Iranian and Saudi Youth Try to Bury 1979 – by Thomas Friedman – NYT

“The biggest question about the recent protests in Iran — combined with the recent lifting of religious restrictions in Saudi Arabia — is whether together they mark the beginning of the end of the hard-right puritanical turn that the Muslim world took in 1979, when, as Middle East expert Mamoun Fandy once observed, “Islam lost its brakes” and the whole world felt it.

The events of 1979 diminished the status of women, pluralism and modern education across the Arab-Muslim region, and they fueled religious extremist groups like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and ISIS, whose activities have brought ruin to so many innocent Muslims and non-Muslims alike — and so many metal detectors to airports across the globe.

I know a bit about 1979. I began my career then as a cub reporter in Beirut, where I promptly found myself writing about the following events: the ayatollahs’ takeover in Iran, creating a hard-right Shiite clerical regime bent on spreading its Islamic revolution and veiling of women across the Muslim world; and the takeover of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by puritanical Sunni extremists, which freaked out the Saudi ruling family. The family reacted by purging music, fun and entertainment from their desert kingdom, strengthening the hold of the religious police over their society and redoubling the export of the most misogynist, antipluralistic interpretation of Islam to mosques and madrasas from London to Jakarta.”

The year was pivotal to their countries, but they reject the changes it brought.


Yes, Great piece by Thomas Friedman.
Here is a top comment I endorse:
David Underwood is a trusted commenter Citrus Heights 18 hours ago
“Iran was a very progressive country before the Eisenhower/Churchill engineered overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953 for the benefit of British Petroleum, Standard Oil, shell, and four other petroleum companies known as the Seven Sisters.. Iran has not known Democracy since. The Dulles Brothers and their virulent ant communism were the motivating force behind this as Iran was seen as becoming a Socialist state.

But the descent of Islam begins with the crusades and through 1492 with the expulsion if the Umayyad’s from Andalusia by the Christian forces. It was the progressive culture of the times, it gave us the numbers we use and algebra. It had hospitals and advance medical treatment of the times. But the Umayyad and Sassanid factions were enemies due to different interpretations of the Koran. The Saudi Sunni’s are descendants of those Umayyad’s. But they long abandoned the progressive ways of them.

Christianity is as much responsible for the retreat of Islam as they are themselves. Arabic literature was the prime source of learning around the Mediterranean and the libraries were destroyed by the Christians. Many of their great mosques were either destroyed or defiled such as the one in Cordoba.

The Iranians are descendants of the Persians, indo Europeans, the Saudis are Semites. They both have histories if learning an knowledge, hopefully their young will return to these roots.”
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About David Lindsay Jr

David Lindsay is the author of "The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth- Century Vietnam," that covers a bloody civil war from 1770 to 1802. Find more about it at, also known as, David Lindsay is currently writing about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction., as well as singing and performing a "folk concert" on Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction. He can be reached at daljr37(at)
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