On Dr. Abdolkarim Soroush's recent speech in Paris. The writer wishes to remain anonymous.

His speech was thought provoking with some very interesting religious concepts – not to mention beautiful presentation, which is his style. But it's totally inconsequential! To put it bluntly, he is about 3 decades late to the party. At this point in the history of Iran and Islam none of what he says has any significance.

The force and realities of the 25-year reign of the mullahs has pushed even ordinary people beyond the point that he is preaching now. He was supposed to be the Luther of Islam who would revolutionize the Muslim world. He was the hope of our nation for thinking up the blueprint for a new Islamic civilization and a model of government that would leap over western democracies and leave them behind.

Of course Soroush is a deep thinker and philosopher, and I don't mean to put him down. But I judge him with the yardstick that he has put forth himself.

In his own right, he, like the rest of our nation, has been forcefully *pushed* out of his stagnated worldview inch by inch, kicking and screaming and resisting every step! He is now saying that we cannot extract democracy from Islam. Well, duh! It would take a dead person not to have reached this conclusion after experiencing 25 years of mullas' rule, 8 of them by the most progressive kind (whom by the way, Soroush still admires).

The Islamic Republic of Iran will give way to democracy not *because* of our great thinkers and intellectuals, but in spite of them, and because of the its own rotting structure which will eventually implode. It turns out that the Luthers changing the Islamic world are people like Khomeini, Khamenei, Rafsanjani, Khatami, Bin Laden, etc. not Soroush.

Had Soroush given this speech during the time of Shariati or Bazargan, perhaps his ideas would have been considered revolutionary. Great thinkers who earn that reputation, and affect the world, are visionaries who are not trapped in their own time. Soroush has failed miserably in this regard. Despite his great knowledge and historical opportunity he won't have a mentionable place in the pages of history.

Diversion: I am very interested in early American history and the people who built its foundation. I just finished the latest book of my favorite historian David McCllough, “1776”, and right now am reading “The Founding Brothers: the revolutionary generation”. It's fascinating to learn about the main player of American revolution in the context of their own time.

People who envisioned a non-existant entity called “The American Nation” which was supposed to be formed with diverse and unharmonious people in 13 independent colonies with vastly different lifestyles and valuse – and then dedicated their lives to the cause of freedom, independance, sovereignty, and democracy (concepts which didn't even exist in the minds of their contemporaries) for this new nation.

They created the constitution of the United States at a time when the ultimate imaginable position of freedom and power was to be British and a loyal subject of the king. A time when slavery was an accepted fact of life. A time when a great man like Alexander Hamilton would get into a *duel* with the vice president and die. And yet, their writings and arguments show that they were far ahead of our most elite intellectuals of TODAY!

I am only talking about the American experience because I'm immersed in it right now. History is full of visionaries who were ahead of their times and advanced civilization. Unfortunately our share of them, at least in the recent past, has been zilch!

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