View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Sunday, December 29, 2002
I've been reading V.S. Naipaul's Among the Believers, one of the main reasons he won the Nobel Prize for Literature last year. He starts off in Iran, in August 1979, before the hostages, and one gest the distinct sense of a revolution hijacked by Khomeini and the radicals. This is pretty much the story of every non-Anglospheric revolution, of course. The people in Teheran he interviews don't want a mullocracy. They're happy to see the return of core values, and hate the Shah, but most of them don't know what they want to take his place. Those that do, seem to want a Turkish-style system, without the military aspect. It's in Qom, city of the Ayatollahs, that the Committee for Public Safety takes over, and hijacks things.

This suggests two things. First, Khomeini, not bin Laden, is the greater evil. He played the part of Lenin more closely that we know. He subverted a popular movement to get rid of a tyrant. He then turned his country into a base - the main base and patron - of a Revolution without borders of his own. He provided hope and inspiration, as well as logistical support, for radical Islam all over the globe. With unintended irony, his hanging judge is quoted as saying, "the communists will go on following their Lenin, we will follow our Khomeini." We should be harder on him than we are.

Second, maybe the Iranians will be able to get it right this time, since the leaders of the burgeoning rebellion seem pro-West, and not led by any -ology or -ism. We need them, and they need us more.

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