The Historians and the History-Making Ayatollah Montazeri
He resisted and resisted and resisted until he became a model of Iranian people’s struggles. He showed that one could stand up to absolutist power. He showed that even if even if a pragmatic personality attracts everyone to himself, one could still remain unimprisoned by populism and stand alone against oppression and crime. When many went to the bloodbath, he became like a spring of pure wine.
Historians, by reconstruction past events, are a sort of history-maker. Historians cannot show all of history. They are forced to choose the most important events and the most influential figures. Although history is an assemblage of the deeds of all humans, some humans have played and play a fundamental role in the course of events. History makers do not have the solution to every problem or the eliminator of every difficulty, but if they act ethically, they set the line of march and the model for the people of their time and times to come. No nation lacks an ethical model. Gandhi was the Indians’ ethical model and all the liberals believed in non-violent methods.
The Iranian revolution drew Michel Foucault to Tehran and Qom. He considered it the soul of a soulless world. But when the executions and the repression began, his view changed. Ayatollah Khomeini did not want to be Iran’s and the world’s Gandhi. When the executions and the torture began, Ayatollah Khomeini defended and in some cases, particularly the execution of prisoners of the summer of 1988, issued the the orders for the executions. But it was fated that another person stood up to the prison and torture and execution. It was he who from the start stood up against human rights violations. It was he whose hand was not stained with blood. It was he who sacrificed a post as Leader for the sake of the prisoners’ rights.
Ayatollah Khomeini’s charismatic personality could not silence him. The post of Leadership could not seduce him. Abuse and gangster attacks could not frighten him. Several years’ house arrest could not make him retreat. The clergy could not make him sacrifice them to the hoodlums. Loneliness could not weaken his courageous resistance. The widespread insults of the ruler’s men, the court mullahs, and the repressive apparatus could not break him. He did not abandon the prisoners’ families for an instant.
He resisted and resisted and resisted until he became a model of Iranian people’s struggles. He showed that one could stand up to absolutist power. He showed that even if even if a pragmatic personality attracts everyone to himself, one could still remain unimprisoned by populism and stand alone against oppression and crime. When many went to the bloodbath, he became like a spring of pure wine. Ayatollah Khamenei was right when he said that during Ayatollah Khomeini’s last days, “there was a difficult and dangerous test.” Aye, many failed these tests. Ali Khamenei created many worldly sufferings for this great man. Now, after his passing, he wrote that these worldly sufferings will be in expiation for this resistance. He shamelessly asked God to “hide” his resistance “with the cover of his mercy.” It was not he who gave the order for the murder of the imprisoned opponents. It was not he who ordered the assassination of dissidents and nonconformists domestically and abroad. In all these crimes, he stood in the ranks of the murdered and against the murderers. He left us pure, pure.
Much has been said and written about his courage. But theoretical courage is a rare item. For someone to honestly face his previous beliefs and pour unreasoned beliefs like snow into the sunlight until they melt is a rare courage. His kept his Islamic law constantly evolving. If at first, the doctrine of velayat-e faqih had a special place, in the end, civil rights replaced the customs of the Arabs at the time of the Prophet of Islam.
His end was a new beginning. His passing gave his a new life. He showed us a new sort of connection between power and rights. he acquainted us with a new sort of political personality. If the Green Movement achieves its goals, he, too, will have in practice succeeded. It was a movement with which he had been from the start and which he was engaged in building up to the last moment of his life. He is gone and has left us alone. He has left our eyes red with tears. He has saddened our hearts. He was not only the father of Mohammad, Ahmad, Said, and his daughters. He was all of our fathers. His body will rest somewhere. But His personality will stay with us and will be our guide.