Hold the fireworks
July 9th has come and gone without a revolution.
July 9, 2003
A friend of mine recently came back from a visit to California.
settled down for a cold beer on a muggy Boston afternoon, he turned
and said: "You know, the Iranians in California are nuts!
in front of their televisions, watching the Iranian channels, waiting
the revolution to come!"
His exasperated tone made me crack
up. I nodded my head. July 9th has come and gone and the revolution
that was to magically
and once again sweep Iranians off their feet never materialized.
those who planted that seed of thought in people's heads have
a spin for
it. I'm sure it's being presented as a revolution waiting at
the door but
being squashed by the evil ones. I'm sure there will be explanations
my tiny imagination could never come up with.
But the fact exists: There has been no revolution.
There is another fact which deserves attention here. A couple
ago, in response to various hate and non-hate emails, I asked
the readership to send in what their visions of a future Iranian
would be. I have received about 10 responses, only a handful
of which is
an actual response to the question, the other half, just the
same 'ol same
'ol bad mouthing sessions one has come to expect from monarchist
It could just be me, I thought. But then I heard that another
Iranian group that had called for a straightforward expression
Iranian-American community had gotten the same non-response. And
suddenly it all made sense to me: The foaming at the mouth television
programs urging people into the streets, the fake upping the ante
of a revolution around the bend, the "revolution is coming,
is coming" whines pronounced from behind the television screens.
revolution is coming because well, it's the easiest alternative,
alternative that one can choose from the safety of one's cozy
without having to lift more than the finger needed to operate
It all fits right into place. The Iranian-American community for
part has created a self-identity most suited for apathy. The
majority doesn't participate in American civil society because
Iranian, and doesn't begin thinking of how to contribute to the
Iran because they're living in the U. S. They reject organizations
as National Iranian American Council (NIAC) because rather than
beat you on the head with rhetoric, it asks
that you take action through letter writing and lobbying of Congress.
when asked point blank, what they want for the future of Iran,
you a blank stare.
In an interview with Charlie
Rose about his book on the American Revolution, the historian
David McCullough discussed the level of popular participation
in the 13
colonies before the writing of the Declaration of Independence.
was that the founding fathers of the U.S. were not necessarily
tide of popularity. Most people, he said, were on the fences,
see what would happen.
It just so happened they were lucky enough
Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James
Madison to name
a few had jumped off the fence and were busy thinking about
what the ideal
form of government should look like. A revolution born of injustices
come, but it was preceded and followed by much thought and
I'm no idealist. I don't believe that people are noble creatures
civic duty comes before their personal duties. I don't believe
(which sometimes is just another word for eliminating diversity
opinions). I don't think Iranians, inside or out, are in
any shape or form
better than other nations.
Still, the Iranian community outside of Iran is in a unique position
familiarize itself with histories other than its own "glorious" 2500
years, and with political thought other than the amazingly hollow
of "referendum" that is rarely followed by anything more
constructive. They can demand from those who speak to them via radio,
the internet, for something more than just what's wrong with
And most importantly, they can think for themselves, learn for
imagine for themselves, and enunciate for themselves what are
the liberties and rights they believe should be guaranteed for
We think the revolution is coming because it's the easiest solution
of the Caspian Sea. It's like deciding to light up a city with
instead of electricity. Rather than have loud, bright explosions
sky for as long as the fireworks last and think about the ensuing
later, why not tolerate the inconvenience of the dark (maybe
read by the
candlelight?) while electricity lines are installed and then
have permanent light?
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