Thursday, January 28, 2010

Forty Days Since Montazeri’s Death

Grand Ayatollah Ali Montazeri died forty days ago today. Traditionally, the deceased is memorialized on the fortieth day after his death. The cyclical forty day mourning period gave structure to the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and there had been hope that a similar structure might take shape in the wake of the violence following last summer’s election. Remarkably, while Montazeri’s death was accompanied by renewed, widespread demonstrations and violence, there have been no reports of demonstrations marking the fortieth day following his death.

In fact, the little news coming out of Iran today seems to suggest that the only people taking notice of Montazeri’s forty days are in the regime—and they have done so by executing two dissidents.

That said, the large protests following Montazeri’s death occurred seven days after he died, on the day of Ashura. Ashura itself commemorates the martyrdom of Hussein and a smaller commemoration usually occurs forty days hence. Perhaps today’s conspicuously absent protests will occur seven days hence, marking the fortieth day since Ashura.

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