The Iranian Revolution Essay

1011 words - 4 pages

The emergence of the Islamic Republic in late 1970’s Iran demonstrates how middle class Iranian people purged themselves of the Pahlavi Dynasty in an effort to continue down a more righteous and egalitarian path. As a result, the country underwent a complete social upheaval and in its place grew an overtly oppressive regime based in theoretical omnipotence. In response to this regime, the very structure of political and social life was shaken and fundamentally transformed as religion and politics became inexorable. As a result, gender roles and the battle between public and private life were redrawn. Using various primary and secondary sources I will show how the Revolution shaped secular middle class Iranians. Further, I will show how the Revolution redefined the roles of women, family, and class in the process.
The aftermath of the Islamic Revolution and, subsequent founding of, the Islamic Republic in 1979 essentially transformed Iran into a blank state. The Iranian people wanted an end to the monarchy dominated by the Pahlavis for the last half century and their choice was Ayatollah Khomeini. Khomeini took advantage of the vulnerable Iranian state and instilled an oppressive theocracy to eliminate any competitor. Khomeini appealed to his public at large by asking Iranians if whether Iran should be an Islamic Republic? While it remains to be seen whether any other answer would have generated a benevolent response, 98.2% out of twenty billion votes cast affirmed this fact. It was in this specific event that Khomeini was able to take influence of the Iranian people, and never let it go; he accomplished this through oppression. In the book, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, the opening book demarcates the overt transition from pre-Pahlavi to post-Pahlavi. Most specifically, the author (the main character) recalls having to wear the “obligatory veil in grade school (1980). In addition, the author recalls the Iranian government closing down all bilingual schools or any other symbols of “capitalism” and “decadence”. These became symbols of regression in the eyes of the Ayatollah and everyone must conform. The author struggles with the very idea of politics and religion during this period as laws of forced veiling and oppression came into conflict with her preconceptions of religion. The author cites an instances where the police locked the outside doors of an Iranian cinema, set it on fire, and prohibited people from rescuing those inside. According to the text, “The BBC said there were 400 victims. The shah said that a group of religious fanatics perpetrated the massacre. But the people knew that it was the Shah’s fault.” The secular Iranian perspective of the injustices being committed by the newly formed Islamic Republic was troubling. A release was sought by this group of people, the only problem was enjoying life and not getting caught.
Enjoying life during the Islamic Republic included nothing inferred by the word ‘enjoy’. Anything that...

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