We received a comment by Kian Zeytani, an Iranian-rooted free journalist based in Berlin and involved in different solidarity-networks since 2009. He takes a glance on the reactions to the killing of Iranian top-tier general Qassem Soleimani by the US and the current threats of war dominating global headlines.
It’s this time of the year again, where Iran is dominating global headlines – but for the wrong reasons. No, it‘s not about the fact, that during last heavy anti-Regime riots in November, the murderous Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has murdered 1500 people in a week (1) . It is about a US drone assassinating IRI‘s top-tier general Qassem Soleimani (2) at Baghdad International Airport in the beginning of our new year. With that, Trump-led US-government takes their turn in the heated escalation vicious circle with IRI; the Ayatollahs themselves do not hesitate to point their finger at the Greatest Satan of all time and to announce harsh consequences – since they, of course, are the poor victims here. Men in power, with several issues, but sadly with effective power buttons and resources, are taking their pathetic twitter battle to a level, where it actually can cost hundreds of thousands people who do not want anything to do with this their lives. A 101 in openly aggressive imperialist politics in our capitalist world.
As a lefty – no, as person with heart and brain, as someone who wants to break this abhorrent game of men in power to stay in power no matter what and literally walking over millions bodies for that – you are suddenly trapped between maniacs all over. Specifically, when it is about USA vs. Iran. In one corner, you have the „Lefties“, whose so called anti-imperialism has gone terribly wrong and who start glorifying Soleimani – a reactionary fundamentalist, a ruthless and vicious man in charge of many murders and a person providing so many reason to be hated – as the fallen martyr in the anti-imperialist cause against the US. No wonder, since Iran is a romanticized homogeneous entity to them with the only good purpose being against the US. They don’t really care for reality in Iran and – in the best case – shut their mouth about the freedom-movement by the Iranian people, because their fragile and outdated world-image of West vs. East is challenged by the first glimpse into reality and the numerous and complex contradictions that exist. Those people, in their permanent urge to reduce every question in the world to condemn the USA, become supporter of the IRI and leave no space, not even for thin paper, between them and the state-propaganda by the Islamic dictatorship. Well done, congratulations, you are disgrace to the Left.
The other corner is not better at all. It consists of people of whatever political attitude (most of the times, they don’t know themselves), but also so called Lefties and self-proclaimed left-liberals or “human rights activists”, who cannot go beyond the thought construct “IRI is bad, killing IRI is good, hail the killers and make them kill more”. The ones who are worth discussing with, are some expressive Iranians on social media who follow and report on the struggle in Iran and who have every right to hate the IRI – for example for biographical reason, because they or their families have been split apart and/or killed by IRI. When it is about getting info on what is going on in Iran, those people can be valuable and reliable sources. But when it comes to bigger political context, their masks come off. Sometimes, I envy those people, because their world-image and therefore their mind must be so easy. They want Trump, of all people Trump – a reactionary fundamentalist, a ruthless and vicious man in charge of many murders and a person providing so many reason to be hated – to invade Iran and – swoosh! Abracadabra! – we have free democracy in Iran, combined with a prosperous culture, economy and social stability and no contradictions at all. They have the magical gift to neglect the last decades of US- “interventionist policy” in the Middle East and the idea of bringing democracy by Air Force One and their disastrous consequences: millions dead, even more injured and crippled, traumatized and/or seeking refuge together and the production of some absolutely failed states. They are believers of the “human rights imperialism” and are proof, that war propaganda in the 21st century is working just fine. But let me re-assure you: those people are not representative for Iranians, even if they do everything they can to appear so (it looks quite forced and not authentic when they start every tweet with “As an Iranian I say”). Sure, people in Iran are so desperate they want the IRI go by any means necessary. But they also notice what happened in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and many other countries around them. Their do-alikes in this corner not even discussing are the mostly white liberals, who do not care about Iran but in times like these suddenly start blabbering about missing “gay rights” and “women rights” as a reason to finally, finally see those bombs destroying Tehran and their wet dreams come true. They summon Soleimani as the worst terrorist of all time, worse than Bin Laden, Saddam Hussain, Gaddafi and Darth Vader combined – but probably 90% had to google him in the first place.
What I see beyond this circle of madness and what I don’t see is this: I see two imperialists powers with big domestic problems challenged by their own people – #impeachment and #IranProtests – being able to distract from those issues and depict themselves as both, victims and strong actor. For the case of Iran, on which I have more expertise than the US, I see state-declared three days of mourning and massive nationalist mobilizations for the murderer Soleimani – and killing off the momentum of powerful, massive and radical freedom-movement against the regime. This insurrectional movement (3) (4) (5) was slowly but surely cutting one of the most important things for the highly ideological IRI: their legitimacy. Now, IRI is re-fueling this legitimacy by pointing to their life-long declared enemy down in the west. I even lost count how many times they did exactly that to distract from own problems, I just know that nearly every time it works. It nearly seems they regularly need the US to point at for their own survival.
What will happen now? No one can say, the situation is very dangerous and heated (6). Everyone is pretty sure, though, that the war-hungry faction of IRI will respond the war-hungry faction of the US government. Probably, they will take out skirmishes or worse in one of the countries they have made miserable, like Iraq or Lebanon or Yemen. They will be joined by other regional imperialists. Once again, ordinary and innocent people will take the consequences.
What can we do? Let’s not take their narrative but keep doing, what we do: when this episode hopefully loses some attention because no other disastrous actions are taken, let’s give those movements and protests against the powerful in the USA, in Iran and everywhere a voice, be in solidarity with them. They are the only ones who can end this misery without producing more failed states and more masses of people bombed into catastrophe. Because I want to see again what I don’t see at the moment, since everybody is busy having an opinion in this game of war and power: footage and information on the struggles and the movements against those in charge and for a better life.