[Marxism] Islamist, Socialist revolutions do not mix
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Oct 3 11:06:25 MDT 2007
POLITICS-IRAN: Islamist, Socialist Revolutions Don't Mix
By Kimia Sanati
TEHRAN, Oct 3 (IPS) - An attempt to rope in the son and daughter of the
Argentine revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara to forge a parallel between
Iran's Islamist revolution and the socialist revolution in Latin America
through a four-day conference has ended in fiasco.
After Aleida Guevara protested from the podium against perceived
distortions of her father's ideology by the first Iranian speaker, Haj
Saeed Ghasemi, the four-day 'Che Like Chamran' conference, that started
Sep. 25, was aborted and the Latin American guests whisked away.
'Che Like Chamran', the title of the conference, was chosen for the
alliteration in the names of the two revolutionaries and because both
Che and the Iranian, Mostafa Chamran, fought alongside revolutionaries
in other countries. But the similarities end there, no matter what the
organisers intended to promote.
Chamran, a United States-educated engineer and Islamist, helped Mousa
Sadr found the Amal Movement in southern Lebanon and fought alongside
Amal guerrillas in the late 1970s. Appointed the young Islamic
Republic's defence minister by Ayatollah Khomeini, Chamran organised and
led paramilitary forces during the early phase of the Iran-Iraq war
(1980-1988) and was killed in battle in the Khuzistan province in 1981.
"We feel responsible towards all of humanity...unity is of especial
importance to us. The reason for the relations established between our
student group and the children of Che Guevara and the Latin American
countries is what we have in common," Morteza Firoozabadi, secretary of
the Pro-Justice Student Movement (PJSM), explained to the Islamic
Students News Agency (ISNA).
"We are never afraid of death and that is what Americans are most scared
of. They cannot accuse us simply by citing things like terrorism,
seeking war or breaching human rights. We only aim to free the oppressed
and to restore the rights of all the people of the world so we do not
recognise borders and do not care what names Americans use for this,"
Firoozabadi was reported by ISNA as saying.
Organised by the student militia of Tehran University, the conference
was attended mostly by counterparts from various other universities as
well as members of hardline student groups such as the PJSM that
strongly support President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's policies. These groups
regularly organise demonstrations and protest rallies against the US and
other western countries.
But Ghasemi, who is associated with Iran's Esteshhadiyoun (volunteers of
suicide operations) must take credit for scuttling the conference.
Referring to a translated version of a Che Guevara book that he held in
his hand, he said Che Guevara was religious and believed in God. "The
people of Cuba, Fidel (Casro) and Che Guevara were never socialists or
communists. Fidel has several times admitted that he and Che and the
people of Cuba hated the Soviets for all they had done.''
''Today communism has been thrown into the trash bin of history as it
was predicted by Ayatollah Khomeini," Ghasemi told the conference and
added that the only way to save the world was through the ''the
religious, pro-justice movement''.
An indignant Aleida, however, started her own address "in the name of
the people of Cuba". "We are a socialist nation," she asserted. She also
said the people of Cuba were grateful to the Soviet Union and there had
never been any discord between the two nations, as mentioned by Ghasemi.
She advised him to "always refer to original sources instead of
translations to find out about Che Guevara's beliefs".
"My father never talked about God. He never met God. My father knew
there was no absolute truth,'' Aleida said, responding to Ghasemi's
speech. The coverage of her address by state-sponsored news agencies
like ISNA was brief and excluded most of her contradictory remarks.
At a meeting later with students of Amir Kabir University of Technology,
where the leftist groups are particularly strong, Camilo Guevara told
students he approved of all that his sister had said at the conference,
The other main speaker, Mehdi Chamran, brother of Mostafa Chamran,
avoided mention of Che Guevara or his ideology in his address. Chamran,
who is chairman of the Tehran City Council is a loyal supporter of
''President Ahmadinejad's promotion of closer ties with certain Latin
American countries such as Venezuela, Cuba, and Bolivia called for some
kind of identification of his brand of Islamist militant ideas with
those of the leftists in Latin American countries,'' a leftist student
activist from Amir Kabir University told IPS on the condition of anonymity.
"Ahmadinejad has visited several Latin American countries over the past
two years. He has brought (Hugo) Chavez and (Daniel) Ortega here. Belief
in socialism is considered a crime in the Islamic state, punishable by
death. Ahmadinejad's slogans against the West and the U.S., his
pro-justice rap, and his promises of economic assistance bring them here
-- much to our disappointment," she said. "Daniel Ortega and other
leftist leaders too must clarify their position about their relations
with Iran. We feel greatly betrayed when for their countries' economic
benefit they choose to support extreme rightists, fascists like
Ahmadinejad," she added.
Following Aleida's outspoken address to the conference, the organisers
took flak from their own comrades. "It is appreciable to commemorate Che
Guevara as a revolutionary figure. Otherwise, our former perspectives on
his ideas, methods and attitude are still the same. We are Muslims and
he is non-Muslim. The difference will always remain," Mohammad Sedaghat,
the leader of Student Militia of Shahed University was quoted by ISNA as
"Chamran was a revolutionary Shiite Muslim whereas Che Guevara was
totally atheistic. The only thing they had in common was their spirit of
fighting injustice. For choosing friends we must meet other criteria,
such as being God-loving -- besides being anti-American," Sedaghat was
reported as saying.
Mohammad Jaffar Irani, a reformist student activist, was quoted by ISNA
as pointing out that the same group that organised the conference had
always considered Che Guevara an atheist. "If anyone other than the
(hardline) group that organised this event had done so they would have
gotten into a great deal of trouble,'' he was quoted saying.
"The organisers of the event were hardline supporters of Ahmadinejad who
have nothing in common with leftists, even the Islamic leftists of the
early days of the (Iranian) revolution. President Ahmadinejad has in
fact much in common with President Bush, although he may sound very
'leftist'," an observer in Tehran told IPS on condition of anonymity.
"Leftist countries must realise that if the issues that make the Iranian
hardliners confront the West such as its demand to be accepted to the
nuclear club are resolved, today's leftist allies may instantly turn
into their common enemies," he said.
"Unfortunately some wrong approaches (remarks) diverted the course of
the conference from (discussing) commonalities to the differences
(between the two revolutionaries). This caused the conference to be
deviated from its main course,'' Sajjdad Saffar Harandi, leader of the
Student Militia (Basij) in Tehran University, told the pro-Ahmadinjead
website Raja News, explaining the fiasco.
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