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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


June 12, 2000

Need to relate

Professor Taati is right in saying that organizations dedicated to advocacy for Iranians have not been able to gain enough legitimacy among the Iranians abroad ["Long way to go"]. This is only partially due to the inability of these organizations to come up with an agenda that attracts all Iranians.

The problem is that Iranians are a heterogeneous population divided along several lines of ethnicity, class, politics, language, religion, and gender perspectives. Even our common denominator, i.e. the love of homeland (nationalism), is not immune to this diversity of affiliations.

My hope is that, as Dr. Taati expects, we can move beyond these primordial interests and relate to Iran and one another at a level far beyond our special interests and particularistic affiliations.

We need to relate to one another as Iranians who have similar RIGHTS, despite our differences in class, ethnic, religious, gender, and political affiliations. These rights are to be defined not only in relation to the current government in Iran but also in relation to our status as immigrants in different host societies.

Akbar Mahdi
Associate professor of sociology
Ohio Wesleyan University


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