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Royal blue vs. the rainbow
We don't need HIM to save us

January 31, 2002
The Iranian

One thing is clear: If the monarchists have their way, only two colors will be allowed in Iran, or rather one color and a paler shade of that color. Probably Royal Blue and Commoners Blue. I say this because it seems to me that in the monarchist way of thought, the world only offers two options and in the true Bush-like way of thinking "If you're not with us, you're against us." So if for whatever reason, you're not a monarchist then you're scum of the earth, you're a believer in the "mullahs," you're a collaborator.

Up to now, I just ignored it. I think no one has hurt the monarchists more than themselves in the ugly language they use to discuss politics, in their inability to believe in differences of opinion, in their complete disregard for the fact that people can disagree with them and yet not be monsters. If one day need be, their words, their insults, their anger, their television programs are there for the world to see.

But there's one issue that needs to be addressed. This need was highlighted with the honestly titled "All are not equal" by Abdol Hamid Sheybani (at least let's give them this much: Monarchists don't hide their own sense of being superior to the rest of us). Sheybani should actually be happy because his writing is very similar to that of his Leader, Reza Pahlavi: a series of empty concepts stringed together to the point of incomprehension. Pahlavi speaks like that mostly to hide his utter ignorance and inability to think outside the framework set out by his advisors (No wonder he asks for Bush Jr.'s help so much. They have much in common). Sheybani, I have no idea why he writes like that. I'd say it is to hide his sense of superiority to the rest of the world but I'd be wrong. His belief that some are better than the rest is right there couched in what I surmise he believes is scientific language.

Not being a monarchist and thus not in possession of such high flutin' language, I'll come out and say it in clear language: The level of condescension of most monarchists (with Sheybani's piece being merely its latest manifestation) towards people in general is insulting and unacceptable. I, or anyone else, don't need to be lectured about culture nor about how we all need a 42 year old unemployed man and his cronies to teach us about democracy and freedom.

We don't need you to save us or give us lectures on Iranian history, nor do we need any of your pseudo-scientific babble. What we do need is an honest dialogue about the future of Iran that is devoid of hostility and insults, and does not originate from above, one that believes in the wisdom and dignity of human beings, one that does believe all are created equal. Monarchists had a chance to do that and yet they have chosen to take the dirty route and all I can understand from this is that this is their nature, that they are incapable of an equal exchange of opinions.

And let me say this loud and clear: No where in the world does a disagreement with monarchist beliefs brand me or others like me as collaborators or believers in the horrible actions committed by elements in the Islamic Republic of Iran. I, nor other people who believe in a system that is neither a theocracy nor a monarchy, are not mulla-lovers, nor backward thinkers, nor have we sold our souls to the devil. We happen to believe in something DIFFERENT than you. It does not make us monsters or horrible people. It only makes us people with a difference of opinion and if THIS simple fact is too hard for you to swallow, if to make your point you need to drag others through muck and shit, then what can I say? What can any of us say?

Let me go to the end of Sheybani's piece, his last paragraph:

"Perhaps Sohrabi would like to suggest a viable alternative, and while we wait for this, we can watch a new generation of Iranians growing up who have seen nothing better than a bunch of "mollas" selling off their country to the lowest bidders."

A viable alternative. I'll suggest several though considering the spirit of Mr. Sheybani's piece, I doubt he'd consider any of them "viable" as it entails some of the "lesser" people, you know, the kind that were not born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Mr. Sheybani (and let me just say, his piece is merely an example of the kind of mentality that has been rampant in most monarchist writings, including that of Reza Pahlavi so this is really not personally aimed at him though he has taken a sense of being superior to the rest of the people to new heights) writes that the way children follow their parents, society follows its leaders.

Hmmm... within this framework, I really don't have much of an alternative to suggest. From where I'm sitting in Tehran, people are actually fed up with those who ironically like Khomeini believe people are a bunch of sheep in need of a shepherd to guide them. Nor does it seem to me, contrary to what Mr. Sheybani states in his point number 10, do people believe they are born with and stuck with the same culture as their parents and their parents parents. I understand someone thinking like that when their whole identity is tied not to who they have strived to become themselves but to their family name and family wealth but fortunately, there are many of us out there who rely on our own skills to get through life and for these people, culture is ever-changing and is organic, and the belief does exist that we can become a better people not stuck in the merry-go-round of history.

