March 16, 2000
Final destination: Democracy!
In an eye-scatching demonstration, on 18 February, the people of Iran
elected a new reformist parliament and set aside most of the conservative
heavy weights. More than 300 international journalists reported this event
which brought recognition from world politicians, including those at the
This fantastic transition to a near-total civilian rule is largely the
outcome of President Khatami's policies. He respects oppositions; always
reciting "long live my opponents". Unlike the Shah and his puppets
who believed in the total eradication of opponents, Khatami encourages
criticism but needs support at the same time; after all "Rome was
not built in one day". He is steering Iran, in a very charismatic
and diplomatic way, towards democracy and is pulling the support of the
masses and intellectuals.
Ironically, Khatami also knows that this is the easy part, because the
hardest part comes after establishing democracy when everyone will be seeking
their democratic right to employment, education and other welfare rights.
Therefore he still needs some elements of the ruling conservatives to stay
in power so to pass the blame onto them when faced with the inability to
respond to people's democratic demands.
In the meantime, he can use his remaining term to build relations with
other industrial powers to assist with modernization of Iranian industry
and other infra structure. Only then can he safely dispose of his conservative
opponents without repercussions.
This is all unlike the cruel and dictatorial policies of our old "crowned
father" (pedar-e-taadjdaar) who resorted to torture and murder to
advance his unpopular policies. I read in Asr-e-Azadegan that his
son, Reza Pahlavi, boycotted the recent elections in Iran! Even if we were
to take any notice of Reza's condemnation of these elections, we could
only reach one conclusion; that he is afraid of witnessing the long awaited
transformation of Iranians from an oppressed and subdued people - as he
would like to remember - to a free thinking nation about to decide its
own destiny. I would recommend that Mr. Pahlavi reserve his future comments
to the confines of his favorite Los Angeles cafes for his coffee swilling
friends and advisors of the same background as himself.
Before his triumphant return to Iran Ayatollah Khomeini was pictured
in Paris waving to his followers. Time magazine printed this on
its front cover with the caption "The hand that shakes the throne".
Now Khatami, as a true follower of Khomeini, is leading the same people
to their final destination - DEMOCRACY!