Thursday, February 16, 2006

How Much Damage did Mr. Hakhaa do?

About a year ago, a man by the name of Mr. Ahura Pirooz Yazdi began speaking on an Iranian satellite channel that was broadcast into Iran. His message was captivating; unlike the many other satellite channels, Mr. Yazdi, or Mr. Hakhaa as he was later called by those mocking him, not only spoke out against the regime, but he also prophesised the exact moment that the regime would fall. His plan was to pack planes full of Iranians and non-Iranians alike and then miraculously fly them all to Iran where the Islamic Regime would be overwhelmed by the simultaneous arrival of the airplanes and the millions of people who were supposed to horde into the streets to welcome the travelers. You can probably guess what happened. There were no planes; there were no crowds; and Mr. Hakhaa mysteriously disappeared for about six months only to reappear and repeat the same shenanigan all over again.

I can wager that many of you, regardless of whether you heard of Mr. Hakhaa or not, are sitting in your seats chuckling. “How can anybody fall for that nonsense,” you may be asking yourself. Well, the truth is that Mr. Hakhaa created quite a big stir. Even I (I’m ashamed to say it) took notice and followed his broadcasts regularly the first time around. Although I wasn’t exactly a “believer,” I really wanted to believe. I began the desperate attempts at convincing myself that the plan, while deceivingly simple, could potentially work. I began daydreaming about the crowds in the streets and the planes landing at Mehrabad International Airport. In one of my daydreams I even saw myself on the plane! I probably wasn’t the only one. Judging by the amount of people who regularly called into his show and the amount of discussion that it created among Iranians, I am positive that there were many like me. In fact, rumour has it that Mr. Hakhaa walked away with a pocket full of money from hopeful Iranians who did more then just daydream.

With all this said, there is one question that I haven’t heard any Iranian ask: How much damage did Mr. Hakhaa do? I bet that some Iranians are too afraid to pose this question because the implications could be discouraging. Mr. Hakhaa’s success lay in his ability to reach out to the common layperson. His scheme had three important attributes. First, he had a plan that he shared with everybody. Second, he had an exact time in which his plan would be carried out. Third, he appealed to the person’s emotion. The combination of these three factors allowed him to reach out to not only those with university educations, but those everyday individuals who the opposition groups need in order to carry out a successful revolution. It’s not hard to get students and teachers to demonstrate against the unfair practices of the regime. It is these people who, by virtue of their education, are prone to question their surroundings. But if the hearts of the general population of Iran are crushed it will make the job of the opposition groups even harder when the time comes to do the dirty deed.

I truly can’t answer the question of how much damage Mr. Hakhaa did. I don’t think anybody knows. But the opposition groups and those working outside of Iran in order to foment change from within must take this into consideration. As it is, the people in Iran are already pessimistic about politicians. I can wager that Mr. Hakhaa's adventures only hightened this pessimism.

Marg Bar Jumhurieh Eslami.


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