| By S. Musawi
The victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran and the establishment of the Islamic government is the strongest proof for the disinherited masses, particularly the Muslims, to have faith in the capabilities of Islam and ability of the Muslim leaders to bring about profound social changes and guide the society towards felicity and perfection in the light of the Islamic ideology and culture. Also the establishment of the Islamic government in an Islamic country could raise hopes in many disinherited masses, encouraging them to realize that they can utilize religious government to put forth the idea of their supervision on international level.
Commenting on the impact of the Islamic uprising of the Iranian nation on the revival of the Islamic culture and Islamic awakening, Imam Khomeini states:
“They were destroying Islam; they were trampling upon the Quran under their boots. The uprising of the Iranian youth, the uprising of the Iranian nation, which was a divine uprising, revived the Quran; revived Islam and resuscitated Islam.”
Also alluding to the capabilities of Islam in bringing about changes in the social, governmental structures and establishment of a popular revolution and government, the Imam says:
“The great change that has emerged in the nation was a change that did not aim only to eliminate the regime…the nation wanted an Islamic government. It was the fundamental issue, that is, they wanted the Quran to rule supreme. They removed the hurdles in this country to establish an Islamic government.”
The victory of the Islamic Revolution, which occurred after protracted struggles against all symbols of oppression, inequity, infidelity, paganism, and arrogance, was achieved by paying high human and material costs. However in a short period it could introduce fundamental changes in the thought and culture of the Iranian people. As a result the idea of return to the indigenous-religious culture and revival of the Islamic values as the only source for responding to the needs and questions and the only certain path of guidance became evidently clear.
Such a fundamental change, which became possible under the sagacious leadership and guidance of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, was so amazing that astonished all thinkers and scholars of the world.
Micheal Foucault (1926-1984), a renowned Western thinker, visited Iran after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Upon his return from Iran, he wrote:
One of the significant aspects of this revolutionary event is the reality that it demonstrates the absolute collective will – a very few people have had such an opportunity in the history. Elaborating on the concept of collective will, he writes: the collective will is not a political myth with the help of which the lawyers and philosophers try to analyze or justify the institutions; the collective will is a theoretical instrument; no one has ever seen the collective will… Perhaps we in Tehran and entire Iran came across the collective will of a nation. Well, we should respect it, for this does not happen frequently.
Obviously, this great event in the contemporary world enjoys diverse communication possibilities and has had a widespread repercussion in the entire world particularly among the Muslims and the deprived, oppressed peoples of the world. Its profound impact on the culture and political thought and language of the liberation struggles, particularly those of the Muslims, is quite palpable.
Intifada: Transformation of Culture of Struggle
The Palestinian crisis, both with regard to its nature (the transgression of the Zionists against the Islamic homeland and its occupation and application of suppressive policies, torture and trampling upon the rights of the Muslims) and in terms of its historical power, has become the main concern of the Islamic world. The Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, calls it “the first Islamic international problem.” Hence the Zionist regime can be considered an embodiment of “invasion, occupation and usurper of other’s land”. On the other hand, the struggle of the Palestinian people can be considered the practical example of resistance by reliance on such religious values as Islamism, martyrdom, self-sacrifice, etc.
The religious struggles of the Iranian nation against all symbols of oppression and inequity in principle and in practice from the very beginning supported the struggles of the Palestinian nation. Imam Khomeini considered support of the rights of the oppressed Palestinian people as a fundamental principle of his struggles. In fact from the very beginning of his political struggles against domination, Imam Khomeini also launched his struggles against the Zionist regime and extended his support to the struggles of the Palestinian nation.
In the early stages of his struggles, he openly warned against the threat posed by Israel against Iran and the Islamic world: “On the basis of my religious duties, I would like to warn the Iranian Muslim nation [that] the holy Quran and Islam are in danger, the independence and economy of the country are in danger of being seized by the Zionists… The Muslim nation will not keep silent until the danger is removed and if someone keeps silent, he will be responsible toward the Almighty God and is doomed to fall in this world.”
Therefore the all-out support the Iranian Leader and Muslim nation of Iran extended to the liberation struggles of the Palestinian Muslim nation was one of the reasons of the transformation in the culture of struggle of the Palestinian nation and fighters.
The leader of the Islamic Revolution on a number of occasions has expressed the all-out support of the Islamic system and the Iranian nation of the struggles and fighting of the oppressed Palestinian nation:
“The Iranian nation cannot neglect the rights of the Palestinian nation. They say, you neglect the Palestinian nation and sign the compromise pacts imposed on this nation; it is obvious that the Iranian nation rejects it and anybody who follows this path is a traitor.”
The victory of the Islamic Revolution and the collapse of the dictatorial monarchy and establishment of the Islamic government in Iran as well as the glorious resistance against all plots of the global arrogance are the best practical example for the Muslim fighters of the occupied territories to practically demonstrate the unlimited power of Islam in giving incentive to them and boosting their fighting power.
