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Shahin & Sepehr

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

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    January 5, 1999

    Democratic bullies

I went back and re-read both "Where are the Strategic thinkers?" and "Freedom not to react." Previously, I had enjoyed reading both. Mr. Roshanravan expressed his dissatisfaction with those Iranians who had not spoken out about the recent murders in Iran. Mostly, Mr. Roshanravan criticized those Iranians whom in his eyes have double standards when it comes to Iran. They either talk about dialogue with the current Iranian government. I understood his frustration regarding lack of coverage on the recent killings. Although I did not understand his criticism of Iranian intellectuals, artists, professors, politicians, strategic democratic thinkers and journalists.

Mr. Mirfenderski's commentary made a few things crystal clear for me. Why are we waiting for intellectuals to tell us what we should do or think? Why not think for ourselves? I choose my own opinions and actions. The Iranian revolution of 1979 was supported by many intellectuals and many followed their views. Is this what they intended? Have we not learned our lesson in blindly following others? Why expect others to carry our burden? I should carry my own cross and be responsible for my own life. I liked his punchline the best: DO IT YOURSELF! Mr. Mirfenderski also reminded me what freedom and democracy is all about. We have the freedom to react or not to react.

I do not remember Mr. Roshanravan protesting when Khuzestan was being bombed daily by the Iraqi troops. It seems that we all have our own special interests and do not see the big picture. Mr. and Mrs. Foruhar were murdered in the most gruesome and frightening way as many people before them. Before the revolution, after revolution, and during the war. Mr. Roshnravan could have criticized the exiled Iranian community in general for their lack of political activity and expanded on why this was important to him.

I was mostly appalled by Mr. Mirfakh's threatening remarks. If you believe that Mr. Mirfendereski has not replied properly or completely, please go ahead and enlighten us. But do not threaten anyone for voicing their opinions. I would defend Mr. Roshanravan and Mr. Mirfendereski's freedom of speech. But I would not stand for your bullying. What does this mean: "We know you very well?" Who is "we"? Who do you represent? What point are you trying to make here? Do you routinely gather intelligence on Iranians who do not share your ideas? How do you know him so well? What have we learned about democracy and freedom since 1979?

I do not know whom I should fear more.

Shahrzad Irani

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