A main purpose of invading Iraq by the director of the new world was to lead the Middle East toward adopting the universal civic values of this century. Mistakes are inevitable, yet, it will be very naïve to think that the experts of the most developed country did not know what they were doing.
To initiate change in the region, obviously the US administration could not first target the main Middle Eastern players, Iran and Saudi Arabia, since these fundamentalist regimes still serve the American interests one way or the other, and the cost of their elimination would have been too high at this stage.
Based on calculation of the available data, directing the change in the Middle East seemed easier from the weakest points of entry into the region, Afghanistan and Iraq. The intellectually and morally handicapped leaders of these countries had already turned their territories into horrifying zones justifiable to be rescued by the international police force!
Now since the rescue mission seems prolonged, many Neo-Chamberlains who have forgotten the price of liberty during other major wars, question the cost effectiveness of expanding freedom with this war without giving a reasonable alternative! Despite its ugly face, this war will end soon one way or the other, and ideally the American troops should be moved to the welcoming area of the region, Southern Kurdistan.
This peaceful region is learning to develop mutually beneficial relationships not only with its new friends such as US and possibly Israel but also its old enemies such as Iran, Turkey, and Arab countries. One might ask which country will be the next target for change and how such a change should come about.
The behavior of some Iranian leaders, who lack the capacity for change, might remind the terminators of Saddam and treat them the same way as the next candidate; I hope this does not become necessary.
However, change is inevitable and creation of a livable and lovable Union of Iranian Democratic States is the dream of many of those who escaped from the hell or still are burning in it!
Meanwhile considering that passive movements such as Gandhi's could be as successful as eliminating monsters with war, I will argue that instead of expecting change from outside, Iran has the potential to be transformed to a civic society through three goal directed passive methods within its current borders.
First, what the fanatics of many countries hope to impose on others, the fundamentalists have already imposed on Iranians. Although for a few years the Afghanis suffered too, only the Iranian people have remained doomed to experience the hell that was promised to be the heaven before the revolution in 1979.
Because of the behavior of Islamic Republic and Hezbollah, Iranian Shiites have not been able to convince other religious minorities to trust the justice of the grand ayatollah, Velayat e Faghih. The fanatic leaders of the rival sect, the Sunni Talibans and Alqaidas, proved to be untrustworthy to them either, when they had a small portion of power in the region.
The horrifying consequences of mixture of religion and state has now led the Iranian Shiite and Sunnis alike to question the validity of what they have been told by some of their preachers. Even the image of mystics, whose purpose might be to serve an unknown higher power in their private life, has been damaged in the society!
It is not surprising that some faithful, moderate, and even ex-fanatic Iranians are worried about the end of Islamic faith and try to convince the world that positive elements of any faith deserve to be preserved. Such questions and worries were the sign of enlightenment that led to European renaissance.
We might be observing the early signs of an Iranian renaissance, in which the people finally recognize that a creature is too limited to define and set the rules of its possible creator! Since in Iran only those who believe in imposing religious values on others by making them state law are nominated for elections, Iranian people could throw a blank ballot in their boxes next time. Such a passive measure could only expedite the inevitable renaissance and peaceful change!
Second, Iran is a heterogeneous country, yet has only one official language that other Iranian nationalities can not fully identify with in their ancestral homeland. The majority of Iranians speak a different language at home before they are mandated to learn Persian (also partially Arabic) in public schools.
No doubt that Persian and Arabic languages are valuable and rich. However, the discriminatory attitude of the dominant cultures toward other languages could not keep the enlightened minorities satisfied with their second class status forever! If the minorities stop speaking the mandatory language in their work place or do not send their children to any school that does not recognize their own identity and language, they will shake the validity of the state's discriminatory and homogenizing policy!
The regime could not incarcerate millions of people for such a passive yet progressive boycott and the minorities would finally enjoy the same cultural rights as Persian and Arabs. In the long run a Union of Iranian Democratic State could be born, in which no nationalities might impose their own values on others, even if it means having a Persian monarchy, an Islamic Arab state, or democratic Kurdish, Azeri, Balochi, and Turcoman republics.
Other states in the Iranian plateau might join such a union voluntarily based on common interests and cultural values instead of through expansionism of a fanatic ideology that might have been foreign to all of them in the first place!
Third, Iranian fanatics have mandated that half of the population covers themselves form head to toe preferably with a large black cloth! They might argue that such a cloth will prevent fanatic males from becoming aroused, lose control, show their true nature, and like less evolved creatures attack their female counterparts. They have declared any natural romantic partnership without marriage even masturbation as sins and legitimized a prostitution policy that allows hypersexual males to temporarily marry as many wives as they desire!
Enlightenment about these discriminatory policies could encourage the women to discard their dark black cloth and scarves; such an action could shake the foundation of the state! Unlikely the regime could incarcerate all females, if this simple, passive, and self liberating trend continues. This way the domination of the superficially powerful gender will end, and with it the whole population will be liberated!
In summary, I believe if the Iranian people recognize the power of self-liberation through enlightenment and goal directed pacifism, they might not need to go through the bitter experience of Iraqis. With three radical passive measures they might be able to rescue themselves; otherwise I am afraid the international police force might consider a more radical plan for Iran in the name of rescuing even one person, one gender, or one ethnicity at a time regardless of the cost and world's public opinion.
As the live supportive columns carrying a suppressive ceiling, Iranian people could let the structure of the regime collapse by not doing what they are forced to do. They have the potential to transform their fanatic country to a civic society by: 1) Voters' refusal to elect politicians that impose their religious values to be the law of their land. 2) Minorities' boycott of the state mandated official language, and 3) Women's rejection of mandatory dress code.
About Dr. Kamal H Artin is a member of Kurdish American Education Society (www.kaes.us), and the Kurdish National Congress; however, his views do not necessarily reflect the views of all members.Dr. Artin maintains the website: www.art-in-mind.net