Ekbatan Observer

Chronicling Iran's struggle towards political emancipation

21 October 2007

Around the Clock-Common Denominator of all Tyrannies

Around the Clock is a special page of the Ekbatan Observer devoted to monitoring and analysing the human rights situation in Iran.

By: Reza Bayegan

Like George Orwell’s depiction of a totalitarian state, the Islamic Republic is a place where words mean the opposite of what they say. In the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Ministry of Truth is in charge of falsification and distortion of reality; an organ reminiscent of Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. To undermine language and turn it from a medium of communication into an instrument of suppression is the common denominator of all tyrannies.

Former Presidents Rafsanjani and Khatami were both masters of this kind of linguistic and moral subversion. Under the guise of reconstruction and dialogue amongst civilizations they promoted political assassinations at home and international terrorism abroad. Ahmadinejad, although less subtle than his predecessors has his own version of ‘Newspeak’. Like The Ministry of Love in Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was in charge of torture and brainwashing, Ahmadinejad’s ‘Dolateh Mehrvarzi’ or the government of ‘loving kindness’ is according to Amnesty International, responsible for putting Iran almost at the top of the list of countries carrying out the death penalty.

In his recent speech at Columbia University, Ahmadinejad shamelessly presented Iranian universities as forums for free and democratic debates. The home truth of what really takes place in the country is that Iranian students are given ‘stars’ not for their skills in debates and academic achievements, but to brand them for the temerity of upholding their right to freedom of expression. These stars are scarlet letters that not only shut the doors of all future opportunity in their face, but also mark them for the rest of their lives as potential targets for constant harassment and persecution.

While President Ahmadinejad poses as the defender of Iran’s national right to nuclear power, Iranian jails are filling up with the best minds and first-rate human resources of the nation.

One task of defenders of human rights in Iran should be to bring to light the plight of citizens in the hand of a government that hides behind the nation’s religious faith and moral beliefs to distort and demolish those very same values. Any serious campaign against human rights violations in Iran should include the debunking of the self-righteous claims of a corrupt political establishment that not only squanders the human and material wealth of the country but is also an enemy to its very soul and spirit. The Islamic Republic in 2007 has an uncanny resemblance to George Orwell’s 1984 totalitarian state.

Reza Bayegan