Are we kinder, more conscious, people than before? It feels so. If that’s the case, there’s hope for Iran’s future.
In the words of Gloria Steinem, “Empathy is the most revolutionary emotion.”
A while back, a video aired on CNN which showed a graphic stoning of a 16 year old girl in Kurdistan of Iraq. It was even more disgusting to see men in police uniform stood by and watched as her skull was smashed, her bones crashed, and her entire body bled to death. Her crime was having a boyfriend. For that she was stoned to death. That video had profound impact on me. I shared my thoughts with a friend, who happens to be a practicing Buddhist. Her response was simple but powerful. She said,” if only 30% (or even less than that) of the people circling the girl felt sorry for her, she would’ve lived.” What about those people? Did they feel anything for her? I don’t believe this is a religious or a traditional thing. There’s a serious lack of emotional maturity, intelligence, and consciousness much like slaughtering a sheep.
It struck me odd to hear Ayatollah Larijani’s (head of the judiciary) recent comments on being “unlawfully” pressured to rush the executions. The executions are fear tactics but they are more than just tactics. They were and are precious lives. Were Larijani’s comments out of fear of retribution? Or the holly Ghesaas? Or was it his conscious speaking? As an optimist, I’d like to think his conscious played a small part. The recent executions of the two young men, Alizamani and Rahmanipour, shook the world. The whole world condemned the executions as Mousavi and Karoubi pledged to continue fighting.
In his public announcement, the recently resigned Iranian Counselor in Tokyo asked his colleagues not to celebrate the Islamic Revolution’s anniversary and asked them to learn “courage” from the executed young man of 19, Arash Rahmanipour. Did the Counselor believe his colleagues were empathetic toward the Green movement? I hope so. I have watched videos of Sohrab Arabi’s mother, her heartrending tears, her courageous voice demanding answers for her beloved son’s death, and her continued fight to the bitter end with no FEAR! When there’s courage, there’s empathy too. Despite the threats, many parents of the imprisoned or the murdered speak out.
Rewinding back to the 80s, that sort of courage was unseen and unheard of. What stopped them then? May be there just wasn’t enough empathy, no courage hence. Back in the 80s, so many were savagely murdered while others watched in horror and silenced by fear. No one dared to speak up especially the victim’s parents. For part of that horrible decade, Mr. Mousavi was a prime minister who, like many others, lacked “empathy.” I’d prefer to believe he’s changed now especially after the tragic murder of his own nephew. Could we have grown into a kinder, gentler, nation?
With its nuclear ambitions, and being labeled as a terrorist sponsored state, the Islamic regime has further damaged Iran’s image in the eye of the world for more than 30 years.
But despite of the axis-of-evil drawn image, comes Neda. Neda’s tragic death swept the country and the entire world. Her images for the first time ever brought about an endemic of empathy and compassion for Iran. Empathy is powerful!
Courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy lift us above the simple beasts and define humanity.Dean Koontz