If Mirhossein Mousavi hasn’t said much publicly for the last 24 hours, either to cancel or endorse public protests, the Guardian says they know the reason. Mohsen Makhmalbaf claims that he has to speak for Mousavi — and Iran — after the Revolutionary Guard wrecked Mousavi’s offices and threatened him into silence. Makhmalbaf writes that the movement has gone beyond the sham election, and that Iranians will not return to oppression, at least not quietly:
I have been given the responsibility of telling the world what is happening in Iran. The office of Mir Hossein Mousavi, who the Iranian people truly want as their leader, has asked me to do so. They have asked me to tell how Mousavi’s headquarters was wrecked by plainclothes police officers. To tell how the commanders of the revolutionary guard ordered him to stay silent. To urge people to take to the streets because Mousavi could not do so directly.
The people in the streets don’t want a recount of last week’s vote. They want it annulled. This is a crucial moment in our history. Since the 1979 revolution Iran has had 80% dictatorship and 20% democracy. We have dictatorship because one person is in charge, the supreme leader – first Khomeini, now Khamenei. He controls the army and the clergy, the justice system and the media, as well as our oil money.
There are some examples of democracy – reformers elected to parliament, and the very fact that a person like Mousavi could stand for election. But, since the day of the election, this element of democracy has vanished. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won, and that whoever opposed this will be suppressed – a position he affirmed speaking today in Tehran. People wanted to have demonstrations within the law, but the authorities would not let them. This is the first time we have seen millions on the streets without the permission of the supreme leader.
Now they are gathering to mourn those who have died. The people of Iran have a culture that elevates martyrdom. In the period running up to the revolution, when people were killed at demonstrations, others would gather again in the days following the death. This cycle carried on for six months, and culminated in the revolution. Today they are gathering in Tehran for those who were shot on Tuesday, and if there are more killings, this will continue.
Ahmadinejad may have been the focus of their ire in the first hours, but no longer. The people understand that the authors of their misery are Khamenei and the Guardian Council, and they want an end to it. The revolution of 30 years ago traded one form of oppression for another, and now the Iranians want their freedom.
Makhmalbaf acknowledges that Mousavi himself was a creature of the “ruling class,” as Khamenei called it, but that Mousavi has moved from violent revolution to freedom:
Previously, he was revolutionary, because everyone inside the system was a revolutionary. But now he’s a reformer. Now he knows Gandhi – before he knew only Che Guevara. If we gain power through aggression we would have to keep it through aggression. That is why we’re having a green revolution, defined by peace and democracy.
Let’s hope that’s true. His inclusion on the ballot by the same mullahs tends to make me skeptical of those claims, but if this report is true, Mousavi has already crossed the Rubicon and has nowhere to go within the ruling class.
If the Iranians want true self-determination, though, it may require Gandhi-esque toleration of the worst this regime can dish out in its final throes.