May 19, 2000
If the Shah was in power
This is a reply to questions raised by Sahar
Nahrvar's letter in her last letter:
"Yes it was better when the Shah was around."
In what way was it better? There was freedom on a superficial level
only and nothing like what you expect from an even slightly democratic
"But still, one wonders, would the Shah not have closed down 16
Would he have closed them? The question should be, would such publications
be allowed in the first place? Would they have received permission to press
and criticise whoever they want? I think the answer is a resounding NO.
The control over all media was suffocating and the prisons were full of
those even slightly daring to criticise.
"Were the courts in that time any better than they are now?"
No. Remember Gole Sorkhi? There were many more without any independent
press to report them.
"Would fewer student demonstrators have died if the Shah was the
one giving the orders?"
Probably. We will never know how the current regime will react if there
is a very serious threat to its existence. To Shah's credit, he left the
country and one reason he did that was to avoid further bloodshed. Would
the current lot do the same? Would the likes of Messbah and Rafsanjani
give way to others. Very very doubtfull indeed. They'd rather take the
country through a bloody civil war than concede and inch of power.
"Let's ask questions without any taarof. Let's find answers."
The best answer is already happening. Peaceful struggle for reform is
our only hope. To that end we should all endeavour