(Street Journalist) | February 21, 2010
by Bahare Farda
February 11, or 22 Bahman, marks the 31st anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. On this day, massive street fights between government troops loyal to the Pahlavi dynasty and Iranians opposing its repressive rule culminated in a final collapse of the last monarchy of Iran. With the Military Council’s declaration of “neutrality” of the armed forces began massive street celebrations by the Iranian revolutionaries, along with a series of takeovers of government offices, military buildings, prisons, television and radio stations, and of the exclusive estates and palaces of the Pahlavi family, to convey the triumph of the people in overthrowing a foreign-imposed monarch.
In the minds of the students and participants of the 1979 Revolution, 22 Bahman evokes bittersweet memories of a decades-long Iranian struggle against political tyranny, social repression, state violence, and foreign-imposed agendas. This day was significant to the Iranian people before an Islamic Republic was officially declared, before the concept of velayat-e faqih (a system of rule where a single religious representative provides political guardianship over the people in the form of a jurist-theologian or divine legislator) was adopted and inserted in the new constitution, and before the range of rival political factions in Iran who together fuelled the revolution were crushed by the ruling establishment.
This year’s 22 Bahman is of particular significance. In the context of the fraudulent election results of June 2009 which have now become a social fact, followed by a series of violent clampdowns by the security forces of the state, speaking on behalf of the principles, struggles and sacrifices of 22 Bahman translates into a declaration of legitimate rule, and paints a political face encompassing the values of social justice, civic freedom, economic autonomy, political expression, speech and participation. As a result, all sides are planning demonstrations to commemorate this day. The state is planning its usual gatherings and government-sponsored rallies to showcase its strength and reinforce its authority, certainly to Western and regional powers but primarily to its demoralized, alienated and frustrated population. At the same time, demonstrations and direct actions were planned in Iran’s major cities by the broad-based national opposition, commonly referred to as the ‘Green Movement.’