Some Iranians believe in a political philosophy that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The political reality however is never that simple especially when it comes to Iran, a wealthy and the cultural powerhouse of the region. The western politicians had realized the power of Iran and have been trying to silence her possible roar. We Iranians however are still confused about our own history let alone the possibilities that lay in front of us today.
One of the strengths of the western nations during the hardship has been the power of the Church. Although today there is a separation of Church and State, but one could argue that the separation is not as clear as one would think. The power of the Church in western politics is bigger than the power of mosque in Turkey or even Saudi Arabia. Please note that we are not speaking about the social rules that are respected within a culture as norms in a society. They too could be and mostly are religious. We are speaking about the political framework of a nation.
The ideologies of the West are intertwined with Christianity and the vast majority of the citizens of the West would not want any other value to replace their Christian one. They feel entitled to the faith and sense danger if they see the absence of the Church in their lives. One can argue that the majority of the western citizens living their daily lives want the security that Christianity brings to them.
The freedom of religion that we are entitled to in the West exists because of a high historical price that they paid for. Years of war and struggle ensued to push the backward Church ideologies away so modernity could take its natural growth. Yet today we can easily notice the influence that the Church has in individuals’ thinking and decision making. Clearly this is the main reason that the organized political Jewish groups have linked themselves to the Christians based on the ideology of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Many corners around the globe exsist that one can find refuge from the ideas of religion. However, the reality seems to suggest that religion is here to stay. Although many Iranians today discredit religion and want Islam vanished, they are not well versed in the historical reality that not only is it a useless battle but also socially a dangerous one. No great nation has reached its status based on ignoring a cultural reality, at least permanently. Islam in the Iranian society is a cultural reality. Islam has become Iranian, different than Malaysian Islam or Egyptian Islam.
The reason that I find the above statement important is because we need to accomplish the first stage of our historical reality before jumping to solve all of our national and international dilemmas. The difficulty to communicate with some groups of Iranians begins with their empty slogans of pre Islamic Iran. I do not discredit our amazing history, whether it’s pre-Islamic or post Islamic. The common sense point of our Iranian heritage tells us that we are more like the Iranians after Islam than the Iranians who lived before Islam.
Besides Nowruz and a few celebrations here and there, our entire culture seems to relate more to Iran after Islam. What many Iranians and non Iranians admire about the Iranian culture is mostly its poetry and art created after Islam. In the West also the best art came from the religious angle of the culture and not only the Westerners recognize that but they also admire their art proudly. Imagine if the Iranians went through the same atrocities that the West had gone through by their religious elite. Would we fantasize the era romantically today as the West does? I bet not.
I bring these points up to make a statement: It’s not only the current regime or the religion that they represent, which is dictatorial and Father like (Pedar-Saalaar) but some main part of the problem comes from us, the people. We Iranians never truly work for our society and never have developed the sense of citizenry. We have not grown out of the merchant mentality that is a prerequisite for the evolvement of a traditional society into a modern one. We have looped in and out of our traditions and still are struggling with the simplest part of our identity: Islam.
Being an ancient society, in many ways we resemble an American society, in which we want things done and available quickly and effortlessly. Our nation has been similar to the United States because of our multi cultural identity and social evolution in comparison to the rest of the region. Maybe that’s the reason that most Iranians fit really well in the American society. Iran during its modernization era by Reza Shah resembled US for our neighbors. Why are we here today with an Islamic Republic system? And what should we do to change all this?
The Islamic Republic is not our entire problem. I would argue that with or without the IR, little or no significant difference would be felt by those who truly dream of a free and independent Iran. The major part of the equation I believe has not been fixed. The people of Iran need to define what are acceptable social norms in the Iranian society. The simplest solution is what the IR is enforcing. To take the Rights of all so no one would argue for the acceptable norms. IR agrees that we need to go back to Islam to find a common ground.
You may agree or disagree with IR’s methodology to find an answer, but as long as we are not clear about those social norms, the IR’s alternatives are what we are left with. We need to deal with IR until we are united with the same ideology as what it is that defines us as Iranian. Without this social definition, we might be in for a bumpy ride to even ethnic separation and a divided Iran. The reality is that Iran today does not hold a nationalistic identity but more of a religious identity. With a sudden breakup of the current system, it is possible to enter an area of an unknown and chaotic Iran, which to me makes the IR a more attractive option than some of these negative possibilities.
The solution does not need to be enforced upon us and we should not put a time frame to find an answer. The issue is not a quick fix; the issue is how and what to fix. Let’s develop a forum and hope for the rise of true opposition. In this forum we will describe what things we would like to keep and what things we would like to modify or get rid of. Our base would be the current regime of Iran and the way things are, so there would be no assumptions. Let this be the pillar of our path to a better Iran. In time, Iranians inside and abroad, will hear one another. Am I dreaming? Perhaps, but this is a more realistic alternative for a better Iran than what the world or Iranian oppositions offer today.
A pessimist would say that there is no way that everyone would agree on all points and an optimist would argue that we don’t need to agree with all the points, we need to resolve our core issues. Let’s bring those core issues on the table and investigate them openly. The image of the preferred society on the surface might vary from person to person, but many of us might agree on the core ideologies that we envision for the future of Iran.
Similar to many citizens of various countries, Iranians are looking for a quick resolution. What comes to the majority of the Iranians mind as our greatest problem is the core ideology that IR represents: Islam. Again I would argue that this is a mistake similar to those who blame the bad economy on immigrants rather than the policies in place! If we have a unifying force, which could be Islam, let it be and focus on things that really divide us. Maybe one of the best lessons that we can learn from the past revolution is that we had a unifying force, how we fell out of touch with what we wanted requires an investigation. We then, similar to now, did not define the social wants and needs and lazily agreed on the simplest option: Islamic base as Constitution. Well we could say that we were inexperienced and didn’t know many things. Are we there yet?
At this point the world cannot offer us a viable solution, we need to resolve our basic issues and open the possibilities for ourselves. No short cuts or a lazy way out. It is something that we have to do ourselves if we like to make history and teach our future generations that we can. If we want to let ourselves and the rest of the world know that we are a great nation, we need to do this as a nation and move forward.
The slogans have become a culture in today’s Iran and Reza Shah II has not been anything other than empty words to many Iranians. Logically he should have been one dominant opposition figure that the Iranian mass could line behind to form a force for the advancement of freedom. Realistically, Iranians are not in that stage to trust anyone, which brings us back to my point; our people need to resolve their understanding of their wants and needs so no government could possibly trick them into another authoritarian regime.
Some important points that we all should agree on:
-No “enemy of my enemy is my friend”, necessarily
-Based on the historical fact and the previous revolution, we have the experience and the know-how to start and implement change.
-We are a strong nation and Iranians, at home or abroad can and should use our influence to secure Iran.
-It’s vital to communicate and keep in touch with the Iranian community in and out of Iran
-it is our region and we shall not sit quietly when a politician openly threatens our people and the security of our region
-We will find a way and we do not take free hand outs. Nothing is free!
-Our freedom and independence does not translate danger to the world or in anyways battles the western influence in the region.
-Regime change is not a must if the current government agrees with the Iranian demands.
-No to sanctions. Sanctions will only work against the people of Iran and will lead ultimately to a bloody war.