Running head: REVIEW 1
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Islamism and Iranian Revolutions are difficult for Americans and Westerners to comprehend, because it is hard for them to understand how a government could be replaced with people who represent religious radicalism. That was the case with Iranian revolution. During that time, Pahlavi dynasty was overthrown by the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Iranian revolution started with demonstrations against the current Shah. They began in 1977. The strikes became stronger and attracted more people. In 1978, they stopped all of production in the country. One can speak about total paralysis of the economic system in Iran. The Shah flew from Iran and was replaced by the Ayatollah Khomeini. The latter was specifically invited to the country where he was met and greeted by many Iranians who wanted him as their leader. He received official power after military clash between his supporters and troops who supported Shah. Khomeinis supporters won, and, consequently, it led to the change of the political system within the country. It was no longer a monarchy, because after the success of the revolution, it became Islamic Republic. Most of the Iranians voted in favor of such a change since they wanted their country to become theocratic country with the main emphasis on Islam. Hence, Iran became a theocratic-republican constitution where the main power was in hands of a religious leader Khomeini. He dictated the further development of the country with its emphasis on Islam.
The revolution was very interesting, because it was not like ordinary revolutions. It was not caused by an instant stir or change. It began in the country where people were used to be living the way they were. As one may know, the revolution needs certain reasons to begin. For example, in rich and well-developed countries, one needs a certain dramatic change to begin the revolution. An example may be seen with financial collapse or inability of the government to pay people salaries. Another example can be seen with the change of political direction, unfavorable political decisions or political pressure people feel. In such cases, citizens are more likely to protest. They express their ideas and try to change the government (or at least make it change its mind). Nevertheless, it was not the case with Iranian revolution. It was true that the government was Conservative and opposed many changes. It was also focused on religion. The conditions within the country were rather bad, but it was something that lasted for a long time. Hence, there were no significant problems, which could cause a reaction as big as it was. The only visible reason for disappointment was the fact that Shah was very dependent on the Americans government. Still, the fact that Iranian revolution began and reached such an extent was a surprise to many. People did not expect it to become so big, and they did not believe it could actually succeed. The fact that revolution of such a size could lead to a successful ending was rather unexpected in Iran, which was known for its conservatism and overall calm situation with little changes.
Another strange thing about the revolution was the fact that the government did not really renew. Although the main leader changed, the country did not become democratic after that. More than that, it became much more conservative than it used to be. Ayatollah Khomeini was well known as a person who opposed everything from the West. He turned the country into a strictly Islamic state where the religion became the official law. Hence, it is hard to understand the revolution from the Western point of view.
Nevertheless, the main idea about the revolution was its Islamism. The revolution led to the fact that Islamism became the dominant ideology in the country. Hence, it dictated all of the political and other decisions. In this case, one has to analyze Islam as the main focus of the revolution. In fact, this religion was strong enough to unite the entire nation and lead it to change something people did not like. It was because Islamic religion happened in the first place.
Islam as a religion should be viewed as an ideology, which emphasizes on the need to be spread. Thus, its followers goals include spreading Islam and strengthening its positions. It was the true case with the revolution in Iran. People did not think of themselves as of Iranians. They thought of themselves as Muslims who wanted their religion to determine the countrys future. Hence, they fought for the rights of that religion. The religious focus changes the perspectives one may have toward the revolution. To some, it may seem like the revolution was not a step forward, but a step behind.
Nevertheless, one should return to analysis of Islam as the main motivator that cemented the revolution. Islam as a revolutionary force united people and caused them to strike. Nevertheless, as a religion it could not go beyond its principles. Thus, after the revolution, the country did not become citizens-friendly. Sadly, although there was a Constitution written, which protected basic human rights. It was not enough for the country to evolve into a democratic state. Even more, the term democratic was later forbidden by Khomeini who considered it to be something from the West. The revolution caused a lot of reaction, which was mostly anti-Western and against innovations. There was an increasing pressure on the opposition, and Khomeini was not against using radical methods in order to strengthen his power and influence. After the revolution, the country was in the state of chaos, and it was very difficult to return it to the normal state. Nevertheless, after Khomeini was able to strengthen his positions, his political direction focused on establishing stricter rules within a country as well as opposing everything, which went beyond Islamic doctrine.
Thus, the overall review of Iranian revolution shows that Islamism has had a significant effect on its development. It determined the main events and consequences of the revolution as well as a strange change of political leaders. The country did not change and innovate. On the other hand, it became more focused on religion instead of progressive changes. Hence, instead of rebuilding and redeveloping, the country became much more conservative. Lastly, the revolution was interesting since it showed that the religious focus was rather a way back instead of forward.