Therefore, the main impact of the Islamic Revolution on the struggles of the Palestinian nation was transformation of the culture of struggle and change in the objectives of the struggles.
In the light of these changes in the struggle culture, the language and method of struggle underwent a change and such concepts as pan-Arabism, which is based on extremist nationalism and has its roots in the Western materialistic culture, was replaced by Islamism and holy war in the way of revival of the splendor and glory of the Islamic world. Also instead of transient materialistic incentives for struggle in the way of motherland, the sublime idea of holy struggle in the way of Allah was institutionalized which is based on the clear spring of divine knowledge. Hence such concepts as martyrdom, self-sacrifice and holy struggle were resuscitated.
Changes in the method of struggle in the light of changes in the culture of struggle are quite palpable. In the light of the rich Islamic culture, the Palestinian fighters, in order to continue their struggles, while welcoming material and spiritual support of other countries, particularly the Islamic countries, never depend on any nation or any power. On the basis of their religious teachings, they have realized that the only key to victory is trust in God and faith in the divine promises as well as preservation of Islamic unity. They also know well that faith and unity are the most effective weapons for their righteous struggles.
A glimpse at the testament of a martyred Palestinian fighter – Mahmoud Abu Hanud – demonstrates the deep impact of Islamic culture on the formation and incentives of the struggles of the oppressed Palestinian people:
“Dear Muslims, bear in mind that what has befallen our nation and ummah is because of keeping distance from the right path and the Sunnah of the Prophet as well as total dependence on the East and West that has brought us nothing except indignity, slavery and disunity. But, ye the children of the Islamic movement; ye by whose hands the Almighty God has decided to hoist the banner of monotheism and materialize the promise of destruction of Israel, pick up the flag of holy struggle and defend the prestige of religion and motherland and do not give up this endeavor…”
Thus the liberation struggles of the Palestinian people found an Islamic nature and the Indifada was formed within the framework of a spontaneous popular movement based on the religious principles and values and relied on the weapon of faith as an effective strategy for solving this great problem.
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei, emphasizes on the crucial role of Islam in properly directing the struggles of the Palestinian people and the specific status of Islamic culture in giving incentive to the Muslims, particularly the Palestinians until achieving complete victory (destruction of Israel):
“The oppressed Palestinian nation should expel the Zionists from the occupied territories by relying on the Islamic faith.”
Elsewhere the leaders says:
“The rise of the Islamic sun from the horizon of struggles of Palestine has resuscitated the oppressed Palestinian nation… In the beginning, the Palestinians were in hibernation and hence the enemy dominated them, but today the Palestinians have awakened… [They have realized that] struggle without relying on faith in God and Islam will bear no fruit other than alliance with the reactionary forces and cooperation with Israel.”
In order to become more acquainted with the intellectual nature of the Intifada and the place of Islamic thought and culture in this movement, a part of the statement of the Islamic Resistance Movement of Hamas issued on the 14th year of its formation is reproduced here:
“Fourteen years have passed since the formation of the Intifada and holy war and struggle in the way of victory and martyrdom… It is now fourteen years that we have been carrying out our Intifada and will continue it… During this period we have proved that revolution and resistance is not merely being armed, but in the first place it is faith and belief in Islam and the Almighty God… The Hamas is a movement that belongs to the entire Islamic ummah… It is now fourteen years that the program of resistance has been accompanied with the devotions of the nation and struggles and support of the Islamic Ummah which first started with small weapons until it turned into martyrdom-seeking operations.”
A Brief History of the Intifada
The emergence of Intifada has its roots in various measures taken by Israel after the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991. These measures were not compatible with the peaceful claims of this entity, that is, the unprecedented expansion and occupation of the Palestinian territories, creation of new Jewish settlements, and expansion of the existing ones in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as the demolition of Palestinian houses and their collective punishment.
During these years Intifada began as a spontaneous movement in the occupied territories. The fighters of Intifada were the Palestinian youth who were disappointed at the hollow promises of international organizations and those of the Western governments.
The second round of the Intifada, better know as the “Intifada of Quds”, apparently began after a visit by Ariel Sharon the leader of the Likud Party and six other party leaders of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1998. “The protests of the Muslims against this visit led to the assassination of seven and injury of 255 people on the same day. The attack was the most vigorous one after the massacre of 1996 when the Palestinians confronted the Israeli forces in protest to the construction of a tunnel under the Al-Aqsa Mosque in which 60 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.”
“The next day, violent demonstrations sparked off in most of the cities of the West Bank and Gaza Strip… The Israeli soldiers fired at the demonstrators… The killing of the 12-year old Palestinian child, Muhammad Al-Dowri… and the broadcast of the shooting scene by international TV networks left a global impact on the developments and caused worldwide condemnation of Israel. The ensuing days witnessed the augmentation of demonstrations in various cities of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as in the territories occupied since 1938.”