Just as orange became the color of revolution in the Ukraine during their “Orange Revolution” of 2004-2005, the color of green has become the predominant color of protest in Iran over the last few weeks. I’m not saying that Green Day had anything to do with this to promote their new tour… but… well… it’s just a coincidence, yes?
Five days ago, the Iranian people went to their voting booths in order to elect a new president. The battle for the presidency came down to two government-approved candidates, Ahmed Ahmendinijad (or as a friend calls him, Ahemenogenocide) and Mir-Hossein Mousavi Khameneh.
The vote seems to have been declared very quickly for Ahmadinejad and the next thing you know… all hell breaks loose. Five days later, there’s millions of people in the street claiming that they were robbed of their votes. The situation was somewhat similar to the United States election of 2000, but with one major difference: the great majority of the Iranian people seem to have taken to the streets in protest and we just let Bush become president. As a result of the flawed election and counting of the ballots, the ruling Supreme Ayatollah Khamenei is having a hell of a time putting the genie back into the bottle and serious trouble is on the way for the country.
I’d like to clear up a major misconception that Americans have about Iran: they kicked our ass in 1979, and we sorta deserved it. In 1953, the United States, along with the British, overthrew their prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, in order to take back Iran’s nationalized oil industry. In the process, we returned Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to power. The Shah’s rule was horrible and payback is a bitch. The Iranian Revolution occurred in 1979, and I remember clear as day watching the events unfold on my teevee as 52 American hostages were held in Iran for 444 days. Since I was raised in a Christian apocalyptic househould, I thought the end was neigh.
The apocalypse didn’t happen but something in Iran has changed since the Iranian Revolution brought forth an Islamic Republic with a pretense of democracy. The population has become younger and particularly in the urban areas, majorly hip. I used to know an Iranian guy back in the 80s. He had sea-green eyes and he was, as one may put it, hot. Today’s Iranian youth are highly educated, some are well-traveled, are very much connected with the world of the Internet and are pretty much demanding not necessarily an end to the Islamic Republic, but an end to living in an autocratic society. They want their freedom, whatever that means to one who lives under a government ruled by any religion.
Since I’m a member of the Idiot Club over at greenday.com (yes, I know I’m obsessed, leave me the hell alone), a poster seemingly from Iran started a thread about what was happening in his or her country. Unfortunately the thread didn’t go very far, but one poster in general made me shiver. They wrote that they didn’t care what happened in Iran as long as Islamic extremists didn’t come over here and kill people. Mind you, Idiot Club fan club members are from all over the world and that opinion was clearly in the minority (though of course, as the song goes, they might be happy being in that Minority). I couldn’t help but comment, however. What happens in Iran affects what happens to us here, I wrote. This person probably had something happen to friends or family that caused her or him to think this way. Obviously they didn’t know that Iran and Iraq went to war with each for years or that Osama bin laden hates Shia Muslims, the majority of which are Iranians. Or maybe she/he was just a person who only knew what they knew from their small, isolated communities and never dared to look at or learn about the dynamics that actually make up the world, the cause and effect of it all. No good deed goes unpunished and not everything is as it seems.
Whether Mousavi (a reformist candidate with a deep and nasty history in the actual events of the Iranian Revolution) had become or still will become the Iranian president somehow, doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship between the United States and Iran would get any better, but it certainly could not have gotten any worse than it already is. Or at least, I would hope it wouldn’t have gotten worse.
When describing “21st Century Breakdown,” Green Day usually says that it’s a (paraphrasing) “collection of pictures of things that happen in the world and America with a seeming new crisis everyday.” The onslaught of everyday living can be overwhelming, that’s for sure. I really hope, however, I never get to the point where I don’t care what happens to someone else, as long as I’m left alone. The planet really is too small for that crap. I may not be able to do much and I may not know everything or even anything, but this I know: Iranian men are beautiful and Persian culture is about 500 times longer than ours. I also know that what happens in Iran doesn’t stay in Iran. What happens in Iran affects us all.