imam khomeini mosque, isfahan october 2007
entrance iwan leading to the imam khomeini mosque in the imam khomeini square...everything called "imam" was formerly known as "shah", hinting at a particular persian pathology: the belief in the strong man or "supreme leader", as he is now known.
the original strong man seems to be shah abbas the great, the man behind the monuments of isfahan, portrayed everywhere as clever, just, powerful, you name it...he may well have been all these things, but he is long gone and while iran goes from one strong man to the next there's no new abbas is in sight.
I pity the nations who suffer from the myth of the great leader: russia, china, and to some extent the US of A. it is a little easier being a Dane in that respect: in a 1000 years, our own inbred royals have produced no greatness whatsoever, their time in power is the history of lost wars and bankruptcies, making parliamentary democracy a sweet relief to all. indeed, their pitiable present fate as a function of the tabloid press is living proof to all that hard work beats state subsidy anytime.
in iran, people still look to the guy with the longest beard for answers. populist president Ahmadinejad, taking on the world, is just the latest and one can only fear the price iranians will pay for his politics.