Edward Said and the Iranian Revolution

The Iranian revolution was not only a godsend for those Muslims who identified with its cause, it was also a blessing for those among the American Left who saw it as a significant blow against the evil American Empire. For them it was a non- violent resurgence of the oppressed of the Third-World, noble and progressive in its cause and buoyed by its religious character. Richard Falk in The Nation wrote ‘the religious core of the Khomeini movement is a call for social justice, fairness in the distribution of wealth, a productive economy organized around national needs and simplicity of life and absence of corruption that minimizes differences between rich and poor, rulers and ruled.’ [1] The fears expressed by Iranian leftists and feminists were an exaggeration and not worthy of pause or consideration. That Tehran’s bookstores were selling books once banned by the Shah and that newspapers were engaging in lively political debate was sufficient proof that the inherent progressive forces of the revolution would prevail. ‘Whatever the future course of this remarkable revolution,’ Kai Bird wrote in The Nation, ‘the spring of 1979 is budding with hopes of broader freedoms and economic well-being for the Iranian people.’ [2]

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