July 7, 2000
Why is it disturbing?
I don't dispute that Jews can be spies ["Let's
face it"]. Jews, as well as Moslems and Christians have spied
in Iranian history at times and spying is never justifiable. But, what
is disturbing about the trial of Jews in Iran is whether they can get a
Most people blame Iran's current system of justice as unfair and unjust
and even dictatorial. But, the problem goes beyond the justice system.
The legal and justice system in Iran is only a reflection of a culture
that tends to see in people such absolutes as good or bad, right or wrong,
angel or evil. The natural consequence of such a polarized thinking is
to see no options other than elimination, punishment, and execution. This
form of absolute thinking and behavior is then viewed and justified as
To be sure, Islamic mollas are not the only ones who practice this "cultural
good." The leftists, monarchists, Mojahedin-e Khalgh, and even some
reformists follow the same logic. The dominant discourse and mentality
among many Iranians of various backgrounds is to find the right and wrong,
good and bad, angel and evil in order to act for or against them. And,
some know well how to do it zealously.
This "self-assured" discourse and "executionist"
way of thinking exists among many Iranians living in Iran, but also among
many Iranians living in democracies of the West. The leftists' discourse
and treatment of Iran's reformists at the Berlin Conference earlier this
year is a good example. Other examples can be seen in the form and content
of some petitions launched by individuals and groups, last year, advocating
students' uprising in Iran and virtually issuing death sentences against
President Khatami and other reformists.
Given our culture, should we be surprised if Iranian Jews accused of
spying for Israel don't get a fair trial? In the absence of a self-reflective
discourse and a deliberating mode of thought process, we should not wonder
why Iranian Jews are on trial: we should wonder why we are not!