Keeping an open mind
Monarchy, republic, or secular democracy
February 19, 2002
In my last posting, "Of
kings and cylinders", I made mention of a pro-Pahlavi pen-pal friend
of mine who lives in London. He is extremely irate with me for using our private
correspondence as the basis for that article. He probably will be all the more angry
with me for using his present displeasure as a subject for yet another writing. But
here it goes anyway. I know he will understand and I apologize beforehand for this
insensitivity on my part.
"Dear Guive," he opened. "How are you, hope you and your family
are well? Your reply to my friendly and private email which I had sent you was recently
brought to my attention. I must admit I was taken by surprise reading about myself
on Iranian.com. Especially that you had even indicated my locality! I am grateful
that you did not give my email or surname in your article ...."
"I was shocked to read you[r] strong attack on me," the letter continued,
"I had made the assumption that you were a constitutional monarchist ...."
"If you decide to reply to my email," he closed, "please take this
as a friendly email ... and please do not publish it on Iranian.com. Besides ...
reasons, I don't like that publication as it has never published any of my letters
I was dumbfounded at Bahram's dismay. How could he possibly consider any reference
kings and cylinders" to his correspondence with me as a public disclosure
of his identity. I would have thought that Bahram was not the only Bahram in London,
with pro-Pahlavi tendencies. While using his letter to me as a basis for a reflective
(one would hope) piece may have been a breach of a private expectation of privacy,
it could hardly be deemed a reckless and wanton form of public betrayal.
So I wrote to him:
If others have brought my piece (reply) to your attention is because perhaps you
have shared with them your private correspondence with me. I [had] referred [in "Of
kings and cylinders"] to a gentleman who writes [to] me from London,
whose name is Bahram, who is also pro-monarchy and [is] in favor of Reza Pahlavi.
Are you the only person in London who fits this profile? I doubt it."
"I meant to reply to your [earlier letter to me]," I continued, "but
then it posed an issue that needed public discussion. Reference to a Bahram [just
as well could have been] to someone else. I think you are overreacting. As you see,
there was no reference to last names, profession, or family references."
When I hit the "sent" button, I realized that Bahram may well be angry
at himself for thinking that I was a pro-monarchy type. I thought I owed him an explanation,
so I wrote a follow up letter to him. I t went like this:
"I do not owe it to you but I would like for you to consider this anyway.
Nothing in any of my writings or discussions with anyone could possibly lead anyone
to conclude that I be anything other than a republican -- in the sense of favoring
the republican form of government. I am sorry that you assumed me to be otherwise.
BUT, and this is a big but -- when it comes to Iran I personally do not have a particular
interest in what form of government it takes to bring human rights and progress.
If monarchy does it, so be it. If Reza Pahlavi can do it, so be it."
"You see," I continued, "when I became a US citizen I took [a public]
oath [in a public ceremony], as do all those who are sworn as citizens here, to give
my allegiance to the U.S. and its form of government and laws, and to abjure any
and all allegiance to any other government, potentate or prince. So, my interest
in Iranian affairs and governance cannot be anything more than academic, hence I
keep an open mind about what form Iran's future government may take, including monarchy,
republic, or secular democracy. I hope this explains something, although I am not
Guive Mirfendereski is a professorial lecturer in international relations
and law and practices law in Massachusetts.