I have received a few good questions and constructive suggestions. Some of my commentators were very kind to leave their messages of support and complements for which I personally thank them. However there was one message in particular that I found very important and interesting. It was from a friend who referred to me as a “wolf in a sheep cloths”. In his answer I have to tell: Well my friend if this message means that you have finally seen the logic in my argument and found yourself in agreement with some of the points that I made, then I would take your message as a complement. You also seem to think that I am trying to save Islam. I must say you are putting too much emphasis on me.
A religion that needs my help to be rescued have got be a very weak and lousy one and you have noting to fear about it, as sooner or later it would be exposed for what it is.
Furthermore in the world of people like Hafez, Molana, Saady, Ebne Sina, Omar Khayyam, Kharazmi, many other great followers and admirers of this religion I am merely irrelevant.
However, the reason that I do not advocate a war against Islam is not because of my blind faith, but because I believe it to be the wrong war and irrelevant to our goals. To me personally, Islam is a tool. No more no less. A tool cannot be praised or blamed for the way it is used. Now, let me elaborate. Imagine a carving knife. A knife on its own cannot be good or bad. In the hand of a great artist like Leonardo Davinchi a knife can be used to create the greatest sculpture masterpieces and the same knife in the hands on a murderer can be used to kill innocent people.
it is very naïve to blame the knife for the murder or praise it for the masterpiece it has been user for. The very same argument can be used about Islam. A religion which in the hand of great visionaries like Hafez Saadi, Molavi and Ebne Sina could be used as the base of the greatest masterpieces in poetry philosophy, logic and Erfaan and in the hand on a mad opportunist like Khomeini or Bin Laden, the same religion can be used as a weapon of murder prosecution and suppression.
As long as suppressive opportunists and their naïve, suggestible and extremist followers exist there is no shortage of tools (such as religions, ideologies and so on) to manipulate them. Looking back at the history of the world and our own country in particular one could see how many different excuses and ideologies were used to silent the opposition. It was national security yesterday, it’s Islam today and it could very easily be Persian Identity tomorrow.
Those nations who managed to break out of this viscous cycle are the ones who identified, tackled and resolved the underlying cultural and behavioural attitudes of their citizens and leaders, which leads into these extremism views and intolerances, which makes the basis for dictatorships. This was done through education, understanding, respect and transparency.
Also our friend, Kooroush Sassanian has posted an important question about the situation of Iran and the need for foreign intervention. He argues that the Allies have invaded Germany to get rid of Hitler and helped that country to get back on its feed after Second World War, and the same strategy could be used in relation to Iran and IRI.
In his answer I have to say that there are several fundamental differences between the two scenarios and historical situations that makes this comparison totally flawed at best and very irresponsible and dangerous at worst. In here I will try to highlight a few of these differences
1- Germany was situated in Europe, right at the doorstep of countries like France and UK. So in order for them to have any stable peaceful future and in order to stop events of 1918 to 1939 recurring and to prevent another war, they had to make sure that all of Europe was rebuild, the quarrels were addressed and no one was left behind.
2- Also after the guns fell silent and the conventional war ended, the rise of Soviet Empire was indicating the start of another conflict (which is today known as the Cold War) in the horizon. In order for the capitalist West to make sure that this war is won, they had to show their allies that being on their side will pay much better. It was exactly for the above two reason that Marshall plan took off in Europe and helped to rebuild the entire Western Europe. On the other hand, nearly seven years after invasion of Afghanistan and four years after the invasion of Iraq we are yet to see any major reconstruction or investments in these countries let alone another Marshall Plan. This was for the reason that which brings me to my third point.
3- In the mind set of Europe and US, today’s Middle East is a very different entity to the 1339’s Germany and Europe. To them we are noting but a nuisance sitting on a vast supply of oil, separating them from these vital energy resources. During the past 100 years the West has never shown any genuine concern towards welfare of the people in this region and quiet often they helped, supported and supplied weapons to warmonger dictators like Saddam Hussein, Zia Al-Hagh, Mosharaf, Saudi Family and many others, just to serve its own short term political and financial interests.
Even the war on Iraq was started under the banner of threat from WMD and when their hand was exposed, then and only than they used Iraqi freedom as a cover up. But to those of us who know a thing or two about the world politic and importance of oil, it was obvious that the war against Saddam started because Saddam refused to play ball and started to sell oil in Euro instead of American Dollar. An act that would have broken the controversial petrol-Dollar-arm cycle. That was the reason none of the Euro zone countries supported the war. However that is another story for another day and out of the scope of this article
Certainly in our own country from the murder of Amir Kabir to Mashrootyyat Revolution, to Mosaddegh affair and from 1979 Revolution and Iraq war till today, we have always been a witness to this trend of conspiracy, callousness and disregard for our rights over and over again.
