Correcting the mistake of the older generation
By Ahmad Javan
November 9, 2001
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
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
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
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.