Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Shah of Iran

“These are my memories at the University of Oklahoma…”: From another person recollection…

I wrote extensively in my autobiography on the city of Norman and the University of Oklahoma during two periods of higher education. And here I am reading “Reading Lolita in Tehran” and am taken aback that Iranian author Azar Nafisi also studied and lived many years there, and may have joined the same demonstrations that I participated in…

Azar started her studies in English literature early in the 1970’s, when the US students were demonstrating against the war in Vietnam.

I arrived in the summer of 1975, and the Vietnam war had ended, and the demonstrations were headed by the Iranian student movements against the Shah of Iran, and I had started my MS degree in Industrial engineering…

What follows is Nafisi’s recollection (and whatever comments I might butt in are in parenthesis).

“Red earth and fireflies, singing and demonstrating on South Oval lawn, reading Melville, Poe, Lenin and Mao, reading Ovid and Shakespeare on warm spring mornings, singing revolutionary songs…

(I read all of Lenin, Mao, and even the North KoreanKim Il Sung in Lebanon before I left to the USA. The civl war in Lebanon had just started. On several occasions, I had to rely on the Red Cross for news on my family safety status, and mails were dispatched via Paris where I had relatives…)

At night watching new films by Bergman, Fellini, Godard, and Pasolini… (I watched their movies in Beirut, and kept watching all the European movies on Friday evening, organized by the film student association, usually in the microbiology department by the main library. It is in one of these Fridays that I saw what I thought was the most beautiful girl in the wide world…)

One of my radical professor David singing on his guitar:

“Long-haired preachers come out every night

And they tell you what’s wrong and what’s right

And when you ask them for something to eat…

Work and pray, live on hay, you will get pie

In the sky when you die.

That’s a lie!”

Four of my favorite English professors were of different political leaning. Dr. Yoch was conservative, Dr. Gross was a revolutionary, and the two liberal Dr. Veile and Dr. Elconin.

Taking over the administration building, occasional streakers running across the green toward the redbrick main library…

The suffering ROTC students trying to ignore our presence, while we were protesting against the Vietnam war. (After 1975, our demonstrations were mainly against the Shah of Iran, since most of the radical students were Iranians of the two Marxist factions of Mujahideen Khalk and Fedayeen Khalk…)

Later, I would go to parties with my true love Ted, who introduced me to Nabokov, and gave me “Ada”, writing on the flyleaf “To Azar, my Ada”

I reluctantly joined the Iranian Students movement: I was more of a rebel than a politics activist, and I never fully integrated into the movement…

In the Univ. of Oklahoma at Norman, the Iranian movement was a chapter of the World Confederation of Iranian Students. The militant branch of the Revolutionary Communist Party RSB and the Third World Committee Against Imperialism were created later on.

The Marxist elements in the movement came to dominate the group and the male members wore Che Guevara sports jackets and boots. The women cropped their hair short, no makeup, and wore Mao jackets and khaki pants… I insisted on wearing long dresses, I didn’t cut my hair, and loved reading “counterrevolutionary” authors such as TS Eliot, Austen, Plath, Fitzgerald, Nabovov…and occasionally delivered speeches in rallies.

The Iranian students held study groups, reading Engels‘s “Origin of the family, Private Properties, and the State“, and Marx’s “The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte”.

The mood was revolutionary and the romantic atmosphere infectious, and the Iranian students were at the forefront of the struggle…(Eventually bringing Ayatollah Khomeini to power, who ultimately instituted a theocratic system… I was there as a few secular and radical factions supported the return of Khomeini, and I attended a few of their meetings)

In the fall of 1977, I got married with Bijan Nadiri, whom I met 2 years earlier at a meeting at Berkeley.

I felt nostalgic about places in Iran and famiyl, but the meetings mostly tried to reconstruct another Iran.

The movement started discouraging alcoholic beverages, dancing or playing “decadent” music during Iranian celebrations: They wanted us to avoid the “bourgeois” habits of studying

The most radical faction “The Confederation of Iranian Students” convened a conference in Oklahoma City. One of the members, a former running champion, was suspected of being a SAVAK agent (the Shah’s secret services).  This suspect war lured into a room at the Holiday Inn and tortured to “extract” the truth… He manged to escape.

The next day, several FBI agents barged into the conference. As the suspect reached the “culprit” or the leader, he broke down and cried and asked in Persian “Why did you treat me so cruelly?”, but he refrained to expose his tormentors, and left with the FBI agents.

The news were reported in the Univ. “Oklahoma Daily” and there were heated discussions engaged in coffee shops and the Student Union…Many boasted of the “power of the masses“. Many others quoted Stalin on the need to “destroy once and for all the Trotskyites, the White Guards, the termites, and poisonous rats…” Many defended the right of the masses to torture and physically eliminate their oppressors…

Azar warned: “Be careful what you wish for. The Islamic revolution will answer the wishes of the radical students and destroy the left-leaning and westernized citizens…Could my former comrades have predicted that one day they would be tried in a revolutionary Islamic court? Tortured, humiliated, put in jail, and executed as traitors and spies? They could not have predicted these outcomes, Not in their wildest dreams…”

I wanted to do comparative study of the American literature of the 20’s and 30’s.  I thought Fitzgerald represented the 20’s generations, but I had difficulty selecting a counterpoint in the 30’s, like Steinbeck, Farrell or Dos Passos..

