February 28, 2000
In reply to
Jafar D.'s letter:
Your point is well taken. I agree full-heartedly that Iranians should
always strive for improvement and should never settle for anything but
the highest standard of governance. But, the fact is that there is no perfection
in democracy. Democracy is an ideal and a philosophy toward which we strive.
We all know that there are different forms and different degrees of democracy
around the world--all with room for improvement.
That said, my reference to "democracy arriving" was regarding
the level of political maturity among Iranians here, which is absolutely
ballot box"]. I was not referring here to the system or the current
political process, which continues to have deep and fundamental flaws.
What I witnessed on February 18 with my own eyes, the sheer fact that
an unprecedented number of eligible voters who took part in the elections,
the level of political maturity which I saw and see every day on the streets
of Tehran, is the closest and by far on the widest scale that Iranians
have ever come to embrace democracy.
The level of political awareness and participation is even incomparable
to anything I have seen in the United States or among Iranians in the United
States. I have not yet been able to find one person in Iran who does not
follow politics on a daily basis.
Lastly, I wish all of you could have been here to witness the latest
grass-roots action by Iranians and only then judge my optimism and the
excitement among Iranians.