December 18, 2000
Have we become spinelss?
"... haghighat dar zendaan enferaadi voojood nadaarad."
This is Akbar Ganji writing about the serial murders suspects held in
solitary confinment. Did he know that he himself would be in solitary confinement
when he wrote this? Is anybody reading his book ["His
red-robed highness"]? How come no one ever comments? Are people
scared to engage in political discourse? Have we lost all our political
Where are you people who boast in long letters of Iranian Heritage?
What are we to do with torture and facism going on right under our noses?
Are we really so spineless a people that we just sit by without the least
bit of outrage even in the form of a traceless e-letter on the subject
of the virtual, actual, as I write, silencing of the few freedom seeking
intellectuals left in Iran?
If Khatami fails, if Gangi is killed or forever silenced, if the young
students in jail are never seen or heard again, shame on us all - shame
on us all. We can all tell our children that there came a time 20 years
after the first revolution when there was hope for real democracy in the
old country and we all let it slip by. We can say: "Even though it
was the beginning of the 3rd millenium when information was easy to get
and easy to disseminate, when Iranians were at their most numerous and
successfull abroad, when there was a large portion of the population that
was young and full of hope when there was even the largest election that
took place in our history - even then nothing changed because those who
had the guns scared the rest of us. Becuase those of us living in freedom
were too busy with our lives in our new homes to bother about the rest
of us. Nothing happened because our youth rebeled but no one helped them
this time. Nothing happened because we had lost ideology and principal
to the dollar. Every one was busy making a buck-that is what Iranians abroad
and at home had in common we were too busy making a buck. Either that or
We do not need religion to opiate us. we have the real thing. Loads
of it in Iran and in any Iranian community abroad. No we can proudly tell
our children that we Iranians did nothing to bring about democratic change
to our counry because it was too much work, too unpleasant and yes needed
too much spine. We sat by as freedom lovers were imprisoned and killed
and did nothing. It was easier to believe that someone else would do it
for us. Yes we had a chance and let it slip by.