You know, my favorite medium of communication has never been the English language. I much prefer to express myself in Farsi whenever I feel the urge to submit my thoughts or emotions to paper. This time, however, I chose to write in English because the article – if it could be called an article – that provoked this piece of writing was written in English. Though one may say that pleas against attempts to curb freedom of expression are legitimate regardless of the source of the plea, one would be entirely taken aback if such pleas came from, say, Chief Justice Ayatollah Shahroody of the Islamic Republic.
One such plea that took me by surprise was that of Mr. Hossein Derakhshan, of hoder.com whose web log has been shut down – temporarily – pursuant to legal action taken against him on the basis of slander and vilification. By the way, in one of his articles, Mr. Derakhshan had appealed to all Iranians to support Ayatollah Shahroody, whom he referred to as the last “reformist” in the power structure in Iran.
Those who are familiar with Mr. Derakhshan and have followed his style of writing probably know that his intentions are, by no means, slandering or vilification of anyone; he is just simply rude. And that should not be held against him legally or otherwise. Mr. Derakhshan frequently makes use of his family jewels and private parts – specifically his left gonad – in referring to people whose opinions do not particularly appeal to him. This is a reflection of his honesty and a demonstration of earnestness in his practice of freedom of expression. If his opponents choose to interpret Mr. Derakhshan’s honesty and candor as his attempt to derogate from their prestige and damage their social standing, it is due to their low self-esteem and insecurity.
In Mr. Derakhshan’s defense, his opponents should just “grow up” rather than resort to measures like litigation and filing lawsuits. In a community where freedom of expression is civilly accepted, such measures as appealing to the law to resolve one’s differences with another person is a token of cowardice and lack of courage to encounter one’s opponents! After all, when the other person could use the same tactic as Mr. Derakhshan’s and simply engage in name-calling and verbal abuse, why would s/he have to file a lawsuit?
I understand Mr. Derakhshan’s anger and frustration quite well. He comes from a breed and background, which allows him to use every way and means to attack his opponents, but if they happen to use the same tactics, it should be interpreted as their attempt to curb his freedom of expression. In simpler words, Hossein agha can say anything about you, and if you are not happy with what he says, you can go “make love to a hedgehog” for as far as Mr. Derakhshan is concerned. But if you resort to the law – which is what is done in civilized societies – this would mean that all American Neo-Cons and their think tanks are out there to get Mr. Derakhshan and restrict his freedom of expression. Did I hear someone say, “Get real?”
A while back, I made a suggestion that was not taken very seriously by anyone save by myself. I proposed that in our writings we should distinctly differentiate between Iran and Iranians and the Islamic Republic and its puppeteers, who have usurped the power in Iran and are illegally – in that they are not the legitimate representatives of Iranians by an official ballot – imposing their will on our nation. I guess my only problem with Mr. Derakhshan is that in his attempt to be in the service of the Islamic Republic – a fact that he may deny but is nothing that he can hide – he makes every effort to blur this distinction and to give the appearance that Iran and the Islamic Republic are one and the same identity.
All attempts in the United States, regardless of whether they are initiated by Democrats or Republicans, are aimed at the Islamic Republic. US officials have always been quick to clarify that they have nothing against the people of Iran. There are doubtless some Americans, in every rank and file, who may confuse the two. Contrary to Mr. Derakhshan, who admits that he receives paychecks from the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Iranians living in exile ought to make every effort to clearly delineate the line between Iran and the Islamic Republic. One is not the same as the other.
Whereas I strongly oppose any attacks on Iran and Iranian people by any foreign power, I vehemently advocate any measures that aim at weakening or removing the Islamic Republic in all its shapes and forms, be it the ruling conservatives or their alternative reformists, who are supported by Mr. Derakhshan and the like of Mr. Derakhshan.