These countries have never really cared about the welfare of our people or general human right in the world, otherwise they would not have supported dangerous dictators such as Mosharaf or the rulers of Saudi. For the past few centuries the foreign policies of these countries were a same old divide and conquer game and they have never shown any concerns about the national interest other countries. And frankly I do not see any evidence of them changing their behaviour.
Even today in the face of danger of Islamic terrorists from Pakistan and their supporters in Saudi, still the West chooses to turn a blind eye just because it serves their short-term financial interest. The latest case of Saudi arms deal and the bribes received by Saudi Emirs is a good example of this double standard, where even UK government bent over backward to stop the investigation into this fraud allegation, just because it might have upset the Saudis and jeopardised the multi billion dollar arms deal with BAE.
4- The national mindset, geopolitical situation and ethnic tensions in today’s Iran is totally different to 1939’s Germany. Over 80 years of ethnic tensions, which was fuelled by foreign conspiracies and, unwise actions of some local leaders and their followers and even many short-sided intellectuals and politicians, some of whom had their own hidden agenda, has left us deeply divided and suspicious of one another. Even today one can observe the evidence of this deep division and suspicion just by looking at the comments left on this very site.
As you know even in case of Germany after the invasion of Allies the country was divided into two parts (a division that lasted nearly 50 years).
I can assure you that such action bears the exact same danger of dividing our country along the ethnic fault lines, just like today’s Iraq. There are a lot of opportunists in every community who would like to tear this country into many pieces in order to cast their own control on one peace of it. They do not care about the welfare of these communities or the future of a country called Iran. All they are interested in is to use people’s emotions and frustrations to cast their own control on parts of the country and serve their own interest. Such division would also make it much easier for the countries like US, UK, Europe, Russia and China to control and manipulate the region in order to serve their own interest.
To believe that such separation would only be temporary and after being divided by ethnic war we would be able to glue this country back together is a very naïve and irresponsible presumption.
Which was forced upon the incompetent Ghajaar kings, less than a hundred years ago by the British and Russians. These treaties separated many different provinces (Such as Azarbaijan) from this country.
Nearly ninety years after these events and in spite of the collapse of soviet Union we are yet to see any evidence or tendency on the part of two sides to unite again into the country which was once known as Persia and restore its borders into where is was before the division.
For these very reasons an many more which are out of the scope of this article, there could be not comparison drawn between 1939 Germany and today’s Iran. An invasion of our country in the hand of its old enemies would only results in the annihilation of the country known today as Iran and dividing it to many different small states. An act which only serves the interest of the West who would then be able to easily threaten and control these little weak states and guarantee its own energy supply. For these very reasons, I personally find it very far fetched irresponsible and dangerous to invite our old enemies to invade and destroy Iran.
But this does not mean for even a moment that I do not want to see the back of these murderer Mullahs. In fact I believe it is essential to our future that we get rid of them. Unlike some people who still think that IRI is redeemable and the moderate faction within IRI could still win the day and turn it around, I believe that IRI and its system is corrupt from the root and even the moderate faction within it are a bunch of criminals who have to stand trial and answer for their crimes against Iran.
That is why I hope people like our friend Kamangeer are right and these change would come sooner rather than later. However I believe this change should come from within.
Furthermore, the point that I find even more important than regime change in Iran is the change of attitude amongst Iranians. As difficult costly and colossal that a regime change in Iran might seem, for me its only the beginning.
Personally I am more concerned about the day after collapse of this regime and the direction that the country and its people will take from there. What I am concerned about is that we do not pay such hefty prise just to remove one dictator and replace it with another one.
To those who think this is not possible my answer is to think again. The majority of you may not be old enough to remember the revolution in 1979. I remember having the same discussion with the activists and visionaries of that era. They were claiming that all of problems in Iran were due to Shah and his corrupted regime and as soon as we get rid of him every thing start falling into place and we can start rebuilding a free Iran.
Furthermore they were claiming that with Islam and its teaching and Role models like Imam Ali, one can never go wrong and there would be not danger of corruption or political criminality. Well!!! Looking back now One can see how wrong they were.
Some of them were even advocating an invasion by the Soviet Union. Their argument was that we have to get rid of this regime at any cost and when it’s gone, then we can deal with other problems later. Does it sound awfully familiar to you?
