism,” famously wrote Marx in the Communist Manifesto of 1848. “A specter is haunting Eastern Europe: the specter of what in the West is called ‘dissent’,” said Václav Havel in 1978 in “The Power of the Powerless.” Jacques Derrida prophesied in his 1994 Specters of Marx about “a spectrology of Marx” that continues to haunt us even after the fall of the Soviet empire in 1989.

Indeed the specter of “velvet revolution” continues to haunt, perhaps nowhere so much as in the Islamic Republic of Iran of today.


Not unlike the Czech philosopher-dissident Pato?ka, the Iranian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo is an intellectual in deep trouble with the ruling regime. And just like Havel in pre-1989 Czechoslovakia, Jahanbegloo has become part of a democratic, nonviolent movement of the Iranian powerless. On April 27, 2006, the Iranian philosopher was detained at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport, and shortly after was accused of actively preparing to take part in a “velvet revolution” in Iran. This polyglot thinker did his Ph.D. at the Sorbonne while Western Marxism was demanding the impossible, but elected to write his doctoral dissertation on Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolent change, Satyagraha. Jahanbegloo continued to espouse nonviolence after returning from the West to his homeland. The question of violence looms large in Iran, whose regime was born of the convulsions of 1979. The Iranian Revolution contained several currents of thought—it included Marxist anti-imperialists and Third-Worldists as well as liberal-democratic nationalists and feminists. Yet in the end it was overtaken by the anti-modernist Islamists, and so became a conservative-clerical revolution rather than a democratic one. On one of his many trips to India, Jahanbegloo met with the Dalai Lama, who in turn has made frequent visits to Prague to meet with Havel since 1989. All such links reinforce suspicion among Iran’s clerical rulers that “the velvet revolution” is at hand.

Rasool Nafisi has suggested that the main reason for Jahanbegloo’s arrest was his research project for the German Marshall Fund in which he compared the Iran’s democratic dissidents with their East-Central European predecessors.[ii] This line of comparative inquiry analyzed the balance of political power between Iranian civil society and the governing clerical regime. While Jahanbegloo sat in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, eminent international figures—among them Havel and Habermas—sent an Open Letter to Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad protesting the philosopher’s detention. The Iranian minister of the interior, Hojjatoleslam Qolamhoseyn Mosheni Eyhe’I, said in a July interview that Jahanbegloo was arrested on suspicion that he had been assisting the US to provoke “a velvet revolution in Iran,” an activity that, according to him, seems to be the US’s main business these days. The irony, of course, being that nonviolence has not exactly been the modus operandi of US foreign policy strategy: that the empire should be accused of fomenting nonviolence is rich in paradox.

Meanwhile, the reaction of Tehran’s clerical regime to this Iranian dissident was as if taken out of the (secular) Soviet cook book. The state-run press, Kayhan and Resalat, and the student agency, Isna, proclaimed the good news of Ramin’s video “confession” in which he uttered mea culpa for his sins: he was to be used by foreign agents (the CIA and Mossad) in order to act against the regime which was once called by the head of the Assembly of Experts, Ayatollah Ali Meshkini, “the most divine and heavenly” in the world. The confession was at first observed by the Revolutionary Cultural Committee, whose members are appointed by Iran’s supreme religious leader, (today Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, before him the inventor of the clerical regime, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei) and whose task it is to supervise the ideological correctness of all cultural and educational programs in the land. Just as during the Soviet-era witch hunts on domestic spies and Zionists, or during the Joseph McCarthy-era witch hunts of Communists in every closet, so also in Iran today, Ramin Jahanbegloo is far from alone in being compelled to “confess” to appease the regime. Such confessions have been prepared for a televised public propaganda.[iii] Just as in the Soviet bloc, so also in Iran assassinations and torture are gradually being replaced by “softer” methods of psychological and economic repression. The Iranian regime uses now more varied threats to keep would-be dissidents in line: threats of financial reprisals, loss of home or medical care, forced exile, or repeated arrest. When Jahanbegloo was released on August 30 of this year, he was given a valid passport, but he had to place as bail both his house and the house of his mother as a guarantee that he would not speak about the tortured origin of his confession or otherwise against the regime.

More at: http://www.logosjournal.com/issue_5.3/matustik.htm
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-25-2006, 08:52 AM
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This guy is ready!

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-25-2006, 10:58 AM
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Oh deer.
This topic makes me horny.

Really, Bot. You gotta be making these names up.
Rasool Nafisi.... Jahanbegloo???
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-25-2006, 08:43 PM
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Then may I suggest the purchase of one of our Chrisian Love Prayer Cloths? They are velvet and the application process of our male enhancement product requires you to have coitus with them, and will result in you having a cock that would choke a Triceratops. Please see our thread on the Creation Museum for further information on this wonderful FTL product.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-25-2006, 10:26 PM
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The people of the former Czechoslowakia always had the kind of indomitable spirit that could not be suppressed. It was not as grim as the former East Germany. In the old days, I have driven across the German/Czech border a number of times. The lenghts of what a regime will go to, to keep the people from leaving had to be seen to be believed. Truly scary. Those were the days when through acquaintances in Karlovi Vary or Prague I cold illegally exchange German marks for 13-14 Czech crowns, and many Germans like my Father would take the waters of the former Karlsbad. Prague is one of Europes great cities.
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