What democracy, what freedom?

The exhortations in the piece “Unsettled” lack rationality and foundation. Here are examples of some of the statements that pass supposedly for enlightened polemics. Notice how the title seeks democracy and freedom for Iran. Here is a redundancy, if I ever saw one. You folks, need to make up your mind, one or the other, you cannot afford both. Pure freedom is the antithesis of democracy, which is based on rules and obligations.

The end result of all the is that one day Iran will be democratic, free and independent. Query: Democratic, meaning what? Freedom from what or whom? Independence from what or whom? Throwing around these words as if they are supposed to mean the same thing to everyone is nonsensical. To admit that they may mean different things to different people means that the polemicist would rather define them, as he/she knows that by defining terms one also controls the debate.

The piece claims that a century has come and gone and that Iran is yet to be truly democratic and free. Why a century, why not claim that 2,500 years have come and gone and Iranians are yet to emulate the political accomplishments of the Greek city states? What is so magical about one century? Is it the milestone of the Iranian constitutional movement? Big deal. Two constitutions later, no democracy, no freedom no independence … shame, shame.

Somehow the piece foretells of forces “bringing nearer the everlasting democracy and freedom fulfillment?” Right on bro/sis. I want some of the stuff you be drinking!

The piece alludes to Iran being the key to stability in the Middle East. Zeki, is more like it … The only time that Iran has been key to stability in the Middle East has been when it has had its way with everyone. The only time that the Middle East has had any stability in modern times has been when Ottoman Turkey ruled much of it and Iran out of weakness was at peace with the Porte. Kid yourself not … Even at the time of the late Shah the country of Iran was not an island of stability because the Arab government were suspicious of his ambitions in the Persian Gulf, Yemen, Oman and Iraq.

The piece claims that it is well documented that Iranians historically were among the guardians of civilization and human rights. Okay. What have they done lately? 

The piece claims that “struggle of democratic forces in Iran [are] forming soundly and decisively.” O, yes on a daily basis, I for one am truly optimistic about this surge of nothingness.

The piece claims that Bush and Ahmadinejad are two unpopular presidents. Wrong — they are dumb, but not unpopular. If the elections were held today, Bush and Ahmadinejad will be reelected. Besides presidency is not about being popular, it is about being elected — and both men were, for better or worse.

The piece accuses radical Islam of savagery (well, it is savage) and the west of oil domination and each camp tramples all freedom seekers and progressive forces. No shit… name one government that is not culpable of some form of savagery (besides what does this term mean, savagery) and thirst for basic resources and I will show you anarchy in its true sense. I have not hear this kind of Internationale talk for decades.

The piece claims that there has been a democratic movement in Iran. No, siree… we have had periods of chaos and absence of law and order. That hardly passes for democracy or freedom.

The piece “desire[s] restlessly an ingenuous free, independent, and democratic Iran with our souls and from bottom of our hearts.” Souls and bottom of one's heart does not bring democracy to Iran — money and blood might.

The piece decries that Iran has gone from a civilized nation of art, science, love, and poetry to a militia state under backward ideology. This is the case of mixing oranges and apples. Iran still is a land of art, science, love and poetry. Even when Iran was the land of this and that it was for the most part a militia state, despotic and authoritarian — like now.

The piece claims that it is “an inalienable right of Iranians to be free and democratic” and this is becoming more and more an accepted virtue in the region. What inalienable rights, what kashk, what mast. Nothing is inalienable — Lord giveth and lord taketh away — law gives it and law takes it away.

The piece offers the wish that “The world will rejoice our rebirth with us in near future.” Rebirth from what to what? Any way, tavalod, tavalod, tavalodat mobarak, n-bareh!

Here is where the piece really got to me — “with ascendancy of this mission falls immense responsibility on our behalf. And, that is to put in place decrees that can safeguard our future freedom and liberty incessantly.” Ajab — putting in decrees and firmans from the self-appointed guardians and know-it-alls. Maybe that is the problem — too many people handing down too many decrees and each believing that they alone know how to guard freedom and liberty incessantly. Incessantly? Please — forever, right? Just like all the forevers before it.

Here is a cliche — “Let's not forget that Iran belongs to our next generation and we are borrowing it from them and we owe it to them.” Don't worry about the next generation, it will take care of itself. If one really wants to make a difference, make a difference today.  

The piece asks that “every passionate Iranian freedom seeker must not only cherish liberty but must also be continually fervent in preserving it with their teeth once gained.” The problem is that much of the Resolute Nation, freedom-seeker or not, wears dandan aryeh and it is in no shape to guard anything with their teeth.  Liberty for all that will be achieved this time must remain with us ceaselessly.

Here is a good one — “Pursuit of happiness for all must be sealed in our hearts and in our new constitution.” Yeah, how about plagiarizing the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution while you are at it? Is there anything original in all this? Pursuit of happiness? What bunk! What does this phrase really mean? Chasing women, lucre, laughs, kabob, what? 

Here is another great cliche — “Time will tell.” Watches and clocks tell time. Time tells nothing. Either shit happens or doesn't happen. Nice hedge, though.

Here is a great concept — “None of us can afford to be apathetic anymore.” O, no? Watch me!

Here is another great one — “The wheels have been in motion for a long time.” Yes, they have and as wheels often do they keep going around and around — very Iranian — an interminable thread mill — with much speed but no advancement.

The piece tells us that — “Slogan is Democracy and freedom.” Try, common sense and self interest.

This one is really a sadistic notion — “As our contemporary poet Ms. Simin Bahbahani aptly recognized comparable to Hafez has said, 'dobareh mesazamet vatan'.” Sure, but let's first destroy everything that is there. Meanwhile there is no point in making new wine when the container is the same lousy cracked bottle. What needs to be reworked is not the vatan, is the ummat, the mellat. That begins at home between spouses and among children and their parents.

The final exhortation is poignant — “Our aspiration is to have and cherish free, independent, and democratic Iran.” Good luck.

Guive Mirfendereski is a professorial lecturer in international relations and law and is the principal artisan at trapworks.com. Born in Tehran in 1952, he is a graduate of Georgetown University's College of Arts and Sciences (BA), Tufts University's Fletcher School (PhD, MALD, MA) and Boston College Law School (JD). He is the author of A Diplomatic History of the Caspian Sea >>> Features in iranian.com

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