In the end the reality was that Shahs regime was replaced with another bunch of dictators who were of even more incompetent, murderer and traitors. They were Mullahs and their fanatic followers who believe that the only right way is the one they follow and whoever disagrees with them is an agent of the enemy or an stupid, infidel traitor who needs to be shut up at any cost (killing, imprisonment and torture)
Hence you might be able to understand when I am telling you that I have been there done that, wrote the book and made the move.
In my humble opinion in order to prevent us from falling into the same trap again, we first need to clean our own act. We need to learn to think in a democratic way and of course we need to respect each other and the opposition. We are a country of seventy million people and you can hardly find any two people who could agree on everything.
We might have different religions, political views and visions of what is perfect or the best for our country. But what is certain is the fact that we all want what is the best for this country and the future of our children and that could be a strong base to build on. Remember that not everybody who is in disagreement with you is stupid, an enemy a spy or a traitor.
So the first think we all need to do is to get rid of our suspicion and mistrust towards each other. If we are not to fall in to the same trap of extremism and replacing one dictatorship another version of it, we must first learn to listen respect and learn from each other.
Looking at the political climate of our country and the position of the different factions of opposition inside and out of Iran, one cannot help but to observe this deep mistrust and lack of respect.
Today nearly one hundred years After Mashroote Revolution and three dictators later we still have not learned the lessons of respect, reconciliation compromise and negotiation, and unless we are willing to change our ways, I am afraid the same viscous circle will continue, no matter how many regimes we change.
I can vividly imagine thirty years from now our children meeting in the same forums and talking about the brutalities and dictatorship of the next regime (Nationalist or other) and the way they show no respect for other peoples right to choose their own political view and personal faith. However important our values might seem to us today, they would be dismissed by our children in the same way the we are dismissing the faith and values that mobilised our parents against the last regime only 28 years ago.
Now, you might not agree with everything that I say and that’s Ok too. As long as we are reasonable enough to allow other people to have their say without fear of insult and mockery and (when you are in power) prosecution and censorship, there might still be a hope for us.
And finally to the friend who accused me of being anti-Arab. Well, I must say that is a change. Mostly through this article I was accused of being an Arab lover. But the fact that you are accusing me the in opposite way, might actually indicates that my effort to occupy the political middle ground has not been wasted.
However the notes that I made about the Arab army of 1400 years ago and the damages they have done to my country does not mean that I hate Modern Arabs. In the same way that my comments about the crimes of Alexander against Iran does not mean that I bear any ill will towards modern Greeks. I was simply pointing to the historical facts.
All through our history this country have been invaded and damaged by many enemies. From Alexander to Omar, From Changiz Khan to the Russians and from the British to the Americans and Iraqis. They have done a lot of damage and committed many crimes against this land of ours.
We certainly can not forget these painful events and the lessons that should be drawn from them as it would be totally irresponsible to do so, and it is simply not ours to forgive, as the real victims of those atrocities are all gone and they are the only ones with the power to forgive.
All we can do is try to learn the lessons from these events and try to prevent their recurrence, through awareness, resilient, dialogue, understanding and reconciliation.
Also in answer to your request for me to name a few of the books that I read or seminars I attended, I should say that I simply do not see the point. If you think I am not telling the truth and only bragging, there is no guarantee that even after giving those details you might not think the same way. Unless you are proposing for me to site on an exam and be tested for my knowledge of those books
How ever if you are still insisting, just for your benefit here are a few names from the top of my head:
Ancient Persia, Josef Wiesopherersia
Iran before Islam, Hertz Felant
Roozegaran, Dr Abdol Hossein Zarrin Koob
Taarikh e Tabari
Shefaa Ebne Sina
Eshaarat Va Tanbihaat Ebne Sina
Khajeye Taaj Daar
Century of War, William Engdahl
The Great War for Civilisation, Robert Fisk
Irane Kohan (Tavallodi Digar), Shojaa Oddin Shaffa
Pass az 1400 saal, Shojaa Oddin Shaffa
Iran dar Chahaar Rahe Tarikh, Shojaa Oddin Shaffa
Az Koleiny taa Khomeini, Shojaa Oddin Shaffa
Ketaab Soozi e Iran va Mesr, Motahari
Iran the untold story
Memoirs of General Hazier
Vojdane Tarikhi, Dr Ali Shariaty
Resaalate Roshanfekr, Dr Ali Shariaty
Shie Yek mazhabe Tamam, Dr Ali Shariaty
An approach to understand Islam, Dr Ali Shariaty
The communist Manifesto
Morrori kootah bar tarikhe Iran, Dr Reza Sha Baani
Iran Awakening, Shirin Ebadi
Most of lectures I attended was in Chatham House London and many other were organized by the Iranian apposition groups in exile.