October 7, 1999
Unromantic view of politics
After a rather lengthy break from The Iranian, I was able to
create the time and have a good brows through its recent issues. I was
not disappointed to find a collection of diverse and interesting material.
But what affected me most was the note from the young girl from Hamadan
about Haj Abbas ["Hamadan's
Brad Pitt"]. I was moved, lifted and saddened by the content
of the note and its description of life when one's most basic rights
are so continuously ignored and infringed upon.
This is not new nor out of norm. The events of recent months at Tehran
University and other higher education institutes and the treatment of
students by the forces of the conservative alliance depict a grim picture.
However, I, like so many of my compatriots, take heart from the resilience
and resolve of the young Iranians who are determined to receive recognition
for their basic rights. This is a new generation of Iranian who does not
wish to march under the banner of this or that political organization
in order to attain a political identity. Nor does this generation have
a romantic view of political activism.
For the Iranian youth of our country in the good year of 1999, politics
is about gaining the freedom the express yourself, your views, and your
preferences concerning the most basic issues. The difference with this
generation is that they are confident in a way not experienced by the
previous generations. Youth of today's Iran are confident of their ability
to continue their struggle for a more free and tolerant society and seem
to have little illusion about the harsh treatment they may receive in
the hands of those who have been abusing their basic rights repeatedly.
This is also a generation that is self-reliance in its struggle and
suffers very little from any illusion of aid from outside.
While the earlier generations' 'political activists' were subject to
the preferences of their ideological alliances and the so-called 'world
struggle' for this or that group, the present youths of our country intuitively
have uncovered the one single fact about politics, namely that the price
for receiving support from outside your country is always too high and
often not worth paying. Not mentioning that once you become reliance
on outside help you are likely to lose your sense of direction and purpose.
As for us, Iranians living outside, whether naturalized or not, we
do have an obligation to our country men and women, especially to the
young Iranians. Our obligation is to convey to them our togetherness
and that we all, at least most of us, wish to see the evolution of a democratic
society in which people connect with each other. A society in which
individuals can be in disagreement but yet engage in non-abusive dialogue
with each other. A society in which Haj Abbas and his rights as a member
of society as well as the rights of my young, articulate, and very bright
countrywoman from Hamedan are both respected and absolutely PROTECTED
by the rule of law.
We can not deny responsibility in this struggle. As members of the
same culture, we are stake-holders in the faith of our people and our
land. No good will come out of saying that I am out of Iran and have
established myself so it is non of my concern. We can and ought to play
a positive role by supporting the pro-democracy movement in Iran. This
support may be best focused by keeping the issue of pro-democracy struggle
in Iran present and alive in our daily contacts where ever we live.
By attracting more attention to this issue, the opponents of a civil
and democratic society in Iran will find it more difficult to continue
their attacks on women, free press, students, writers, and other segments
of the society. Let us be different from our parents and accept this historical
role and fulfill it with constructive and peaceful acts. Living in a
cultural void has not proven to be a healthy diet. Should we not be a
little more like the young children of Iran whose desire for freedom appears
to be uncrushable.