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Iranian Voices: Tunisia and 'Exporting the Revolution'

16 Jan 2011 22:02Comments

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Iran's state-controlled media has been widely presenting the ouster of the Tunisian president as a revolution, one inspired by Iran's Islamic Revolution of 1979. The comments below show Iranians from different walks of life reacting to the "Tunisian revolution."

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"God liberated (wait for it) Tunisia! Dear Lord to the right, right, right -- no that's Afghanistan. A little to the left. That's it, that's Iran (help help save us) please liberate us too."

--Courtesy of "You Call This a Country" blog

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"Tunis tunest [did it], Iran natunest [couldn't do it]."

--Text message circulating around Iran

* Play on words: "Tunisia" (like the French pronunciation of Tunis) sounds like the verb "to do" in the Persian language.

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"It's okay to celebrate for now. We did the same thing.... I'll tell you in about 20 years what you got yourselves into."

--Journalist, 28

* Addressed to the Tunisian "revolutionaries."

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"The Tunisia situation is a lot like the Constitutional Revolution [of the early 1900s] in Iran. One started with the self-immolation of a vendor and the other with the flogging of merchants. Moral of the story: Tunisians are a hundred years behind Iranians."

--History teacher, 54

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"Alcohol must be free in Tunisia. All revolutions are the result of alcohol consumption. Vodka started the Russian Revolution, wine the French Revolution, and beer was responsible for our revolution."

--Armenian-Iranian, 32

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"God rest my grandmother's soul in peace. She was right to say experience is gained through hardship, given away for free but no one wants it. Tunisians should have learned from our experience. Once revolutionaries take over there is no going back."

--Shopkeeper, 65

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"It makes me go back to days when I was young and stupid and didn't know any better."

--Cab driver, 50

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"Tunisians have really gone overboard. The last revolution was ours -- it's fine with us if you want to copy our revolution, just don't forget to pay us our copyright."

--Graphic designer, 25

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"We revolted with a leader and an ideology and this is how it turned out for us. I feel sorry for the Tunisians, who brought about a revolution without leadership or an ideology."

--Anonymous comment on Persian-language website

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"The lessons the Tunisian revolution has for Iran: Never revolt if you want to try the dictator, because if you do [revolt], he will flee the country and you won't get your hands on him."

--Activist, 26

* After resigning, former Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali quickly fled to Malta. He attempted to proceed to France, but was turned back. He eventually was welcomed by Saudi Arabia.

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"Great. We succeeded in exporting the revolution to Tunisia. Where to next?"

--Journalist, 24

* Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini coined the expression "exporting the revolution."

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"Agha [the Supreme Leader] was right about Islamic awakening and the Muslim world learning from the successful example of our revolution. Inshallah, the values of the Revolution will reach every corner of the Muslim world."

--Basij member, 37

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"The two-week presence of Tunisians on the streets clearly shows they suffer from Islamic awakening or, in laymen's terms, Islamic insomnia."

--Journalist, 29

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"The behavior of Tunisians is more like spam than email because they brought on a revolution without leadership or ideology."

--IT engineer, 29

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"You call this a nation?"

--Anonymous comment on Persian-language website

* A reference to Tunisians ousting their president within six days, while Iranians were unable even to force the nullification of a dubious vote count in the last presidential election.

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"Ben Ali, please tell Seyyed Ali [Khamenei] to follow you wherever you go!"

--Joke among Tehranis

Copyright © 2011 Tehran Bureau

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