How Globalization Spurs Terrorism: The Lopsided Benefits of "One World" and Why That Fuels Violence

By Fathali M. Moghaddam | Go to book overview

to come. In hindsight it might seem that we, the feverishly inspired youth of that era, giddy with optimism, were wrong to have had such blind faith in the future. We dared to hope that with one frenzied leap we would escape the long, dark tradition of blind obedience to an all-powerful male demagog, and not simply replace the turban for the crown,2 exchange a dictator Ayatollah for a dictator Shah.

I remember one particularly fine day during that first spring, standing with a leisurely crowd of perhaps two thousand people, listening to political speeches on the grounds of Tehran University, which is located in the center of Tehran, the overcrowded3 capital city of Iran. The speakers presented a range of “pro-democracy” political positions. The crowd, consisting mostly of students, was in good humor and readily laughed when one of the overly earnest speakers attempted a joke. We, who had witnessed a revolution in the world outside and assumed that there had also been a revolution within each of us, seemed ready to imagine the best about one another, to take our outward show and slogans as revealing changes in the deeper worlds within us. Moreover, why should we not assume so? After all, so much had formally changed in politics and the economy, and the army and security apparatus was in complete disarray. Surely these vast, macro-level changes meant that at the micro level of personal behavior, also, we had changed. Surely this meant a bright future for us.

But as if to dash my hopes, a sinister shadow steadily crept over the sun-drenched gathering that day. I became aware of a dark mob forming at the back of the crowd, and when I looked toward the bustling street outside the university gates, I saw hordes of bearded men climbing out of buses, many of them wearing black shirts. Some of them were carrying banners on sticks, but some others wielded sticks with no banners on them.

A harsh chant rose up from the back of the crowd, becoming louder as more bearded men ran onto the campus and hurled themselves into the now turbulent throng behind us,

Only one party, Hezbollah!4
Only one leader, Ruhollah!
Only one party, Hezbollah!
Only one leader, Ruhollah!

The rhythmic chanting grew louder and the rising wave after wave of pressure from the back became stronger, rippling through the crowd and forcing us to jostle forward. At the front of the crowd where I was, we shouted for the pushing to stop and maneuvered nervously, trying

-2-

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