The following is a guest post from my friend Bill Stimson.
“The Good News From Iran Today”
by William R. Stimson
It has happened now in Iran like it did in Myanmar a short while back.
Common people, secular and religious, cried out with one voice
against injustice only to have their rulers bludgeon them back into
silence. Today on the internet we hear not a whisper from Iran, save
But we know what is happening. It was told long ago by the great
Persian-language poet – Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī – known and loved
everywhere today simply as Rumi. A country’s worse enemy, Rumi hints
in his poetry, lies not outside its own borders but hides within them
in the form of a disregard for what is most sacred and holy – love,
truth, and justice – and a cynical and crafty deployment of so-called
religious law, mere rules of convention, to advance oneself, one’s
kin, and one’s power-base, regardless of how much damage, or loss of
life, this may inflict on others.
This is exactly what we’re seeing today in Iran and the poet Rumi, who
speaks out from the deep root of that country’s religious tradition,
has something instructive to say on this account. He tells us
that those who have grabbed power for themselves by enforcing ways of
behaving and speaking are of one sort and those who are lovers of
truth and who burn with a desire for justice and fairness are of
another sort entirely. The wrong way that the people on the streets
may talk or act is better than a hundred right ways of their corrupt
rulers. Those we have seen beaten into submission may not obey the
code of doctrine their rulers are trying to impose. But they burn in
their hearts with a more sacred truth.
The worst position, according to Rumi, is for a country to have an
enemy that it cannot see and does not know. It is better for the
nation to have a thousand known enemies than to have one which it does
not know is there. The good news from Iran today is that the Iranian
people know the enemy is there and they see now exactly who it is. The
whole world knows it too, and sees it also.
It’s only a matter of time before the fake structure crumbles.
* * *
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.