Recorded: April 2, 2023
Event: Bilingual Lecture Series
by Ramin Jahanbegloo (Jindal Global University)
Nonviolence and the Revolution of Values in Iran
In 2009, the world watched in admiration the peaceful protests of young Iranians in the aftermath of Iran’s fraudulent presidential elections that re-elected Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Today, a new generation is challenging the ideological structures of the Iranian theocratic regime. We have witnessed the courage and the resolution of young Iranians who have transformed their fear of the Iranian dictatorship into a social anger. This anger has revitalised Iranian civil society and motivated politically Iranians around the world. However, the difference between today’s struggle of young Iranians and the previous civic movements is that it has neither an apparent leadership, nor a well-defined ideology. Therefore, we are not witnessing a revolution in the classic sense of the term, but rather general rebellion.This is a turning point in Iran’s recent political history that the world cannot ignore: It looks as if the genie of change in Iran is trying once again to get out of the bottle. For Iranian youth seeking an end to authoritarianism and the advent of democracy, the lessons gleaned from non-violence have been mixed. On the one hand, the brutality and cruelty of the Iranian regime, killing even school children, has caused among the citizens of Iran a sense of pessimism toward the non-violence practised by moral heroes like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. But, on the other hand, recent images of the protests around Iran show young people fighting Iran’s security forces with bare hands. Trying not to be victims of their past, they look instead to the future.