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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


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.

M. Emadi-Moghadam

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