web analytics
December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



What the Iranian People “Really Think”… and How to Help Them

Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: With a smile like that, he couldn't possibly want to annihilate Israel, right?

Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: With a smile like that, he couldn't possibly want to annihilate Israel, right?

In totalitarian societies, people are wary of telling others what they “really think.” Given the Iranian government’s ability to suppress its internal opponents, we should be extremely suspicious of public opinion surveys: the Iranian people are simply not going speak openly to anyone other than intimates and long-trusted friends, or it might not be “good for their health.”

Even so, this does not mean that we cannot know what they are thinking. In such circumstances, the joke, the proverb, and satire are key: today’s joke and proverbs about their rulers are stinging to say the least. Iranians know how to insult their leaders subtly, without making direct references to the tyrants that rule them.

For example, a well-known satirist, known as Aali Payam, recently stood before an audience in Iran and said: “I will not speak about the [Iranian] elections any more… We are at a sensitive time… They [the Iranian government] took a colleague in for questioning and asked him, ‘Don’t you realize we are at a sensitive period?’ The colleague replied: ‘We have been at a sensitive period for the last 333 years. Did you hear that Qaddafi told Saddam [both in hell] to get ready, they are going to have a guest? One of these days Bashar Assad will arrive!’” As the satirist cannot criticize the Iranian government directly, he does the next best thing: he pokes fun at Syria’s Bashar Assad, one of the Iranian regime’s strongest allies, to imply that if the Iranian regime supports Assad, Qaddafi and Saddam, Assad’s days on earth, like Saddam’s and Qaddafi’s, are numbered. (See video)

Another video called “2 + 2 = 5″ makes the point even more clearly. Elementary school boys are in a classroom. Suddenly the teacher comes in and the boys instantly stop their banter. The teacher tells them that the principal is about to speak to the whole school over the Public Address system with an important message, which turns out to be that their teachers are about to teach them an important message. Thereafter, the teacher writes on the board: 2 + 2 = 5. The boys say that the answer is 4. The teacher sternly repeats 2 + 2 = 5, and tells the boys to write this in their notebooks. Most of the boys follow the teacher’s instructions, but one insists that the answer is 4. A moment later, three older students with red arm-bands come into the class and the boy who said “4″ is told to go up to the board. The teacher yells at him to write 2 + 2 = 5. The boy writes 2 + 2 = 4. The three older students with red arm-bands then take out guns and shoot the boy. As blood spurts out, the boy falls to the ground. The teacher then instructs the three boys with the red arm-bands to remove this “object from the room.” The other boys are petrified. The teacher tells them to write in their books 2 + 2 = 5. All do so, except one boy then erases the “5″ and writes “4.” [Note: This video was clearly made by Iranians outside the country: it has subtitles in English and Thai.]

When Iranians escape their country, they are usually perfectly willing to say privately what they think, so long as they can maintain anonymity. They know that members of the Iranian regime are skilled at spying on Iranians abroad and could threaten their relatives still living in Iran. In totalitarian societies, only family relationships can be trusted; Iran is no exception.

Over the past year, more and more Iranians have been finding ways to communicate with their friends and relatives abroad in ways which should encourage the world to ratchet up the pressure on the regime.

It is now quite common to hear Iranians say that life is becoming unbearable in Iran. During the past year, the cost of living has become so expensive that even middle class people can no longer afford the basic necessities of life. People are finding ways to tell their friends and relatives outside the country that they are waiting for the day that this regime is gone so that they can lead some sort of normal life.

About the Author: Harold Rhode, Ph.D., served from 1982-2010 as an Adviser on Islamic Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He is now a distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute. He is fluent in English, Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi and Turkish.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “What the Iranian People “Really Think”… and How to Help Them”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A clip from"How to Stab a Jew," the latest hit on Arab social media.
‘How to Stab a Jew’ Going Viral on Palestinian Authority Social Media [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
Ben-Tsvi-122614

“Farming still allows some unique opportunities for mitzvah fulfillment that a city dweller never meets.”

Bill Cosby

It shakes our sense of justice when allegations against a famed role model are covered up or ignored

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Feiglin: Only true liberty will allow us to genuinely connect to our Jewish identity.

Knesset Logo

The silver lining with early elections is the chance to change the current dysfunctional government.

The Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland informed the host he could not say “Israel or Jewish state”

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

The West needs to ensure Russia understands that aggression comes at a significant cost.

What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?

Girlfriend and double cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley apparently was influenced by Islamic extremism.

We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.

Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.

Also left unsaid was the fact that the menorah and its oil were in the Beit HaMikdash, which of course was located on Har HaBayit – the Temple Mount that present-day Muslims claim as their own.

Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.

A revolution is taking place between good and evil; light and darkness. Make the light activism!

More Articles from Harold Rhode
Bedouin with his camels at Wadi Run Desert.

Middle Eastern culture has never developed ways to leave the past behind.

Dancers celebrating Iran's nuclear holiday in Tehran.

Making Rouhani the president was a brilliant strategic move for Khamene’i.

Hamas has become a tool for both the Sunni and Shi’ite fundamentalists to use in their battle not only against the non-Muslim world, but against each other.

It hard to imagine that at least some of Israel’s leaders do not understand the Muslim mindset.

The Alawites are a small, historically oppressed people, whose political future will determine whether Syria remains united in some form or disintegrates into even smaller ethnic and religious entities. As they will play such an important role, America, Israel, and other forces interested in the future of Syria might do well to get to know them, their concerns, and how others can best come to terms with them.

Over the past year, more and more Iranians have been finding ways to communicate with their friends and relatives abroad in ways which should encourage the world to ratchet up the pressure on the regime.

Many parts of the world, such as Korea, China, and India – basically medieval kingdoms fifty or sixty years ago — are now among the pacesetters of the modern world, both producing, and improving on, existing inventions. The Muslim world, however, often better off than these countries just half a century ago, has remained as it was, or has even, in many instances, deteriorated.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/what-the-iranian-people-really-think-and-how-to-help-them/2012/07/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: