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May 20, 2004

* I call it Pahlavi Complex

Dear Laleh,

when i read your article about Farah Pahlavi [No queen of mine], I became very sad, because you don't have Gucchi or Yves Saint Laurent Couture. I want to help you, please send me a picture of the models you need, and I will get you some of it.

OK, let us be serious again, I want to tell you something about the Pahlavi era, not because I loved or hated them, but because Iranians often still judge biased and one sided about that time, the speak very often against the Pahlavis. The reason why I feel disturbed by that is that people like you often say: we are secularist and Democrats.

Dear Laleh, REAL Democrats always talk about BOTH sides of a matter, about negative and positive aspects. I know what I am talking about, because I saw in my short life (I am 34 years old) Democracy in Westerneurope, Monarchy, Military Regime and Theocracy in Iran, Communism during my time as a student in Hungary and the Birth of Democracy there and later in the Eastern part of Germany (former Communist German Democratic Republic), whith all the problems which occur after such fundamental changes.

And I think you are still to young to understand politics and so I want to tell you something, without anger or without trying to make a fool of you, because I am a Democrat, I listen to your arguments, and I want to be treated the same way.

You write, you have to pay the price for mistakes during the revolution. You remind me of those Iranians who participated during the revolution. Why? Because Iranians in 1978 reduced the problems of Iran on the Shah and the US. And a few traitors. We were just the oppressed people. We, the poor people of Iran.

Yes, you are a victim of the revolution. So am I. The Shah made mistakes, Right. But my parents, and yours and generally all the people of Iran made mistakes. Because we ran after Khomeini like a cow. Don't matter why (he said democracy will come and so on..) We, the people of Iran were stupid and made a revolution almost (I say almost!) totaly unnessecary.

I see you reduce the revolution on the Pahlavis too exactly like our parents did it!!. On Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent Couture. "Negah kon, schah mire suiss eski bokone mardom badbakht hastand". What did you learn? Nothing. If you had taken part in the revolution, than with this kind of view your own children would now complain about you.

By the way, there is really nothing about wearing Gucci. I mean you cannot judge the politics of the Pahlavi by the fact, that Farah had Gucci, you have to judge the Politics she made.

If it is the money she paid for it you are complaining about, than OK. Maybe she paid it from her sallary. Kings and Presidents all over the world get sallarie's. The difference between a monarchy and a Democracy is the following:

In a Monarchy, the money is always there, normally the monarch get immideately the things he wants to get without any problem and soon. In a Democracy the president or chancellor get's a relative low sallary. But then, oh what surprise, he sit's as consultant someewhere in big companies, maybe he is chief of a company, which get's bigger and richer during his reign....

I am sure, that when the Shah needed a Helicopter for a trip from Theran to Mashad he did not look into his bank accounts to tell his wife" Farah look, how much money we have, now we will make a short trip to Mashad, because we can afford it! Hurray!"

No Question, the Shah had no problems to get large amounts of money if he wanted to. But why then the people go to the Niavaran Palace today and leave it disappointed: That's all? This sad little palace is one of the reasons we made a revolution?

Let me tell you, all the presidents in a Democracy do it the same way and don't have to pay the bills. I saw a TV Coverage about how the German President , who is just a representative of Germany (and not an executive politician) use to travel. His airplane has a big Bathroom, a big bed for him and his wife, in one aireplane just imagine!!!!! Does he really need this?? With my taxes (I am a German resident) Did the Germans went on the streets the next day and said "Marg bar Raiss Dschomhur?"

No, nobody complains about the president living "like a king". You might say: But germans are rich, iranians were poor. I tell you something: germans are poor today and will get more poor the coming years. (We can discuss about this too if you want).

You might argue: the Shah was there because his father was the Shah. In a democracy everybody can become a leader. Superficially seen yes. But neither you, nor me, nor the Pendan to "Mashallah khan, Baghale sare Koutche" in Germany can become a president. There are "mechanisms", which let just a special kind of people become leaders. In the US e.g. you need a lot of money.

This is what you wrote: "When Farah and her family left Iran, they took what they wanted to with them. Sure, I have seen the interviews where both Farah and Reza deny this but let's get real." Hurray, I say, get real. We are human being, and not idealists. And as an idealist I would say yes, the money should have stay in the country. It should have been given to ... whom? To you? To me?

Should they have give the money to the poor people? (By the way they gave a lot of money to the "Poor" but we can discuss that point later if you want to ) O-K. To the poor people of south Tehran. How would the nation have reacted? The would have shouted: "And the rest? Why did we not get anything??"

People in Germany would go on the barricades if Chancellor Schroeder would give money to poor people. Bad solution. So, maybe Farah and the Shah could have built more roads? Appartments? Nice, but everywhere in Iran they already were building roads, airports and railways.

The problem was not, that they did nothing. The problem was: too much happened in a very short time, mistakes in Organization happended, the people could not get enough, suddenly, from 1973 (just four years before the beginning of the revolution !) on we got rich, under the Shah we got for one Barrel oil not any more a few cents like until 1973, but 35-40$!!

