15 Sep Reflections of A Generation (pt.3): The Islamic Republic of Iran –Fact or Fiction?
American baby boomers are watching the events in the Islamic Republic of Iran with a keen interest. In the young Iranians, they see a kindred spirit of social activism. These young Iranian echo boomers, so called because they are mirrors of the reformist baby boomers, have taken their voices to the world stage. Their willingness to stand up and be heard has given their government pause. The Iranian government has long conveyed that freedom rings true in the Islamic Republic. Is this government a true republic willing to guarantee the rights and freedoms it espouses, or is it really just another totalitarian regime?
It should be noted – and this is an important note – that Iranian echo boomers are not fighting their government. Rather they are protesting their government’s resistance to proffer specific social freedoms. It is the opinion of this author that this is the legacy that American baby boomers have inspired. Iranian activists are not calling for a revolution to overthrow the government. This alludes to a hope and a belief among the Iranian people that their government is a viable instrument through which to effect change. This sentiment is one that was held by American baby boomers and ultimately proved to be true. Can the same be said of the Iranian system of government?
To answer this question, one has to evaluate the government system in question. Iran’s government is ostensibly a republic. It has elected representational bodies that legislates and administers the affairs of government based on Islamic principles. Indeed, there are three branches of government – executive, parliament, and judicial. There is even a national constitution that provides a conceptual foundation (Islamic) of national identity.
However, all of these branches of governments and the positions within them are subordinate to the office of the Supreme Leader. In fact, the Supreme Leader has a significant and influential hand in appointing (directly and indirectly) the officials who serve in the other branches of government – including the government body that selects and can remove the Supreme Leader: the Assembly of Experts. There have only been two Supreme Leaders since the Islamic revolution of 1979; the founder of the revolution himself, the deceased Ayatollah Khomeini and the current leader, Ali Khamenei. While the office of president is the highest elected office in the country, the president is also subordinate to the supreme leader.
While this system may seem foreign to American baby boomers and other Westerners, one has to remember the general mindset of Iranians. Most Iranians – at least up until the revolution, were conservative, religious minded, and generally had an unfavorable attitude towards the west. As Muslims, Iranians generally accept the concept of having a guardian (a single leader) who safeguarded the Islamic underpinnings of the budding Islamic state. Even today, Iranian echo boomers – whose parents ignited the Islamic revolution – don’t have a significant issue with this political structure. This is evident by the recent protest over the recent presidential elections. The protests are over a legitimate election process – not the legitimacy of the system itself.
Nevertheless, this is a time of opportunity for both the Iranian government and the Iranian people. The government has the chance to illustrate that it is a true republic in fact and not just name by listening to the voices of the people and taking significant resulting action. For the people, this is a chance for the protests to be heard as it is difficult for the government to silence the Iranian echo boomer reformers International media attention.
The government should remember that its own existence is the result of a disgruntled population that eventually lost all hope that the prevailing political system could effect positive change. The desire for reformation always precedes the need for revolution. There are real social issues, such as the rights of women that are at the forefront of concerns for Iranian echo boomers. These concerns need to be addressed by a receptive Iranian government while the people are still tolerant of the current political and social structure.
This Psychological Article on Reflections of A Generation (pt.3): The Islamic Republic of Iran –Fact or Fiction? is part of Boomer Yearbook’s continuing series of psychological articles on World Religions, politics and understanding as a solution to types of discrimination. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.
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