This weekend, the Persian community was out en masse expressing something tied to the Iranian election in front of the federal building on Wilshire. As i drove by the throngs i saw the waving of the familiar tricolor Iranian Flag, but with one noticeable difference. A golden lion in the center holding a saber of some sort.
WHICH is different than the Islamic Revolution flag that we all know and love.
Wikipedia describes the lion symbol as "Traditional in Iranian Heraldry" whereas the symbol on the Islamic revolution flag is described thusly: "a highly stylized composite of various elements representing different facets of Islamic life: Allah, the Book, the Sword, the five principles of Islam, balance, unity, neutrality, and the universal government of the downtrodden." Complex symbolism aside, i find it stunning that the Persian community would hearken to an oppressive Monarchy while "Supporting" people who are giving their lives for a fair, democratic election.
Are the protesters in Tehran opposed to the Islamic Revolution of 1979/80/? No. Their candidate (Mousavi) was Prime Minister in the government and is certainly not a Monarchist or counterrevolutionary.
Ahmadinejad is an embarrassment to Iran, much like G.W Bush was to us, and like Bush, Ahmdinejad is widely despised in the cities for his buffoonery, but embraced by the rural communities on who's ignorance he preys. Despite the discrepancies in voting records, it seems unlikely that Mousavi won the election. We stand behind the people of Iran in this hour, because the people should be able to petition the government through peaceful demonstration without fear of retribution or death. We stand for justice and demand a fair counting of ballots and fair representation of the people. However, if we are to retain a moral high ground (If we have one left)then we must respect and acknowledge the right of the Iranian people of self-determination.
I pray the Persian community of Los Angeles isn't making the same mistake that was made by the Cuban community of Miami where manic anti-Castro sentiment has supplanted common sense. Both the Government of Fulgencio Batista and that of Mohammad Rezā Shāh were governments that collapsed under the weight of their own greed and a total indifference to the suffering of the people.
Inserting monarchist symbols into this is counterproductive, unrealistic and offensive to the memory of those who have already died protesting for fair elections, true representation, and free speech.