And here I come across the real proletarians, whose spirit was best captured by Mike Gold, the radical editor of the popular literary journal “New Masses“. Gold was a big shot in his day: Even Hemingway took notice. Gold had called Thornton Wilder “the Emily Post of culture

The veto power States in the UN (US, Russia, China, France, and England) have agreed on a set of “punishing” program toward the regime in Iran.  We all thought that the latest nuclear treaty that Turkey and Brasil managed to pull off with Iran satisfied the veto power States, especially, that it is the US that asked De Silva of Brasil to undertake the lasted round of this successful negotiations.  So what happened? What’s going so terribly wrong in Iran, besides developing nuclear plants and a nuclear program for civilian usage?  Does Iran has schemes far worse than producing an atomic bomb that India, Israel, Pakistan, South Africa, and North Korea already own?  Why France and the US that encouraged and aided the Shah of Iran for developing nuclear capabilities are no longer that happy?  Actually, Iran is demanding France to re-imburse the billions that it cashed in advance for the nuclear power plant that it didn’t finish during the Shah’s period.

We are very worried.  If the veto power States, which failed in restoring world peace in the last 60 years, have serious intelligence that are very dangerous to world peace then, we demand from this secret Club of the Dirty Five to come clean and and open up to the general public; we want transparency; we are grown up and we get upset when this secret club treats us like idiots.

We know that this “Club of the Dirty Five” does not dry its dirty wash in open air and resolves problems among themselves at the expense of the other members of the UN ,but if this is that serious then we demand to know “What happened?”  This “Club of the Dirty Five” made the third world States and people pay exhorbitant prices everytime they disagree as a club and especially, when they agree as a club:  everytime the “Club of the Dirty Five” meets all the world tremble for coming calamities.  It appears that the “Club of the Dirty Five” is very apprehensive of emerging power States that demand to be counted and recognized such as Japan, India, Brasil, Turkey, Iran, South Korea, Indonesia, South Africa…

We all got it that oil should not be used as a strategic weapon, except by the “Club of the Dirty Five”.  We all got it that oil production (with the exception of refined oil) should be treated as a commodity on the world market.  But why the Middle East has to be paying the price and be destabilized at every corner and every period, even when oil is being distributed without hindrance around the world and at low prices, very low prices?

Iran and Syria:  A difficult 30 years alliance; (Apr. 20, 2010)

            Almost every day, news media analyze the alliance between Syria and Iran.  Since the Iranian nuclear program was launched, the western media and the so-called “moderate” Sunni Arab dictators and monarchs’ media would like to witness any kinds of rift in the alliance, sort of an illusion made to sound a reality anytime soon: they would also like to relieve Israel of a “psychological” nuisance that Islamic countries can also own nuclear capability if they set their mind to it. 

            Actually, there are no lack of brain power and money for Egypt, Syria, or Saudi Arabia to fulfill this project if the Arab League was up to its name.  The USA and Europe are actively working to destabilizing Iran and threatening harsher economical embargo so that Iran desist “manipulating” the dangerous products, even for civilian use such as hospital and generating electricity.  So far, Iran is within the boundaries of Atomic Energy Agency guidelines; that is why the UN is unable to threaten strong arm interventions.

            Syria’s Baath Party tried to re-unite with Iraq’s Baath branch and then have strategic alliance between the two States in 1979 but Saddam Hussein foiled the attempt of Syria Hafez Assad.  Iran of the Shah was the strongest ally to the US and Israel; Saddam Hussein went along with the Shah’s policies in partitioning the water passageway (Shat al Arab) and the Kurdistan problems.  When Khomeini revolution succeeded then Syria allied with the new Islamic regime and still is, even during the devastating 8 years war between Iraq and Iran.

            In the Near East (for example, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Syria), Iran needs the alliance with Syria more than any other States because Syria can put the squeeze on the US and Israel if conditions deteriorates.  In global politics, especially securing veto powers of China and Russia in the UN, Syria badly need the heavy weight of Iran to circumvent any economical embargoes or blockades on Syria and also for securing military credits and hardware.  In the last two decades, Syria wooed Turkey and managed to establish one of the closest alliances in the region.  As long as Turkey lacks the requisite caliber to weight on Russia and China in the UN as Iran can, then Syria has no option but to put more eggs in Iran’s basket.

            Syria has assimilated the idiom: “Never put all your eggs in one basket” and is not about to change this strategic policy. This article focuses on the deal between Iran and Syria on Lebanon. Iran grasped early on that the fundamental strategy of Syria is: “Syria military strategy is one with Lebanon”.  Thus, Hezbollah may resume its political leaning toward Iran but in no situation should Hezbollah undertake any military activities without prior consent of Syria and complete coordination with Syria.  The other deal is that the other Chiaa political faction of AMAL should share equally, if not a bit more than Hezbollah, in the parliament, government, municipality, and civil administrations. AMAL is headed by Nabih Berry, over 30 years as head of the Lebanese Parliament, and was created by late Iranian Imam Moussa Sadr in 1972 who was assassinated in Libya in 1983. AMAL is the main political party totally at the beck of Syria instructions; thus, when any Lebanese file or problem is turned exclusively to Nabih Berry for consideration then it means that the resolution is in the hands of Syria.

            Currently, the most urgent demand of Syria on Lebanon’s government is to let go of the International Court investigating the assassination of late Rafic Harri PM in 2005. Syria knows that this Court was created as a political weapon by the US to pressure Syria into political concessions. After 5 years of heavy political pressures on Syria, now the Court is turning the weapon on Hezbollah.  Syria knows that targeting Hezbollah is implicitly targeting Syria. The international political usage of this Court has to end and very soon or Lebanon will suffer great instability if Saad Hariri PM keeps his uncertain position and refuses to step down.  Most probably, another Prime Minister ready to bring the International Court to Lebanon’s jurisdiction would be selected. Fact is, France declined to resume financing the Court; a signal that France no longer sees any benefit of the Court to its current policies in the Near East.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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