We don't have to look far to find who's behind the stolen election in Iran. One man alone has the authority to pull it off. State thugs gun down an innocent young woman in plain daylight on the streets of Tehran? It's his doing. The killing is blamed on the protesters themselves? Him again. The family is denied permission to hold a funeral in the mosque? Him. The body is nabbed and spirited out of sight. Him. Black mourning cloth out front of the family's home is ripped down? Him. The family is ousted from their home and every trace of them is eliminated? That bears his signature as well ' the way he micromanages every tiny detail. What we've seen writ large all across Iran ' college computers smashed by government thugs, a whole people muffled and denied expression, each telling detail of the whole big canvas ' is a picture of the heart of the spiritual leader of Iran.
It reminds me of an ancient Islamic tale. The great Ayatollahs in a city of old found out that at exactly 12 noon on a given day God would make his appearance in a certain square of the marketplace. On that day they had all the vendors driven from that square, had it swept clean and covered in priceless rugs, and then crowded in all around the edge of the square, every one of them in their turbans and official garb, and waited. The moment the clock struck 12 noon, some common person stumbled in from the street. The moment his dusty boots soiled the expensive carpet, the grand Ayatollah stood up and lashed out in anger, 'How dare you desecrate the spot where God himself is to appear!'
The simple man looked up at the Ayatollah in surprise. 'I am greater than God,' he replied.
'NOBODY is greater than God!' thundered the furious Ayatollah. "Who do you think you are?" he demanded.
'I am nobody,' the man replied. He turned and retreated back from whence he came. In an instant he was lost in the crowd on the street.
The Iranian Islamic Revolution is based on a truth ' the authority of God can reside in one person ' but represents a flawed understanding of that truth; because it is not for man to choose who that person is. This can only be done by God.
We have all, by the mere fact of being here, been chosen by God in a sense. But there may be, at any given moment in the whole world, only one person who speaks and acts with the true authority of God. The hitch is that nobody can really know who that person is ' for this instant it's one individual; the next it's another. The democratic component of Iran's system is not just a cosmetic covering. It's the essence of the Islamic Revolution.
The only sin committed by the protesters in Iran who have been beaten, shot at, and now effectively driven from the streets ' is that they have a higher and truer concept of God than the Ayatollah, a concept that includes freedom, justice, fairness, and truth.
It's a failure of Iran's system of government that a lying, cheating, and small-minded leader presumes to speak for a God that is truthful, broadminded, and honest. The true word of God is left no outlet except through the people's voice. The protests we see aren't against God and they aren't against Islam. They aren't against Iran and they aren't against the government. They're against a small-hearted impostor who has too puny an idea of religion and God and has attempted by brute force to impose this on an ancient, pious, and great people.
If the other Ayatollahs let him get away with this, the Iranian Islamic Revolution will have failed.
William R. Stimson is an American writer living in Taiwan. More of his writing can be found at www.billstimson.com