We really got rich, everybody wanted to have a part of the cake, this needed organization. And you know how Iranians are in organizing.... Laleh, we are not germans, and they are the only who really can organize. Believe me. So until the revolution we had suddenly billions of Dollars!! If I am right, I saw once on German TV a coverage, that the Shah family left 20 billion (!) $ in iranian banks! If the Pahlavis were so corrupt, why did the leave the money and crown in Tehran! I would have taken all the money with me.

Look, the money they took was maybe one piece of sand from a huge sandy shore, which still was left in Iran, absolutely unimportant for the economy of Iran. Please go and visit the homepage of Mr. Hoveyda, the former Primeminister of Iran, you will find a picture of the Shah and Fereydoon Hoveyda, his brother and UN-Ambassador at that time.

They were talking at the moment the picture was made money for projects in developing countries!! We had so much money that we realy could start to give it deliberately away!! (Today they give it to Hamas and Palestine...)

And F. Hoveyda, despite his brother was put in prison under the Shah in 1978 (THIS REALY WAS A MISTAKE OF THE SHAH!), still writes in a very neutral manner about the Pahlavi System. Please, do me a favor, write an article for The Economist in which you can prove: If the Pahlavis would have left the money in Iran, then democracy would have spread through the country, then every Iranian would have become superrich...

I admit something, in Germany for the old generation of politicians palaces and expensive car's, Gucchi or Yves Saint Laurent Couture ment nothing. Maybe for Farah and the Shah it did (But I don't believe that). But if, than it is an iranian cultural problem, listen to the iranians, most of them tend to be superficial and for them it is important: money ... and luxury! This has two sides too, on one side it is superficial, but on the other side iranians normally are well dressed, try to have a nice decoration at home and so on. But still I like my people.

There is always money there for a ruler, somehow. But if you have an income 100 $, then 20$ means a lot. If you have 100 000$, then 2000 $ is like 20$ for the other one. And the same would happen to you.

And excuse me, if you or me would have been the Shah, maybe (but just maybe we would have some money in switzerland too. So the essence: Kings and presidents always have money. In a Democracy, Theocracy and even in the Communist system. All man are equal. But some man are more equaI (George Orwell, Animal Farm) It was always like this. It always will be like this. And you will never change human beings.

OK. You write: "Call me a Ghandi-lover, but a real king and a real queen should be the slaves of the people." Dear Laleh, I am absolut against slavery, and even a king should not be a slave. And I am sure you never read anything about Ghandi, because then you would know that he fought against slavery of the Indian people during british rule in the last century.

You write: "But what I can say is that if she (Farah) didn't stand up to his (the Shah) injustice and brutality and protect the interests of the people" and "For Iran, the revolution meant and end to oppression."
So the Iran of that time was an ugly country. People were brutally oppressed Interesting view. How do you know that. Did you spent a time in prison? Or maybe relatives of yours?

Excuse me, the number of so-called "political prisoneers" at the time of the revolution (not during the peaceful times) was estimated by Amnesty International by about 3000!I thinkk, maybe it was a bit higher or lower. But 3000 ... what? Journalists?? Roushanfekr?? Bookwriters?? Nobelpricewinners??

You can read read in every Book about the revolution, written by the opponents of the Shah which contain a lot of complaints against the Pahlavis, one of his mistakes was to set all the "Political prisonners free after the big Demonstrations against him!! Because then most of them, who really were criminals (Thieves, bomb attackers, police killers, Modjahedine Khalgh, who later fought during the Iran-Iraq against their own people in Iran!!) got free and started becoming again active as criminals!!

So first everybody demanded from the shah to set them free, and then they criticized him after it became clear, that they were criminals. So what did the shah had to do? Everything people demanded was wrong. Prisoneering people was wrong. Setting them free was wrong.

First he was against Democracy, that was wrong. Then he wanted to give us free elections.That was wrong again. Where we shizophrenic or hysterical? I remember that time very well, and I say: Yes. Was Iran really oppressed so much? And: if the SAVAK was so good and had everybody under control and everybody was so afraid...then explain to me, how the revolution could happen?

And: Again, I am against Torture, Political Presoneers and so on. I am against SAVAK, SAVAMA, CIA and KGB. But there always will be a CIA and SAVAK, especially in Iran. Remeber: two times conquered by British and Russian troops, 1978, Iran oilrich, between the Sovietunion and the US, both reaching for the oil in the Persian Gulf. And then, if you Laleh would be Queen if Iran and saying: No SAVAK anymore, Democracy now, and I will step down as a Queen.

How long do you guess, Democracy and Peace would have lasted in Iran do you think? Please, I want to hear a realistic astimation... If you are unsure, then watch a video of that time, look into the faces and eyes of the people in extasy who shouted "Dorud bar Khomeini"!! I don't say that once if SAVAK would have catch me for something than I would have loved them. But still the fact remains, that the oppression in Iran was totally exaggerated.

