In the path of the Imam (57)
As a reminder, we said that one of the ills in every system, especially revolutionary ones, is that some groups and individuals try to influence the political leaders in a bid to divert the policies and plans of the country toward their personal or corporate interests.
These individuals or groups try to block the correct ways of leaders and canalize the news and information to affect the minds of the leaders and decision-makers to their own favour. We also said that Imam Khomeini (RA) closed the way of these people’s infiltration and didn’t let them exploit their position. Building permanent relation with different strata of people, getting information and news from various channels, listening to the domestic and foreign news and urging the officials to present real analyses were the tools that the Imam used to prevent the profiteers and ill-wishers who intended to impact Imam Khomeini’s mind. Stay tuned for more.
One of the characteristics of Imam Khomeini was that he never appointed any representative or spokesperson. Many people, especially those around the Imam, liked to introduce themselves as trustees of Imam Khomeini to gain political popularity and status in society. One of the companions of the Imam during his exile in Paris says, “Some people would speak to domestic or foreign journalists as the Imam’s spokesperson or representative. But the Imam said, ‘I have neither a spokesperson nor a representative and I declare this.’ Thus, it was written in bold letters in English, Arabic, French and Farsi and was put on the walls and trees that the Imam had no spokesperson or representative.”
Dear listeners, Imam Khomeini would not allow even his dearest and most reliable companions to affect his personal or political affairs, for, he was quite aware of the bitter consequences of this issue. He didn’t let even to his elder son to be his spokesperson although he had full trust in him. One of the Imam’s companions says, “The Imam respected the scientific personality of his son. He considered Haaj Aqa Mustafa Khomeini as an authority, a philosopher and a jurisprudent; but never let him interfere in his combative course and even didn’t let the greatest and most eminent person like late Haaj Aqa Mustafa Khomeini to be his spokesman.”
One of the ways to influence and impact political leaders is to publish drafts of their letters or statements. In many countries, there are individuals called speechwriters whose job is to prepare speeches for top leaders such as presidents and premiers. This may seem quite natural as the heads of states are a lot of duties to handle and they cannot address all of them. Thus, these speechwriters and or offices conduct expertise and then prepare the draft of a specific issue. Then they present it to the top official to decide accordingly. This is an accepted process in every political system across the world. Yet, it is detrimental since the individuals, who are intent to influence the leaders and decision-makers, exploit this opportunity to gain their vested interest and nefarious goals. It may seem unimaginable that the letters and stances of a political leader are always prepared by him. Imam Khomeini was a unique leader that no one could even write the draft of his letters. The rough copies of his letters exist in the archive of documents of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This shows the extent of Imam Khomeini’s political acumen.
The Imam’s younger son, Haaj Ahmad Khomeini, said in this regard, “The Imam used to write very fast; for instance, a large page in a quarter of an hour. It is really hard as he would count on every sentence. And as you know he had a special style. Although, when something is to be said on a particular issue, it is common that the aides prepare a draft and the president or a figure reads it and they say their views, the Imam has written all his statements himself. There is not a single statement but the Imam has written it.”
Imam Khomeini used to be in contact with different persons and strata in society to gain the most accurate information of events and prevent the influence of individuals, groups and lobbies. Besides, once he made up his mind, he would not allow any person or group to undermine the decision or dispute on it. This was very constructive and effective particularly at the moments that he had to say his opinion to take the country or the government out of a very tough situation. One of the officials in the 1980s says, “The Imam’s support for the government was in a way that he just supported it once and incidentally. He would sum up all issues and move with much contemplation. He would wait till the information was complete and everyone spoke, for, different strata were in touch with him. This was a good feature of his house. Different groups would raise their issues and the Imam, with a sharp mind, would sum up them and, after contemplation on issues, would stand firmly on a conclusion that he had made.”
He also describes Imam Khomeini’s trait of accepting consultations, saying, “When people came to the Imam and talked to him, he would listen to them but conclusion was his special feature. He had his own take on what had been said and it was the most solid, the best and the strongest take.”
Another prominent characteristic of Imam Khomeini was that, in spite of being firm, determined and intransigent, once the friends and companions reached a conclusion and informed the Imam about it, he would let the decision be executed although he would express his opposition. Yet, in most cases, it was Imam Khomeini’s opinion that was right. Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili narrated an interesting account in this connection, “The Imam would give his opinion on an issue. Although it was contrary to everybody’s opinion, they would feel that that was right. I remember we were talking about a certain person for the ministry of agriculture. Imam Khomeini said, ‘Depose him.’ But Mr. Beheshti, Mr. Bahonar and me didn’t think it good to depose him. The Imam said, ‘Well, if you insist, that’s all right. But you will regret it one day.’ Later on we saw that the Imam’s opinion was correct. We again went to him. The Imam was waiting for us to speak. Contrary to previous times, I began speaking. I said, ‘Your Excellency, we have come to give you good news that you were right.’ The Imam would give his opinion decisively. He would tell us, ‘We are not obligated to what happens. We are obligated to utter what come to our mind.”
One of the methods of Imam Khomeini to overcome the efforts of influential individuals and groups was to keep his house and near ones impartial. He would react seriously toward setting grounds for influence of others by the members of the house, near ones or those affiliated to him.
Hojjat-ol-Eslam Ashtiani mentions an interesting memory of Imam Khomeini’s sensitivity and precision toward impartiality of his house, “When Bani Sadr’s personality was revealed to us, we would face him indifferently and we were really upset with his actions and behavior. One day he was going to meet the Imam. He faced indifference of the members of the Imam’s office and even the guards of the house. When the Imam was informed of our cold contact with Bani Sadr, he was upset and wrote to all members of the office and the house, ‘In my house, people should be impartial and in my house nobody should be insulted. Islamic morals should be observed hundred percent. If the gentlemen cannot do this way, they are religiously duty-bound to get out of my house.’ In the letter it was said to the guards, ‘You must be impartial hundred percent and observe Islamic morals.’”
Imam Khomeini had emphatically told his near ones not to recommend anything to any of the officials since it would lead to political corruption and would set the ground for influential and opportunistic persons.