Mehdi Khalaji: Friend or Foe? That seems to be the real question.

MK was clearly outraged over HODER’s childish comments, reacting to them in a seemingly knee-jerk reaction, articulated in the form of a very normal Cease and Desist letter. Effectively shutting down one of the most vocal anti-government blogs, one can see this latest round of debate and discussion as mere publicity stunts designed to raise general PR awareness of both sides.

I’m not saying that this is what is happening. It just appears that way. If you step back from it a bit, put your emotions and ego down, and watch the shadowy shapes drift in and out of focus.

I disagree with the general chaotic direction our discourse seems to be taking these past 10 years. Nothing against the tag line of this esteemed publication, but some things, chiefly the adult civilized way to express opinions, ARE Sacred. The results of the many rants we have thrown at each other over the past years, have yielded often ridiculous actions like marching in NY city against the film 300, but when Ahamdinejad arrives to speak his ridiculous hurtful words at the UN, not a single “patriot” has the guts to stand up and say we disagree with this vocalized ongoing damage to our national name.

I don’t advocate overthrowing any government. Frankly having witnessed how easy it was to do so in the last revolution, it’s really not even necessary anymore. More though, I advocate simple, mature, well thought out, and argued, vocal opposition and simple opinion offering the merest but firmest statements of calm civilized practical disagreement with “policies”. Each and every policy that deserves it.

The reason that speaking out is enough, is that eventually words do in fact sink in. Especially of not heeding them has implications.

The government of Iran needs to hear our words. Repeatedly.

For that reason, I think shutting down HODER is ultimately wrong. What MK should have done instead is confront HODER head on. Because that would have ultimately provided more words to hear.

I believe you can very easily post a comment on HODER after each piece that attacks you. Addressing each accusation with a well thought out public disclaimer. I know for a fact that this publication would have very widely distributed the rebuttals. Very widely. Wider than HODER. I mean all the way to the top. Both tops. If you catch my drift.

At this time in the evolutionary stage of our development towards becoming a free culture, capable of having a civilized public discussion, taking the “heat” in this “kitchen” includes talking back to your detractors. No matter how ridiculous or immature the claims made against you. When someone calls you out, you come back at them with your position. So people know the truth. It might seem like the law of the jungle a times. Especially where we are as a culture today.

I’ve looked at MK’s long list of published work and each tries to point out a misstep or misbehavior by the government, often but not always, offering in-depth analysis from a religious scholarly standpoint. Simply put, MK’s ideas are well thought out and stated. Easily defended. Especially by MK himself.

However, it appears that at least one person has a real problem with MK. That the immense immersion and investment in religious thought and formal education, that MK has made in himself, frankly makes some people very nervous, that MK may be sneakily advocating the same “rule by religion” ploy, that many are legitimately turned off to, at this time in our history.

I personally don’t know yet. If MK’s lawyers would OK it, I’d love to hear more on this, directly from MK.

My personal feeling is that there is always room for religion to moderate itself, and that the Islam we see in practice today needs a serious reformation period, just like the Western religions before it. We appear to be in the Spanish Inquisition phase, where any non-believer (disbeliever) is subject to some serious consternation. That the many fundamental and obvious modernity flaws in Islam needs some intelligent internal debate and before Islam can govern me at least, I need at least a few more answers that are not based on the usual response “You must have faith”.

Since I secretly know that religion can never answer all my questions (because God told me himself), I look forward to the process in which Islam eventually debates and argues itself out of it’s current overly domineering governing role, and slips quietly back into being just another “personal guide on living a good life”. A much needed tool and handbook for the suffering many, who apparently need ongoing moral maintenance, finding themselves continually and habitually succumbing to the world’s many evils and temptations.

The rest of us are doing just fine thanks.

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