Saturday, 27 June 2009

Will Mousavi go the Tsvangirai way?

You might wonder what Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Morgan Tsvangirai have in common. It’s very simple. Currently, Mousavi is treated as the angel of deliverance in Iran, the only human being capable of saving the people of Iran from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mad Mullahs. There was a time when Morgan Tsvangirai occupied a similar position in Zimbabwe. Out in Harare, evil was personified in the form of Robert Mugabe, a one time revolutionary and freedom fighter who had grown so drunk with power that he lost all his supporters outside Zimbabwe, with the possible exception of China and North Korea. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was a brave rebel who, despite being arrested and beaten up so many times, was leading the fight to bring democracy to Zimbabwe. In September 2008, Tsvangirai signed a deal with Mugabe under which he became the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

Things didn’t change much for Zimbabwe after Tsvangirai started to share power with Mugabe. The food shortages, unemployment and high inflation continue. On 6 March 2009, Tsvangirai and his wife Susan were involved in an accident. The car they were travelling in was hit by a lorry and Susan died. Morgan Tsvangirai escaped with minor injuries. Allegations of foul play flew thick and fast, including from Tsvangirai himself. The allegations had credibility since Mugabe has a record of using such ‘accidents’ to get rid of his opponents. Later Tsvangirai rescinded his statements and said that the ‘accident’ was just that – an accident.

Very recently, Tsvangirai went on a tour to Western Europe and North America to ask for financial aid, something that was denied to Mugabe when he was fighting Tsvangirai. Morgan Tsvangirai, darling of various western rulers and human rights organisations when he was in the opposition, did not have much luck in persuading western donors to give him money. Hoping to raise £5 billion, Tsvangirai managed to get £60 million from the UK and $73 million from the US. Neither government was willing to give the aid directly, considering Zimbabwe’s track record and history. During his time in the UK, Tsvangirai addressed a meeting of Zimbabwean exiles who used to support him till just a year ago, and was jeered at when he tried to explain his support for Mugabe.

Tsvangirai’s unsuccessful visit made me wonder if Mousavi will face a similar fate if he manages to come to power. Like Tsvangirai, Mousavi was never a saint to start off with. Just as Tsvangirai used to be an ardent Mugabe supporter and a member of Mugabe’s Zanu PF Party, Mousavi was a revolutionary who struggled for the ouster of the Shah. Later Mousavi became the Prime Minister of Iran from 1981 to 1989 when the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) took place and ten year old Iranian boys were being sent off to the battlefield as human mine sweepers. Mousavi is also a member of the High Council for Cultural Revolution, an organisation responsible for purging Iran of un-Islamic books, movies and other artistic works. Of late, Mousavi has not been an active member of this Council.

Will Mousavi manage to depose Ahmadinejad and become the President of Iran? It appears highly unlikely to me since Mousavi’s support seems to be restricted to the big cities. Let me clarify that I would personally like to see Mousavi in power and Ahmadinejad in permanent retirement. Mousavi may be just another ruthless politician, but he is likely to give the people of Iran, especially the ones who want a modern Iran, a better deal. However, it is much more likely that Mousavi will strike a deal with the evil regime he is battling and share power with them.


Anonymous said...

Statement full of hatred and lies we will not listen to such an imperialist statement, otherwise go hang a thousand times

Ayyappadas Puthenmarath said...

First of all 67 percent of Iran's population lives in urban areas, so support for Mr Mousavi is substantial to make him the premier of the country.

But the more important point is calling iran's present regime evil is misleading. They are definitely better than the Shah regime before 80's. The Americans are frustrated because they can't repeat another operation Ajax to rob Iran's oil this time( last time they did it to save BP and Winston Churchill).

Though their human rights record is not very good, other social indicators seems promising. Their literacy rate is 77%( much better than world's largest democracy), they hosts world's largest refugees population( banished from their homelands by the world's strongest democracy). Their birth control measures is a model for all the other American backed Islamic Monarchies.

Finally I am not indicating Iran is perfect. Their democratic process may be flawed( even Indian and US democratic processes have invited criticism), but it is definitely better than Saudi Arabia's or China's. America should first lecture the totalitarian communist regimes like china and extravagant monarchies like saudi arabia about free and fair polls before Iran. But saudi and china are too indispensable for progressive liberals like us to see their mistakes.

I cannot digest the idea of comparing iran and zimbawe especially from an erudite person like you. And sorry for the long comment.

Winnowed said...

Ayyappadas, thank you for the long comment. The points you make are very valid. I wasn’t trying to compare Iran and Zimbabwe and I don’t think there is any similarity. The only point I tried to make is that politicians like Mousavi and Tsvangirai who fight for greater freedom usually end up making a deal with the regime they fight against. It’s a bit like how in India after an election, politicians who fought each other join hands to form a coalition government.