August 8, 2000
Logic instead of anger
The attitude implied by the editorial entitled "No
brainer" is dangerous in its ability to undermine the reform process
-- perhaps as dangerous as the actions taken by the conservative clerical
elite. Indeed, the situation demands all the "brain" available
to counter the equally threatening potentials for either a furthering of
the conservative clampdown, or a chaotic upheaval.
It was clear from the onset of Khatami's term that reform would be slow,
arduous, and, at times, frustrating. But the decision to proceed slowly
and cautiously is in direct response to the utter fatigue resulting from
a violent revolution immediately followed by nearly a decade of imposed
The successes of Khatami's term should not be underestimated: he has
regained the confidence and approval of a multitude of former regional
adversaries to the Islamic Republic, numerous measures have been passed
to formalize and hopefully revitalise economic production, the strength
of the bonyads (conservative strongholds) have been undercut with a change
in leadership and rejection of a gas-field development bid, the mere presence
of Khatami in office has attracted detente measures from Western states,
despite attempts to limit cultural "infiltration" Iranians have
maintained access to informations via satellites and increasing telecom
and internet connectivity.
These hard-earned achievements add up to a situation where Iranians
are not alone in the world. And the injustices being committed are on
full view to the world. The situation is enhanced by the connectivity
of the diasporic community (people like us).
Further interconnectedness and transparency are steps toward a situation
of relative integrated peace. Only in such a situation will pragmatic
reform be allowed to flourish in Iran, and such pragmatism inevitably seeks
to undermine the inefficient, ad hoc nature of the conservative clerical
elite, with no excuses for them to cling. This is what is meant by the
triumph of logic and reason, as advocated by Khatami.
By promoting an air of hostility, or by responding to the actions of
the conservative elite with more hostility, this interconnectedness is
threatened, and with it, logic and reason. I would contend with anyone
that hostile radicalism, whether it be conservative or populist, cannot
solve any problems unless it is backed by logic and reason. Thus the contention
that the current situation is a "no brainer" must be held back
for the sake of sustainable change.
The diasporic community, with the space, time, and money available to
us, must make an effort to promote developments on the outside that favor
sustainable change on the inside. There is no need for such radical posturing.
Our homeland cannot afford to receive any more of it.
New York City