quinta-feira, 20 de outubro de 2005

Timothy Garton Ash: «Soldiers of the Hidden Iman»

«The political system of the Islamic Republic of Iran is at once fiendishly complex and extremely simple. Most of the Iranians I met preferred to stress the complexity. The country has at least two governments at any one time: a semi-democratic formal state structure, now headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and a religious-ideological command structure headed by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. There are numerous shifting formal and informal power centers, including political parties in parliament, ministries, rich religious foun- dations, the Revolutionary Guards, and the multimillion-man Basij militia, whose mobilization helped Ahmadinejad to get elected.
In a communist party-state, the party line was to be found in the pages of Pravda or Neues Deutschland. In the Islamic mullah-state, the "imam line" is handed down through Friday prayers, two sessions of which I attended, first at the gorgeous Pattern-of-the-World mosque in Esfahan and, the next week, in a closely policed compound at Tehran University. In both places a high-ranking Islamic clergyman—the chair of the Guardian Council, at my Tehran session—delivered a fulminating political homily, denouncing in particular America and Britain. The political message was sandwiched between conventional Muslim prayers, like a kebab wrapped in nan bread. In Tehran, the final prayers ended with an orchestrated crowd chant: "Down with America! Down with Israel! Down with the enemies of the Guardianship of the Jurist!"
Iran is a remarkably old country, with some 2,500 years of continuous history. It is also a remarkably young country. Two thirds of its 70 million people are under thirty years of age.
The potential of what I came to think of as Young Persia is huge. These young Iranians are educated, angry, disillusioned, impatient, and when they leave college most of them will not find jobs appropriate to their training. Given time and the right external circumstances, they could take the lead in exerting the kind of organized social pressure that would allow —and require—the advocates of reform, even of transformation, to gain the upper hand inside the dual state
(Timothy Garton Ash, na New York Review of Books.)

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