Divine Right of Kings
December 6, 1978 — Florida Flambeau
“Even Nixon didn’t claim to be appointed by God.”
The Florida State University newspaper in Tallahassee published this letter to the editor—one of three on Iran that day—opining on the Shah’s recent U.S. TV appearances.
The writer of the letter, Ernie Rehder, earned his Ph.D. in Spanish/Portuguese at FSU and went on to become a professor of those subjects there.
Wednesday, December 6, 1978
Shah of Iran as media star
Up from amidst the sundry and contradictory pretexts for allowing the shah to continue in his non-elected position there has recently arisen, Phoenix-like, the argument that he is a sort of “liberal” under siege from reactionaries and religious fanatics whose principle aspiration in life is to cover women’s faces with veils. Before taking that line too seriously, it might be wise to listen to what the shah has had to say about his alleged liberalism.
In a recent interview with Barbara Walters, Baba Wawa eele meme, the shah stated point-blank to the international viewing audience that women were inferior to men. [It first aired in April 1977] That interview became a tragicomic spectacle, a real psychodrama, as the shah’s wife, [Farah Pahlavi] inappropriately seated at his side then, shed a tear upon perceiving the callous and impolite remarks of her self-proclaimed better half.
In an earlier interview conducted by Mike Wallace, [60 Minutes] the shah, after a few mumbles to the effect that illiteracy was not a serious problem in Iran, came to the point: God (presumably the one called Allah, not to be confused with the CIA) had chosen him to rule over Iran. Wallace, his objectivity afire, reiterated the question: “Did God pick you?” “Yes,” said the shah, “not only is God on my side but I am also his representative in Iran.”
These statements of his Highness, which are faithfully recreated in spirits if not precisely in letter (no instant replays available), lead us to conclude that A) the shah believes women are inferior and B) he believes in the Divine Rights of Kings. Putting A and B together, without even delving into other incriminating evidence, we must furthermore conclude that the shah is reactionary. Since his opponents, including both the religiously and politically inspired (i.e., that seven-eighths of the population not affiliated with Savak), called for elections after his departure, then they must necessarily be classified as more democratic and progressive than the shah. Divinely inspired rulers do not run as candidates.
Who, then, is more reactionary than the shah? Very few people, be they from Iran or elsewhere. Even Nixon didn’t claim to be appointed by God.
FSU Student Likens Shah of Iran To “Rabid Dog” (November 8, 1978)
No way Iran will be a Vietnam — Letter in Florida Flambeau (December 6, 1978)
Pro-Shah Film Screening Shut Down By Protestors (November 1973)
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”