November 13, 2000
Trivia amid Gangi's desperate shouts
Who could listen and read about Akbar
Ganji and not have the hairs stick-up on their skin. News like this
from our beloved motherland makes the squabling and bickering about "Iranian
girls" or about pop stars and all the rest that we discuss in this
cyber forum seem shamelessly trivial.
No matter how comfortable we are in our newly found "Iranian-American"
identity how is it that we can sit and let these atrocities go by with-out
even a comment. In all the Googoosh concerts and all the soccer matches
of the national team not one person stood an yelled "marg bar molla"
(non-mojahed khalgh that is; because despite their cult-like fascistic
veneer they are the only brave ones amongst us). While I am sure it was
on many a clean shaven or lipstick lip.
No one with any little property or the slightest chance of getting a
confiscated piece of land back, no one who has a living relative no matter
how distant, no one who wants to go and enjoy a nostalgic holiday in Iran,
no one but no one stands up against these atrocities committed by this
regime. Not even in jest. Or in any case very few of us "Iranian-Americans"
While we have "prominent businessmen" and e-executives writing
long defenses of Googoosh or Iranian men no one goes near the politically
charged news. No blood or sweat from us. We go as far as a few tears
shed in front of a monitor and a quick x-ing of the truly upsetting. There
comes a time in the forging an identity no matter how multi-faceted and
multi-national and confused it might be, when it is tested.
News like this tests our sense of identity in simple political terms.
What does it take to make us stand up in even a small way for that part
of us which is still Iranian? Will there be as many clicks on the Iran
free press site as there was for Googoosh or will as many people express
their digust about the treatment of Mr. Ganji in prison as they did about
some boy-hates-girl article on this site?
The bottom line is this: how can we in all honesty gather in this cyber-forum
and go on discussing everything under the sun but our real concern and
sympathy toward the struggle for freedom going on in Iran. Here we are
endowed with the blessing of the right to free speech and we waste it
Now, I know that not all of us are like this and that some of us are
vocal and active. But more of us need to be. It is our duty as the lucky
ones who live in freedom to help and show concern for what is happening
in Iran. Each of us has to ask him/herself, "at what point will
I be willing to stand up for my fellow country men?"
At what point will checking news from Iran for us ex-patriates transcend
its purely therapeutic value and become a way of involving one in the
real life of a country we all hold dear? Surely this is the question that
should be raised in any Iranian's mind when listening to Akbar Gangi's
desperate shouts, punctuated by the cries of his wife.
S. S. Javid