Iran's Cultural Memory

Abbas Milani recounts the resilient cultural history of Iran:

More than once in Iran’s history, after the country was vanquished by outsidersfrom Arabs to Mongolsthe culture of the conquered survived and eventually molded the customs of the victors to its own pattern. It is hard to imagine that the 1979 revolution will be an exception to this enduring reality. ...

In Tehran alone, 3 million people marched in remarkable discipline to demand their democratic rights. Their slogan pithily captured in a mere four words the hundred-year-old dream of modernity and democracy in Iran. Using thugs and guns, prison and torture, the ayatollah has so far succeeded in intimidating the people back into their homes. But a critical look at the past shows the bleak future of Khamenei and other champions of despotism. Violence can only delay but not destroy the rights of man in a nation that has embraced the cultural ethos of modernity. The hushed, brutalized quiet of today is at best a prelude to the liberating storms of tomorrow.