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Correcting the mistake of the older generation

By Ahmad Javan
November 9, 2001
The Iranian

I read with great interest Mr. Pishevar's letter "Son of fire is ash". While he pointed out some very valid historical facts about pre-1979 times, he needs to brush up on his grasp of what is going on in Iran today.

Iran is a country of double standards. We have to cover ourselves in public, but the moral leaders who tell us to do so sell our orphan girls to Arab sheikhs and don't get punished. The Shah was a dictator and had to go; we couldn't even compromise with Bakhtiar, the ayatollahs told us, but today we have to be "patient" with the Islamic Republic.

The Shah spoke of Iran arriving at a "great civilization" and everyone made fun of him and kicked him out in a humiliating way. But Khatami has the gall to speak of "dialogue of civilizations" today in New York, while simultaneously one of the largest illegal political dissident trials in Iranian history is under way under HIS government (the accused are deprived of all the legal rights guaranteed them by international law and the Islamic Republic's own constitution!). But we have to "respect" Khatami because he is "reforming" the system.

Frankly, I am sick of being told by people of the previous generation (those responsible for our predicament today) to be patient. The previous generation had every opportunity when they were my age to a) pursue higher education in their home country in high quality universities, b) pursue higher education in the best universities in the world if they wanted to, c) get a job and support their family, and so on.

Well, since you never had to go through what we are going through now, let me enlighten you about something: NOTHING is worse than a 16-year-old boy or girl with their whole life ahead of them, faced with dead ends everywhere they look. We have no hope today, unless we take matters into our own hands and pay the heavy price for the mistake YOUR generation made: installing a religious government.

Did the Shah have problems? I'm sure he did (I was barely born when he was ousted). At least during his time you had the right and the means to pursue your education and your career, even though you might not have agreed with his government. Believe me and millions of Iranians my age today when we say,"You don't know what a luxury that is!".

Did our parents choose a better alternative? It seems not! They threw their support in behind a backward, Taliban-like, terrorist-minded movement which then came and took Iran hostage for the last 23 years. The mere existence of this movement makes us wonder today, was it even possible to have a democracy in those days even if the government wanted it?

Let's get some things straight. You accuse Reza Pahlavi of being silent during Iran's greatest time of need. This is wrong, since he volunteered to fly missions for his country during the war, and they wouldn't let him. I'd like to see how many sons of Khamenei, Rafsanjani, Khomeini, and other mollas offered to even do non-combat service at the front?

You also seem to have telepathic powers since you claim to know what Reza Pahlavi's real intention in speaking out now is ("not a passionate belief in Iran"). I guess you are God then... The fact is, at least Reza CLAIMS to be interested in Iran's national interest. The "democratic" mollas you pin your hopes on don't even claim that! They claim their allegiance first to the leader then to Islam, and maybe MAYBE to Iran if they get a chance sometime.

Another thing I am sick of is the comparison of Khatami to Gorbachev. Well, let me say this: Mr. Khatami, you're no Gorbachev! First of all, in the communist Russia even the secretary general of the Communist Party, who was the most powerful man in the country, did not have as many constitutional powers as the "supreme leader" in Iran does. So if Gorbachev was No. 1, Khatami is a very, very, very distant No. 2 (if not No. 3).

Secondly, when push came to shove, Gorbachev would always side with reforms, and would never even verbally back down in front of his challengers, even when they attempted a coup against him. Meanwhile, on every occasion when he was challenged, Khatami turned his back on us students and youth and sided with our oppressors.

We are sick of Khatami's empty promises and betrayals, and it is clear to us and the whole world that the "reform" movement he claims to lead has failed. All it has accomplished is to improve relations with Europe so that they could sign big oil deals. Otherwise, he has done little more for democracy in Iran than what the Shah did. He is one of the akhounds, if not worse. (He got our trust first and then betrayed us, as opposed to never bothering us in the first place).

There is no such thing as an Islamic democracy. If the people don't come first, it is not a democracy by definition. If the people's vote is subject to approval by the Islamic authorities, there is no democracy, as we have clearly seen.

This revolution is not about Reza Pahlavi or anybody else. It is not about monarchy or communism. We are sick of these labels and these discussions about individuals (which were prevalent in your generation's time). It is about something that the previous revolution neglected: DEMOCRACY. Government of the people, for the people, by the people. It is about inclusion, not exclusion.

If anybody, including Reza Pahlavi, wants to support this, we welcome him. The fact that he has been "unemployed" for the last 20 years is no problem. That just makes him like the rest of us youth! I'd rather have someone like him on our side than someone who has been gainfully employed for the last 20 years raping and destroying my people.

If someone better than Pahlavi exists, we welcome him/her as well, but WHERE ARE THEY? It is not enough to be qualified. You must also be willing and able to step forward and get involved.

Maybe you don't mind waiting 10, 20 years, since you have already made it and are living in America (One wonders why you don't take your own medicine and come live in Iran and be "patient"). But don't expect people like me who are stcuk and have seen their life wasted away to just let their 20's and 30's get wasted as well.

Your generation has put us in this impossible position that we are in today, a much worse one than you were in at our age. Make no mistake, the day will come when our generation will correct the mistake that your generation made. If you are not going to support us, then at least don't get in our way. If you really want a democratic Iran, that is.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment for the writers Ahmad Javan


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Dream on
Monarchists and international terrorism
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What future
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