Cape Town (IP)- All we see from the West is belligerence and warmongering and destruct life of all nations, Dr. Allan Boesak a prominent anti-Apartheid resistance leader says.

Iran PressAfrica: Dr. Allan Boesak is a prominent anti-Apartheid resistance leader who led various marches and rallies during the struggle for liberation. As a preacher, he used his position to evoke public consciousness in the anti-Apartheid struggle. He is noted for his leadership of the United Democratic Front(UDF). 

In an interview with Iran Press, he explained Imam Khomeini's beliefs and thoughts.

The full text of the interview is as follows,

Question: What about Imam Khomeini influenced the reality of today, that he is recognized, irrespective of whether countries/people liked him or not?

Answer: I think that the Ayatollah had such a tremendous impact on people and politics in Iran and elsewhere because he was a man of such clear and unequivocal convictions. He truly believed what he said and he was committed to bringing into practice those things that he believed. That’s the kind of authority and authenticity, even from such a vast distance, from France to Iran that impacted people and made people believe in their own ability to do things in history that they previously may not have thought of. 

For me, his greatest achievement was that he was able to empower people, to awaken people enough so that they would take hold of their own agency and realize that their role in changing, not only their society, but in changing history at that moment, was a role that they should take, and they can take, and that their faith, of course, was the strongest rock on which they built all of that. And the outcome we know now is that historic overturning in Iran at that time.

Question: What is the role that faith plays in bringing about this sort of change?

Answer: What Iran did in overturning, and overthrowing that brutal dictatorship…it was a showdown in the deepest sense of the word with the most powerful empire in our world today. And that is done, not only by a political understanding, (or) a socio-economic interpretation of the moment in history but of the very firm belief that this is not the world that God has created for us, this is not the destiny that God had in mind for us. So when you anchor your political understanding, your understanding of who you are as a human being and what your role is in this world, and your faith is strong enough, it is amazing what that kind of thing can achieve.We saw a little bit of that in South Africa, much of what we did here was driven by our faith. My own political involvement purely came from my own convictions that were grounded in my faith, that God is a God of justice, that God is a God of freedom, and that liberation is the call of a Christian person in the world. And I saw what impact that had on a whole young generation who sat in my sermons in Church every week. And so I understand a little bit – it was not on the scale of what was happening in Iran under the Ayatollah (Khomeini) - but I understand what that means, once that spirituality is not a spirituality of passivity but a spirituality of combat for justice and for righteousness and for freedom.

Question: How did the revolution in Iran impact you?

Answer: Very clearly, it was almost a vindication. There were people – and they were powerful people, but they were not bad people – but they argued that religion is still, in the old Marxist terminology ‘no more than the opium of the people’; (that) religion always brings people into an attitude of servitude and acceptance of the most hideous forms of oppression and insults and humiliation. And what the Ayatollah showed the world and people of faith is not only that religion can be a totally different understanding of how you see your place in the world and the struggles in this world, but religion is essential, because religion brings the kind of passion that goes beyond just adhering to certain political or ideological principles. Faith is not an ideological principle. Faith is a force of life and it gives us meaning. It gives a totally different meaning to why I am in this struggle.

Question: Looking at Imam Khomeini’s decisive decision-making, when it came to for example relations with Apartheid South Africa and with Israel. He severed ties as a principled decision, not trying to balance the political aspects as we find with many leaders today. What does this tell us and what lessons can be learned about the politics of today and how Imam Khomeini treated these affairs?

Answer: That is the other thing, can you as a leader not only set an example but also set a standard for what we call today the politics of honesty and decency, the politics of courage, the politics of compassion? …And then once you have set that bar and you refuse to give up even in the face of the strongest adversaries and the strongest opposition … Israel was right next door threatening Iran all the time with the backing of the United States – the mightiest power that we have in the world and maybe still have, even though that is now crumbling, thank God. But I tell you, it is that kind of resoluteness. He (Imam Khomeini) knew that politics means nothing if it is not filled with these ethical and moral convictions that you turn into practical examples of what one must do. And politics means nothing if it remains nice-sounding speeches, even religious speeches, but not turning that into the kind of politics that helps the people to resist oppression in whatever way it comes.Breaking (ties) with Israel, and Apartheid South Africa at a time when no country in the Middle East had done…that was enormous. And that again set an example. Now nobody could say ‘Oh it’s so difficult because of this reason. Oh, it’s too hard because of this reason because Iran has shown that it can be done. And not only that it can be done, but this is the only kind of politics that a country that respects itself, that respects its people, that respects its dignity, that respects its faith… that’s the only politics such a country can follow. And I wish that there were more politicians today in our world of political relativism, that they call political realism… which is really politics of selling out and as cheaply as possible, of being bribed, to stand on one single side and not strong enough, not courageous enough to know that my people’s dignity is at stake if I make a wrong decision here. And that is what he(Imam Khomeini) understood, I think, more than what people give him credit for.

Question: How do you think the Iranian revolution, Imam Khomeini’s ideology, has influenced or impacted on the balance of power in the world, which we are seeing continue now…

Answer: The foundations upon which geo-politics and geo-economics have been built, at least since the Second World War…all of that is fundamentally changing. And Iran is not just part of it now, Iran is at the forefront of it now, whereas it becomes clear that the power of peaceful diplomacy and changing hearts and minds with a view of shaping a different world … that doesn’t come from the West, not at all. All we see from the West is belligerence and warmongering and destruction of life and nations and they don’t care. Whereas that new understanding, it comes from the east, from China and Russia, and Iran in that mix … I think that none of that - certainly for Iran thinking “what kind of country we are, what kind of people we should be, what kind of role (should we play) - I don’t think that that would have been possible if it was not for that first foundational shift that took place in 1979. That changed the view of the Iranians themselves about themself. That changed the view of the world about the place(internationally) of Iran. The fact that after 1979, with all that immense pressure, year after year, one president after the other, one government after the other government in the UK and in Europe and in the United States bringing immense pressure on Iran to break Iran down, to bring Iran back to what they wanted Iran to be, namely a vessel for the West to be exploited and not to be respected. In spite of all of that, now look at all of these years, Iran stood firm. That would not have happened it if were not for 1979. And so, what happened in 1979 has had a lasting impact in one way or the other on what is happening in the world today. And I am very curious to see where this will lead us. But if this leads us away from this unipolar world, to a multi-polar, peaceful coexistent world, I would be very grateful. And Iran should remain where it is, in that forefront to make that happen.


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