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    The Conspiratorial Mind

    Is it possible for us to interpret the mentality behind the accusations leveled against the Iranian oppositionists: that they are spies and agents of the West; that it is the CIA and the British who were the movers and shakers behind the movement; that it is impossible for the movement to have been spontaneous and its followers to have acted on their own accord?

    There is no doubt that there is a deeply-rooted tradition in the mindset and thought process behind this conspiratorial language which, in the Middle East, has experienced continual, seemingly inexhaustible prosperity. There is an entire library of works and volumes which explain the conspiratorial mind or link the rise of such a mindset to the scope of one’s own failures, or to the frustration which makes one divert attention away from them, or to something else…

    However, the issue which has drawn a lesser degree of interest is one that deals with the matter of hubris. The notion that the movements in Iran must be a conspiracy imported from abroad – because such a thing could not possibly be spontaneous and home-grown – has no basis in reality. It is naturally and logically the case, in the eyes of those who would make such a claim, that the Iranian people are all with the regime and that opposition to the regime does not elicit anything except surprise.

    This is a well-established practice in ideological regimes which consider their existence to be an expression of the victory of some undeniable truth: a truth which is divine, or “scientific,” or nationalistic, or something to that effect. Based on such an evaluation an unwavering hubris is generated which claims that God or science or the will of the nation or the people is with us.

    It goes without saying that this mentality, in its denial of the opposition, rather its denial of the very premise of opposition, reveals the extent to which its understanding of reality runs counter to all perceptions of democracy. However, what is truly remarkable – and here lies a mark of surrealism – is that, those who exude such hubris, in actuality, have no such self-assuredness to speak of. Such people, if they reviewed their records and reports, if they acquainted themselves with the movement in the street, and if they faced the facts, would learn with certainty that their regime is vile and detested. They would learn that their situation is difficult. And they would learn that ideology alone is insufficient to allow for the hubris they put on display. Were it so, then why the oppression, the imprisonment, the torture, the show trials, all the dossiers being compiled, and so on? They oversee the regime’s ills directly and so benefit from it. How then, after all of that, would there be any such surprise over the emergence of oppositionists?

    “They are liars who know that their strength is [actually] complete weakness but do not have the ability to come to believe that,” were the words of a Polish student in a film by Andrzej Wajda speaking out against the Soviets and their regime during that era. In such ways, the lie is perpetuated through the hatching of illusionary foreign conspiracies (while the “conspirator” West remains torn over how to approach the events in Iran). However, the lie is on a short leash, as they say.

    Hazem SAGHIEH
    NOW Lebanon
    16.02.2010

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