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The Difficulties of Our Revolution

In all fairness, our Islamic revolution has :been the source of great transformations in many corners of the world, and we, as the source of revolution, are naturally the most affected by these transformations. In the wake of our revolution, we have a mission which is as grand and formidable as the challenges we encounter. Passing through this difficult stage requires much wisdom and far-sightedness, as well as patience and perseverance.

Although Islam had existed for centuries in the collective consciousness of believers as a collection of thoughts and values, our revolution propelled it into the contemporary political and social sphere, where it stands steadfast against its opponents. At the same time, this development has brought three novel challenges to the fore: our people's expectations, the opponent's treachery and conspiracy, and discord within our society.

First, our people's expectations. Now that a new system based on new ideas has taken over the reins of governance, people expect a great deal from it. This is especially true of those who have sacrificed for the system. Before the Islamic revolution, people did not have many expectations because our economy, culture, politics, and educational system were dominated by the enemy, giving us the sense that we were not masters of our own fate. But as an Islamic and independent government has come to power-as all of the state's resources have been placed in Islam's hands-people have the right to expect the fulfillment of their needs and wants.

People wish to know specifically how the new system will regulate their lives and guarantee their rights. They also want to know the system's policy toward science, and technology, as well as social justice and equity.

At this juncture, people will not be satisfied with promises alone; they want real, tangible, and practical results. Our system will be successful only if it can meet these expectations.

Some expectations are undoubtedly unrealistic. No government can work miracles overnight and eradicate all bottlenecks. Nor have all of people's expectations been based on a realistic appraisal of available resources. It is conceivable that unrealistic visions as well as impractical and unattainable ideologies have spurred these exaggerated expectations. Still, government must have the power to satisfy people's needs and guide them to modify their expectations and views. If it is not possible to meet all expectations-and it is not-at least people have to be convinced that our orientation is generally toward a fulfilling life, focused on meeting their spiritual and material needs.

Our society has to believe that what the revolution was offered and what it expects of people will simultaneously meet individual and societal needs, utilizing all of society's human resources and achievements. Society must also believe that our system is not burdened with the shortcomings and strains that bedevil our opponents. The natural expectations of people put officials and the elite under great pressure to perform, and the enemy fans the flames of people's expectations in various ways.

Second, the opponent's treachery and conspiracy. Before the victory of our revolution we had many theoretical disagreements with opposing schools of thought. Those confrontations were easy to carry out because there was no real friction. But when ideas are put into practice and taken to the social and political sphere, opponents feel more threatened and thus resort to more violent and comprehensive confrontation.

Conspiracy to overthrow the revolutionary system, spying, economic pressure fomenting pessimism and dejection among our people, attributing all our problems to the system's officials and portraying them as incompetent in meeting people's difficulties, and even resorting to military force to damage the revolution and its popular base, are among actions taken by opponents who see their interests threatened by the new system. Our great nation in this period has experienced all sorts of enemy conspiracies. Just when the system and its managers need people's calm and optimism more than ever to focus all their thoughts and ingenuity on meeting society's needs, we encounter a heavy storm of enmity and conspiracy that sometimes forces us to focus our scarce resources on counteracting the danger posed by the foreign enemy and its domestic sympathizers.

These are among our greatest difficulties at this juncture, and there is no other way than to confront these realities. In the midst of these pressing difficulties, we must persevere and march on with patience, confidence, and wisdom.

Third, discord within. In the last hundred years our society has experienced two acute woes which have weakened' and undermined its fabric. These woes have become more chronic and troubling at this sensitive juncture in our history. One is secular intellectualism, the other being unenlightened religious dogma.

Adapted from the book: "Islam, Dialogue and Civil Society" by: "Sayyid Mohammad Khatami"

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