Click Here to Pay Learn More Amazon Honor SystemAttached to the belief that people are like sheep needing to be guided is that they also are sitting here in Iran rotting in their misery waiting for a savior to come from abroad. Well news flash, they're not. Life is really hard for many people in Iran. There is economic hardship, political repression, but a new generation of Iranians are growing up who have seen a lot better than a "bunch of mollas selling off their country to the lowest bidders." So if you're planning your entertainment around watching them, as you claim in your paragraph, I suggest you look elsewhere. People are not victims neither of the Islamic Republic nor of the monarchists and they're sure not sitting on their hands waiting for the Iranian community abroad who is willingly refusing to grow up, to make itself relevant to the future of Iran by letting go of some of its archaic beliefs and respecting the lives of those in Iran, who uses Iranian youth and women and pretty much everyone else as pawns in its bankrupt game of politics, to come save them.

I know it's hard NOT to infantalize Iranians living in Iran, I know it's hard to not take the lead of Reza Pahlavi and that Mr. Ringo Zia, and not treat Iranians as cannon fodder while you sit pretty in Los Angeles or where ever, but if you are serious about viable alternatives, that's the first step: Recognizing that all these years, the war and the hardships of the past 23 years have created an incredibly aware and sophisticated polity, one who more often than not eschews violence in favor of a more difficult and yet gradual change, one that has thrived under the extremely hard conditions of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

You want viable alternatives? How about the 23 year old painter I recently spoke to? He believes that while Reza Pahlavi may have strong support among Iranians whose idea of freedom is summarized in going to Discos with his girlfriend, that it will pass. He believes that if there ever is change, it will come from within, from someone who has experienced the war, someone who gives validity to the revolution and doesn't want to sweep it under the rug. His own paintings attempt to reflect this reality. When I asked him if he believed there was no alternative other than Reza Pahlavi, he gave me a strange look and said of course not. There are the melli-mazhabis who have kept their credibility and for whom, he said, he'd campaign in a heartbeat. "I've been to Pahlavi's website and frankly, I want to know, where was he 3 years ago? He's just jumped on the bandwagon that originated from here, in Iran. He thinks we in Iran are stupid and will be fooled by his repetitive use of words like democracy or secularism."

How about those who put on the play A Moment of Silence which acknowledged the killing of the writers and dissidents through a lovely play which chronicled the fear and the eventual death of a writer, and which at the end of the play rather than seek an applause, asked the audience to take a moment of silence in commemoration of all the writers killed? I wouldn't call them a "new generation who has seen nothing better" than mollas selling the country. I'd say they've seen a lot lot more. Both better and worse. I'd say they're a new generation full of courage and the ability to think independently, and I'd say they wouldn't really appreciate being labeled as Mr. Sheybani has labeled them "They are simple people and were cheated and misled to a mass hysteria."

Or how about the army of women who write in Zanan magazine? They write about everything you can imagine, highlighting the problems of women in Iran and more importantly, their achievements? Or how about the women who are making documentaries and feature films? How about my friend, a 30-year-old unmarried filmmaker who makes her own living as a production manager, and would balk at the idea that she has no dignity and she needs Reza Pahlavi to come give it to her. I wonder how all these people would feel being called simple, not just once, by Mr. Sheybani. I can ask them and get back to you.

To me, each and everyone of these people are more viable alternatives than Reza Pahlavi and his insulting call to the international community to come save these poor simple Persian folks.

Mr. Sheybani may prefer to construct a world where people are children to be led by "adults" and call it "natural." For him, the monarchy may be the only viable option. Thankfully for those of us who grew out of our childhood and have become independent adults, there are other option out there.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment for the writer Naghmeh Sohrabi

By Naghmeh Sohrabi

Sohrabi's features index


All are not equal
In the practical world, creating an "aghazadeh" is a human social behavior
By Abdol Hamid Sheybani

Shah bee Shah
When you think "monarchy", "freedom" is not the first thing that comes to mindBy Jahanshah Javid

We are awake
2,500-year celebrations revisited
By Cyrus Kadivar

Stay away from courtiers
If you want to be regarded as a democrat, act like one
By Setareh Sabety

Dummies for democracy
Stop criticizing. Propose alternative solutions
By Xerxes Darius

All about freedom
... the Pahlavi State was
By Mihandoust

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