May 12, 2000
Pie in the sky dream
I read with some amusement the rantings
of Maziar Shirazi, who, in his fired-up mode, could be hard to match
for not only verbosity, but outright ignorance. I also find it ironic he
should call himself 'a real Iranian' when it is so obvious that he was
the first to flee the kitchen when it got too hot!
What a contrast to the lucid, well-written letter
by Mamad Rastgoo, who rightly pointed out that there is a distinction
to be made between a jihad and what the Iranian government has even itself
called the war - "the sacred defence". Ignoring the entire annals
of history in his tirade, Shirazi foams at the mouth at the mere suggestion
that the war could have been caused by anyone besides the Iranian government.
For the enlightenment of the patriotic Shirazi, to say the war was caused
by Iran would need his returning to school, better yet, his library. That
is something not even one reputable historian today would say. For all
the rights and many wrongs of Iran's government, it has to be remembered
that because of the extra-territorial influences that fuelled the war,
some as close as the Persian Gulf, and others as far as the U.S and Soviet
Union, Iran is still struggling to pick up the pieces. Which does not justify
much, and I am not saying it does, but let us not say black and white are
coloured. That is foolish, and diversion tactics of the highest order.
For the information of Shirazi, it is no easy thing to rebuild your
country when you are suffering a boycott, even more so when the greater
half of your economically active population has been cut down in a devastating
war. The efforts of the people to rebuild Iran, and the attempts by the
government where it could, is the only reason Iran was not wiped out by
American-made Iraqi missiles, and still exists today. To rant and rave
about "Khomeini the butcher" this, and "Khomeini the butcher"
that, reveals Shirazi's attempts to disguise his rapid views with the friendly
cloak of patriotism.
Iran has big problems right now. And I would be the first to say banning
newspapers is not a wise move. As Mr Rastgoo rightly said, the issue of
ijtehad is what the ulama are trying to stifle, not "freedom".
Losing their grip on monopolizing religious interpretation is what they
fear most, not democracy.
Because if Shirazi knew anything about Iran, which its clear he doesn't,
beyond what he sees on CNN, then he would know that Iran, constitutionally,
is a democracy. What is going on now is people are saying that the constitution,
incidentally for Shirazi's information, ratified by Khomeini, should be
the rule of law, and not self-styled militias who impose their own brand
of justice at every corner. The people are saying certain things should
be relegated to the public domain, and others to the private. Which brings
me on to my final point, which is, incidentally, the clincher in Professor
Shirazi's splendid argument.
"There are no limits to freedom", he says. Ha ha. If that
were so I would encourage Shirazi to walk into the White House and kiss
Clinton. Or even better yet, blow up the White House. Or kill someone who
didn't give you a seat on the bus. Or drive on the wrong side of the road.
Or don't pay tax. The possibilities are endless.
Were it not for the very real fact that the existence of a state is
in itself proof there are indeed limits to freedom. When an individual
is a citizen of that state, she or he agrees to forfeit total freedoms
in return for protection from, and benefits from that state. In Iran this
was overblown, which the government itself is now admitting, and is under
pressure to change. To say such a ridiculous statement only proves that
Mr. Shirazi has a pie in the sky dream about an Iran that exists and can
only exist in his dreams.
K. Hoseini (Ms.)