Mossadegh and Sun Yat-sen

By batsman 

These 2 great statesmen are important to us even if they are foreigners. Those who refuse to learn history think that what is happening in Malaysia is unique and new. 

While this is also true, others have gone through the process and there are great similarities in what happened to them and what is happening in Malaysia today. We need not re-invent the whole wheel – maybe add only a few spokes.

Mossadegh was a democratically elected PM of Iran who was trying to introduce secular democracy in Iran. In the tumultuous years of the time, Britain controlled Iran’s oil. Iran received only 16% of all oil profits. Even before Mossadegh was elected PM, there were already moves in Iran to get more money for her own oil, just as Kelantan is trying to get oil royalties. At first the demand was for a 50-50 sharing of profits. Even this was unacceptable to the British (just as it is unacceptable to the BN government to give Kelantan any oil royalties) and the Iranian ruler of the time was deposed with the excuse that he was pro-Nazi. 

Many years later when Mossadegh was elected PM, there was already popular demand in Iran to regain control of her own oil. Mossadegh tried negotiations with the British but this failed. Britain even went to court in The Hague to try and seize control of Iranian oil but failed (just as the BN government often resorts to the Federal Court of Appeal – this time with favourable results). 

Mossadegh eventually nationalised Iranian oil and was promptly declared pro-Soviet and a closet communist. Britain imposed a blockade on Iran – much like what is happening in Gaza now as well as in Iran today. 

Moves were begun to overthrow Mossadegh. The communist bogey was emphasized to alienate Mossadegh from his Muslim allies and reduce his support base. He was further called a Zionist agent and a homosexual in the Iranian press controlled by the British. (Sounds familiar? If UMNO is able to learn and practice the history of dirty tricks, it is up to us to learn how to counter it.) 

Gangsters and Iranian fascists were hired as protestors to make use of the suffering of the Iranian people due to the British naval blockade (again, does this sound familiar?) and when the chosen time arrived, the Iranian military especially the tank corps stormed the capital and arrested Mossadegh. Most of Mossadegh’s followers were tortured to death by the greatly empowered Shah’s secret police (some were accused of committing suicide by jumping off high buildings). 

This has important lessons for us to learn. Any leader trying to introduce democracy will be targeted and the people will be punished for supporting him. It is important for us never to abandon our leaders to the wolves. 

It further teaches us not to rely too much on countries that are supposed to champion democracy and human rights, for as this episode shows; they eventually are more interested in protecting their own wealth and riches and will make all sorts of accusations and all sorts of excuses. 

Sun Yat-sen’s experiences teach us the opposite. When he was trying to introduce democracy to China, many rich and powerful persons jumped on the bandwagon against the self-destructing Manchu imperial regime. 

Sun was the king organizer of revolts – almost 10 in all, culminating in the 1911 Double Tenth revolution. The early revolts (very localized) organized by his followers (often following famines) were mainly supported by poor peasants desperate for land. However, rich landlords and compradors also joined these revolts and when the fighting was over and representatives were elected to oversee defence and distribution of aid, the representatives and leaders of the poor peasants were often murdered and the rich landlords negotiated a return of the imperial Manchu forces. 

Even the 1911 revolution failed because an allied warlord called Yuan Shih-kai betrayed him and slaughtered many of his followers after receiving a huge sum of money from some rich countries to buy arms to expand his armies. 

Again, this has important lessons for us. No movement for democracy is ever easy or simple. It will face external enemies as well as internal opportunists. In the meantime, the established powers will try their very best to impose hardship, make use of the mistakes and actions of the internal opportunists and turn the people against the democratic movement. Good judgment, good sense and high integrity must always prevail. 

It further shows that the actions of the rich countries are consistent with those during the Mossadegh episode as well as their behaviour and mentality even today. This is a historical trend and it shows they are more interested in protecting their own wealth and riches. Their championship of democracy and human rights is just a sham. 

However, as is clear in Iran as in China, a defeated democratic movement is not the end of the world. The Islamic Revolution eventually triumphed in Iran as did the Communist Revolution in China. The defeat of those who are not disciplined enough and not committed enough will open the door for those made of sterner stuff. Even if the established powers try their very best with dirty tricks and vile murders to defeat a democratic movement, eventually, an even fiercer tsunami wave will strike back. That is provided the people are willing to tolerate men and women of sterner stuff i.e. OUR psychopaths versus THEIR psychopaths. heeheehee