Monday, 10 August 2009

Is Mousavi the real deal?

(About the relationship between Mr. Mousavi and Green Movement, and what it all might mean.)
The five images above were taken in Tehran in the first couple of days after the election. The top image is our protest in Hangar Lane, London, outside the offices of Press TV - see the last paragraph of this post for comments on that.

'Is Mousavi the real deal?'

This question, which my niece asked me a couple of days ago, has been bobbing about in the back of my mind for some time now. It is, of all the questions, the one which most often surfaces, not least among Iranians.

The first thing I want to say is that there is no ‘real deal’ for Iran. There is no ‘saviour.’ Iran cannot be 'saved' by one leader or another, either from within the country or from outside. It is in process – a long process, I suspect, and probably a messy one. This work–in–process, I believe, is as much social as it is political: it has as much to do with the way social lives are conducted as it does with the actions of government.

Mir Hossein Mousavi is wholly of the Islamic republic. He conforms to the model of the ‘mainstream, traditional, small-c-conservative, Muslim,’ as does Karoubi and, for that matter, Khaatemi. He, and others like him, are a necessary part of the equation which needs to be worked out. This process can’t happen without Mousavi and his ilk being involved, of that I am certain. I just can’t imagine what they can do with the unholy Trinity of the Basij, the Revolutionary guard and the Supreme Leader – I have a feeling Ahmedinejaad is almost irrelevant in this set up – he could be exchanged for anyone.

‘Mousavi has killed a lot of people,’ says one of my Iranian friends, herself a refugee. She is referring to the 1980s, when Mousavi was Prime Minister and many people were indeed executed and killed in prison. ‘Has he really changed?’she asks. This question is repeated by many.

I have no idea. I do know that people sometimes change their strategies though, particularly when the context changes. And the Iranian context has, unquestionably, changed: its social context has changed beyond recognition from the time when M. was prime minister, as has the economy, as has have the surrounding international relations, and on top of all of that, mass communications have extended the reach of all of those changes.

I hope that Mousavi does not attempt to be too much of a ‘real deal,’ – the martyr / hero talk worries me, but martyr / hero talk always does. If he ever does become President, then I hope he rolls up his sleeves and is a bit boring and serviceable. Iran doesn’t need any more drama queens and the most inspiring sort of leader would be someone who wasn’t too inspiring, just very practical and good at building things - socially and poltically, I mean, they've got more than enough fancy mosques and noxious government buildings.

It’s just come to my notice that His Royal Loathsomeness, George The Glistening Turd of Galloway, has a programme on PressTV, (shame on you), called ‘The Real Deal,’ in which, presumably, he broadcasts his ignorance to the Nation with his customary, matchless pomposity. If this is the real deal then I sincerely hope Mr. Mousavi isn’t.