wait for help
Chained down by our rooted cultural and social
October 19, 2006
The absence of responsibility and accountability among our citizens
is one major source from where our problems arise. Today, every
problem is blamed on the Mullahs or the government. It is
often ignored that the responsibilities of building the edifice
of order and solidarity in our society lies mostly in the hands
of the people. We have chosen to play the game that the government
has put forth in order to eliminate consonance and harmony among
the people. The government realizes that with the existence of
a solidified movement among the people, cooperation of the people
with the unjust laws of the government will cease to exist, since
they are all suffering in the same hell manufactured by the government
The creation of a corrupt government, economic and social injustice,
poverty, and financial crisis for thousands of families that has
forced many of our youth
into depression, addiction, suicide, and prostitution, are some factors of that
manufactured hell. We have unconsciously become slaves to a system in which we
are willing to slump one another in order to survive that hell. Until the day
we wake up and realize the truth behind our sufferings and take responsibility
for our own actions we will never comprehend our weaknesses that lead us to our
state of slavery.
Our problem lies in our dependence on the government. We seek government intervention
to discipline us and regulate our activities while we remain emasculated. We
refuse to realize the need to detach ourselves from the system and to create
a state of anarchy and self-help. As Gandhi said, "The moment the slave
resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall." We are facing
similar conditions as slaves. Slaves are ruled by relying on, cooperating, and
obeying their masters' orders yet, they blame the masters for their misery.
Today Iranians in Iran are in a similar situation. For the time
being, they are distancing themselves form politics and political activism for
good reasons. As a friend of mine in Iran told me, "The Iranians outside
of Iran are more politically active than us inside the country. Today people
are mostly trying to make a living and are attempting to make the best life out
of their limited freedoms and opportunities." This is quite understandable
since they have been the ones suffering for so long. If they are not engaged
in political activities, they are at least undeniably involved, in everyday social
activities such as interacting and socializing with others; trading, driving,
working, and many other day-to-day means of communication. During some of those
social activities, negligent mistakes are made that are blamed on the government.
A simple and concrete example is the way of driving and traffic in Iran, especially
in Tehran, which is rated one of the worst in the world. If one lacks the discipline
to drive in a single lane, signal when changing lanes, stop at red lights, and
not drive against traffic or go reverse on highways, how is that the fault of
the government? Some may argue that the government does not enforce the laws
because of corruption and bribery. That may be true, but do we really need the
government to enforce the laws and even punish us for not following our own commonsense?
As always, Gandhi had the right idea; "Independence means voluntary restraints
and discipline, voluntary acceptance of the rule of law," a vision that
appears to be quite unfamiliar to most.
Another problem is scamming others in order to make easy money. Some may also
blame the government for this unjustifiable act by claiming that the bad economy
created by the government has forced people into such acts of desperation. That
still does not justify the exploitation of your brothers and sisters in order
for you to make a living.
To add to the list of problems, our greedy entrepreneurs and investors take money
from Iran to setup factories in China or India for the inhumane exploitation
of cheap labor or for investing the money in Dubai just to maximize profits similar
to the U.S. and western corporations. Why not setup factories inside the country
and employ the Iranian people with decent amount of wages? Why not serve the
Iranian people for once?
Yet another problem comes to mind. Inside Iran, people have the desire of purchasing
foreign made products, which ultimately destroys our indigenous businesses. Why
not purchase domestic products and support the workers inside the country instead
of unknowingly supporting the system of corporate globalization that exploits
other developing countries. To that some might argue that the domestic products
do not have good quality. Well why not give them a reason to enhance their quality?
Why not give them incentives for producing better quality products? Why not be
satisfied with the idea of fighting poverty rather than owning high-end quality
products? Except that this suggestion has no real meaning to the masses of our
people especially the wealthy.
The truth is, we want products that are labeled
as Armani and Gucci, Mercedes and MBW so that we could compete in our endless
emulation with others. Since we, as Iranians, are so superficially judgmental
about others and how they dress, what they drive, what they eat, where and
how they live, we have become prisoners and victims of our own
We are unable to live simple as our less fortunate brothers and sisters, unable
to adopt modesty and eradicate our avariciousness, unable downgrade our expectations,
and relinquish our selfish desires. It is definitely possible but not yet tried,
at least not by a significant number.
One admirable activity that does take place in Iran and gives me much hope
is during the Muslim month of Ashoora in which a couple of households in every
feed hundreds of people at their own expense. This is a noble act done by some
wealthy Iranians and it should be done more often than just during Ashoora.
During the days of the feeding, the entire neighborhood from kids to elders,
to help and assist in the event, completely independent of the government.
This is a simple illustration that neighborhoods
can organize and be active. Not politically
but merely through assisting the ones in need. They can use the same tactics
for raising money for different purposes such as education for children and
health care for the sick, supplying food and shelter for the homeless, rehabilitation
programs for addicts, etc. They can also cooperate with other neighborhoods
trade and assistance, organizing local events such as educational meeting,
forums and many other grass-root activities that sooner or later will open
to the real question: Do we really need the government?
In my Opinion, until we are able to unite and create a large cooperative
network among ourselves, it does not matter what kind of a revolution or
we adopt, we will still be chained down by our rooted cultural and social
incongruous habits. We mind as well get to work with the existence of the
and employ more energy and enthusiasm into bringing cultural and social change
by methods of self-reliance, self-management, and public cooperation.
So you see, our problems are beyond politics and government. They are emblems
of our need to simply eradicate our reliance on the government, enhance our
sense of solidarity with each other, rely on ourselves, act according to
lessen our expectations and greed, assist others in times of need, organize
locally and try to expand our reach to all of our humanity globally. Comment
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
-- Mahatma Gandhi.