I just finished reading a book titled Children of Paradise:The Struggle for the Soul of Iran written by Laura Secor. I found this book to be stunningly eyeopening. Frequently I am amazed at how poorly informed we are as American citizens but after reading this account of the years from the revolution, overthrow of the Shah and the years of struggle and conflict that followed in Iran I feel like a mushroom kept in the dark and fed manure. Secor paints a picture of a significant number of the population of Iran struggling mightily for a country that has a secular political base. According to Secor the Islamic Republic party has held control through fear, intimidation, censorship and election fraud during the years that followed. Their government style is an authoritarian theocracy.
Secor explains this government rules the country with their narrow, fundamental interpretation of Islam and rejects all opposition even from more moderate clerics. Anyone who opposes them has been imprisoned, threatened and tortured or their families threatened until they confess to trumped up charges designed to humiliate, discredit and dishonor them. They are certain that Western countries and the CIA are behind the opposition and this may very well be true since it seems we have a chronic need to meddle in the affairs of other countries in the name of human rights but only countries we have an economic interest in such as middle eastern oil.
The invasion by American troops of Iraq had a devastating impact on Iran which was also at war with Iraq. The population of Iran suffered tremendous human and economic losses. Secor gives a detailed account of the horror and atrocities the people suffered. If the US was involved in the actions of the rebels we did nothing to protect and ease the suffering of the people. Our need to spread democracy around the world has created untold suffering of the populations of those countries we allegedly were helping. Thousands have been executed or have died in prisons. The situation is similar to life under Stalin or Hitler where a relatively small number of zealots determined to force their principles and values on a population come to power through fear and intimidation.
This book is a must read for all those concerned about the continuing middle eastern conflicts and the thousands of displaced people of these countries. A truth seeking for the cause or causes of the conflicts is called for from the people of the world and particularly in this country where we are so isolated and deprived of real factual information about world news.