Khomeini said 60,000 people were executed by the shah. Iranians are very fast in picking up such assumptions without questionning them . This is typical for us too. The number was repeated so often, that everybody believed it simply. During the "Meidane Jaleh" Massacre 1978 (Black Friday) they said 4,000 people died.

I remember people said the Shah sat in a helicopter giving instructions for the massacre. Just imagine him to sit there and saying: Now kill the man with the long beard, and now that child..." Think that I have not to comment on that. But as you know we are the Iranian nation, that thought seriously to see Khomeini's face appearing in the moon. Was that the fault of the Shah too? I have less intention to comment on that event when people starred to the night sky...

The respected Iranian historian Emadeddin Baghi, through research in the papers of "Bonyade Mostazafan" found out, that on that day, 88 people died. During the whole reign of the Shah 3,164 people were killed. In my view this makes a big difference. Why? Because: if Iranians knew at that time, that SAVAK and the "oppression" were totally exaggerated by mostley foreign media to reach their own pourpose, to destroy our prospering country, then they, I promise, never would have start the revolution.

The Shah had begun with compromises, with election plans for 1979, OK, maybe because of the turmoil against him, but why we stupid Iranians did not say OK, then wait and see if the elections happen, if not we can start again? Instead media in the world became hysteric and "concerned " about human rights in Iran, we became brainwashed and thought we were oppressed, we started crying for ourselfves (this is typical iranian too, we like to be melancholic and to say: Ma bitschareha, how bad is our situation).

You, dear Laleh, are following their way, talking like our parents 25 years ago, and so you made yourself a puppet, in Germany they say: you let yourself being used as a horse in fron't of a "Kaleskeh", means: you don't realize that you become an instrument of those foreigners who are sitting behind you on the "Kaleskeh", you pull them, work for them by saying and even believing things, they want you to make believe, and you are making a fool of yourself.

By the way, on the same"Kaleskeh" are not just foreigners sitting, but also the Mullahs, who took away our freedom and wealth. And they laugh at a girl called Laleh, who believes their propaganda and serves them in the easiest way without realizing it (And this, Laleh, is for me the most sad point!!!!) And the best thing is: they don't have to force you to have this opinion, you make it so easy for them!

I want to tell you something: Iranians have a Pahlavi-Complex. I call it: Oghdeye Pahlavi. I don't know why, but as soon as the name Mohammad Reza Pahlavi appears, the Iranians loose their minds, they get furious, they say: He was bad. He was a murderer. He was a thieve. He was...

Even Hitler and Stalin seemed to be better than the shah. And even the man, who came on the airplane on Febr. 1 in 1979 back to Tehran, who answered to the question of a journalist: What do you feel, coming back to Iran after 16 years in exile with: nothing! He still today seemed to be the better man than the Shah.

How could we run after such a person in those days??? The Shah at least cried when he left the country (By the way, if money would have been so important to him personally, and if he had so much money outside the country, then he could have leave with a smile and say " I feel joy.." What is so bad about saying: These are political and economical failures they made, but there are good aspects of their reign too.

That is they way Democrats behave. Germans don't have a problem with this, Americans don't have a problem with this when they judge their politicians. But Iranians have a problem with that. Sometimes I think Iranians are not normal. They say: Kouroshe Kabir, Dariush, Sassanian etc. Where they Democrats? No. But we are so proud of monarchy when we talk about them. Then it is our bright shining iranian cultural heritage. But when it comes to the Shah.

Laleh, interesting, that still 25 years after the fall of the Shah, everybody from the older generation who asked me in Europe or in the States, where I come from, they say: Yes, the Shah, Farah, Iran has a rich culture and a long history...we respect you .. you are not like your neighbouring countries...

Laleh, the Shah made mistakes, but Iranians talked so much about them and have exaggerated them and especially talked about the wrong negative aspects, which were not really negative. But there is something he made for us at least, this is the respect we still receive, from that times far behind us. AND YOU DO PROFIT FROM THEM TOO!

By the way: It is a minority which wants again an absolute monarchy in Iran. We should decide between a constitutional monarchy and a secular democracy. And I want to refere to an article which was written by F. Hoveyda on

"Iranians should not be against monarchy. They should be against a hereditary system, in which the son of the Shah becomes automatically the next ruler. Why should the people not elect the Shah? And why should the people not elect Reza Pahlavi e.g. as a Shah?"

Laleh, even a Queen would be good for our country. And if you think it should not be a Pahlavi, O.K. You see, this is not important to me. But please, then make a proposal who should take the lead. Send us the names of the politicans and we are glad to read more and more about democratic political iranian activists.

Finally again: I want the Iranians to be fair, when they talk about anybody. Let it be the shah, Farah or even Khomeini, please judge using the facts and with no sentiment. Until we do not act in that way, then I am afraid, we cannot establish Democracy in Iran.

Schahram Schamsawary


More letters (May 2004)
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By subject
May 20, 2004

U.S. foreign policy
* Boils down to two facts
* American Christian Zionism

If U.S. invades Iran
* Makes sense to me
* I call it Pahlavi Complex
* Pahlavis had their say
Persian vs. Iranian
* Why ruin it?
* Surprise surprise!

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