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No queen of mine
Let's not move back; let's look to the future to establish a real democracy

By Laleh Larijani
April 13, 2004

Let me say first and foremost that I enjoyed reading Mr. Bahmani's article, "My dream coffee with Farah Pahlavi". I enjoyed the humor and the honesty. To be fair, I respect that what Mr. Bahmani wrote was an excerpt of his encounter with someone who is clearly very special to him and I am sure many in his generation. Mr. Bahmani, as all of us, is entitled to his opinion.

What I want to voice is a concern over what Farah and the Shah have meant for my generation... the ones who were born during or after the revolution. For us she is neither a Queen nor a majestic figure. We are witness to let's say the monarchy's "leftovers". 

For Iran, the revolution meant and end to oppression and a move towards democracy. It went wrong and largely due to the overwhelming backlash of an effort to avoid anything "Monarch like," and the deep resentment of the clergy towards the Shah. That sentiment has now fully manifested itself in Iran and unfortunately we -- the youth -- are paying the price.

So while I am sure it is a sad feeling for Mr. Bahmani and many others who share his sentiments over the end of that era, it has been a lifetime of sadness and hardship for us "forgotten people."

When Farah and her family left Iran, they took what they wanted to with them. Sure, I have seen the interviews where both Farah and Reza deny this but let's get real. She isn't still living off the "nothing" is she? And the Gucci, and Yves Saint Laurent Couture doesn't come for free.

I don't mean to sound sarcastic but do I not have the right to ask her and her family about the wealth they took out of Iran? I certainly feel that I do. Call me a Ghandi-lover, but a real king and a real queen should be the slaves of the people. But what history has proven is that the majority of kings and queens are first and foremost concerned with staying kings and queens and not the welfare of their people.

And finally I want to make a comment on the question raised on whether or not Farah may have tried to positively influence her husband. Surly we don't know. But what I can say is that if she didn't stand up to his injustice and brutality and protect the interests of the people, then she might as well have had a hand in everything herself.

I am and advocate in comprehending the lessons that history will inevitably teach all of us. But what can be dangerous with history, is the sense of wanting to return to the past; wanting to make things the way they used to be. I wish that the Iranian community in exile understood the urgency of moving forward as opposed to moving back. We collectively put an end to monarchy and chose democracy.

That so-called democracy failed us. But let's resist the urge to move back; let's instead look to the future and try and I mean really try to establish a real democracy. Yeah it's easier said than done, but if even a fraction of the talent of Iranians abroad, whether it be doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, writers, artists, or students were to be dedicated to this cause and to improving the economy and social justice system in Iran then all of us would have a renewed sense of hope. Lets not forget the hopeless youth of Iran. Lets not put them on the backburner when we flip through the pictures of our homeland.

As for Farah, she was who she was…but she is certainly no Queen to my generation. And Reza, will surely never be king, certainly not by the hands of Iranians themselves.

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