Hamid Dabashi writes:
The pro-Isreali neocons in the United States and their Zionist counterparts in Israel compare the Egyptian and Iranian revolutions because they are frightened out of their wits by a massive revolutionary uprising in a major Arab country that may no longer allow the abuse of the democratic will of a people for the cozy continuation of a colonial settlement called “Israel”.
Echoing the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the Iranian neocon contingencies like Abbas Milani of the Hoover Institute think tank in California fear that the Muslim Brotherhood will take over the Egyptian revolution and create an Islamic Republic—habitually turning a blind eye to the fact that a fanatical “Jewish Brotherhood” has already created a Jewish Republic for more than sixty years in the same neighborhood.
Soon after Binyamin Netanyahu and Abbas Milani, and from precisely the opposite ideological direction, Ali Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic and the vast petrodollar propaganda machinery at his disposal, celebrated what is happening in Egypt as a reflection of Khomeini’s will and legacy and the commencement of an “Islamic awakening”. Not so fast, interjected an almost instant announcement from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. This was not an Islamic Revolution, they explained, but an Egyptian revolution that belonged to all Egyptians—Muslims, Christians, people from other ideological persuasions.
In between the frightful Zionist propaganda and Islamist wishful thinking myriads of other opinions have been aired over the last two weeks in one way or another measuring the influence of the Islamic Revolution in Iran over the revolutionary uprising in Egypt.
This is a false and falsifying presumption first and foremost because what happened in Iran during the 1977-1979 revolutionary uprising was not an “Islamic Revolution” but a violently and viciously “Islamised revolution”.
A brutal and sustained course of repression—perpetrated under the successive smoke screens of the American Hostage Crisis of 1979-1981 and the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988, and the Salman Rushdi Affair of 1989-1999—is the crucial difference between an “Islamic” and “Islamised” revolution.
A cruel crescendo of university purges, cultural revolutions, mass executions of oppositional forces, and forced exile, took full advantage of domestic and regional crisisis over the last three decades to turn a multifaceted, modern, and cosmopolitan revolution into a banal and vicious theocracy.
The CIA-sponsored coup of 1953, the massive arming of Saddam Hossein to wage war against Iran, and the creation of the Taliban as a bulwark against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, all engineered by the United States, and the continued armed robbery of Palestine by Israel have been the regional contexts in which the Islamic Republic destroyed all its ideological and political alternatives and created a malicious theocracy, consistently and systematically abusing regional crisis to keep itself in power.
That historical fact ought to be remembered today so no false analogy or anxiety of influence is allowed to mar the joyous and magnificent uprising of Tunisians and Egyptians to assert and reclaim their dignity in a free and democratic homeland.
There is no reason whatsoever to believe that Tunisians or Egyptians will allow such a treacherous kidnapping of their dreams and aspirations by one fanatical ideological absolutism or another.
What we are witnessing in Tunisia and in Egypt today, as we in fact have been over the last two years in Iran, is a people’s democratic will to retrieve their cosmopolitan political culture, wresting it from colonial (Tunisia), imperial (Egypt), or tyrannical (Iran) distortion, deception, and corruption.