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The Irooni way
Aberoo-Rizi may be just be mightier than the sword

By Hassan Moodar
July 29, 2002
The Iranian

Having been through the last revolution first hand, I have to honestly say that with the rather "ho hum" passing of July 9th, I'm kind of not that excited about having another violent revolution in Iran. I am sort of more interested in seeing what would happen if -- for a change -- we could try a calm, orderly (but firm), mutually accepted, transfer of power from the old (and corrupt) to the young (and idealistic). I think it may be quite possible given Iran's emerging demographic.

But, we've got to do this in our own special Irooni way!

Sure we can resort to standard Western tactics that may have worked for them, like start at the universities and get the students to do our dirty work for us like the Hippie generation in the 60's. Or we can have the trade unions go on strike like in England in the 80's. Or we can even adopt extreme tactics like the Palestinians and Israelis, (Ok, maybe Palestine and Israel are bad examples) to bring about changes in Iran.

But these may have worked for the West (OK, maybe not Palestine and Israel) but these are not our Irooni way of getting the job done.

We have a more effective social weapon that surprisingly has gone largely unused in all of this. That is the super weapon of "Aberoo-Rizi" (tarnishing one's good name). Iranians have a big sensitivity to their Aberoo. Mothers from an early age will instill this in their children and we've all learned early on not to mess with it. Especially at the "Miveh-Foroosh" (fruit-store) or "Baghali" (general store)! Later this gets even more serious during adolescence and teenage years as boys and girls interact and your own Aberoo starts to grow inside you (among other things!). In many like a cancer, in some like The Force (Star Wars). Either way Aberoo is a big deal to us Iranians.

If you think about it, it's Aberoo that made Reza Shah angry at the Ghajar's after our humiliating loss to the Russians. It's Aberoo that made Mossadegh (a Ghajar funny enough) angry at the Pahlavis. It's Aberoo that made the Pahlavis angry at Mossadegh. It's Aberoo that made Khomeini angry at the Pahlavis. It's Aberoo that made the Iranian national team play so well against the US in 1998. Today It's Aberoo that makes Reza Pahlavi want to clear his family name. And it's Aberoo that makes the last remaining Ghajars left in the world call themselves "Prince" and "Princess" FarmanFarmaian etc. in the socialite circuits of London, Paris, New York and Oh! Allright, LA.

The student group led riots expected this July 9th fizzled pitifully, as predicted by the various authorities including the CIA. Clearly things aren't bad enough to cause a violent uprising like the many who live abroad impatiently would want. Plus I don't even know how someone would go about starting a violent revolution these days anyway? I'm sure it's probably really difficult to do. So why bother? I'm guessing it would probably go something like this:

Student A: "Hey! Aren't we all sick of the system?"
Student B: "Uh, Yeah, but what can we do about it? You hungry?"
Student A: "Well, We'll fight them in the streets! No go for yourself."
Student B: "Uh, C**-Khol, Do you remember what happened last year?"
Student A: "So what! It will be symbolic, the anniversary of last year's riots."
Student B: "Boro Baba! Are you serious? We've got Finals that week! I'm going to get something you sure you're not hungry?"
Student A: "No C'mon! We can do it if we all stand together!"
Student B: "Yeah, but if WE stand together, it makes a larger target for THEM to shoot US!"
Student A: "No, I meant symbolically. We should get a lot of people together and protest or something."
Student B: "Yeah but who are we going to get? There's still the matter of getting shot. And finals. I wonder if Yas is still open?"
Student A: "What about the Girls dorm? They're angry about the roo-sari laws right?"
Student B: "Yeah but they're not talking to us since the last party. Remember what happened with you and Samanoo and the Ghahramani twins? They're so pissed they said they're not helping us with Finals."
Student A: "Forget Finals for a minute would you! We're talking about the future of Iran and the brutality of the regime and the quashing of basic human rights and freedoms!"
Student B: "Munch! Munch! Agreed but nek-sht week ish no good for me."
Student A: "Why not?"
Student B: "My uncle's taking my family to Kish for the weekend. Burrrrp! Akheysh!"
So Aberoo-Rizi seems to be the only way out. Like whose brilliant logic was it that came up with a foreign policy position that; everyone should oppose US Imperialism, Israeli Zionism, and any "-ism" that interferes with another country's sovereignty, especially Iran's, BUT that it's perfectly OK for Iran to support Islamic Extreme"-ism" outside of our own borders? Isn't that a bit hypocritical? And hasn't this position ultimately damaged Iran more than anything (embargo included)?

The person (or persons) who came up with this idea and it's operation is a prime candidate for applying the Aberoo-Rizi effect. They should be identified and their names and involvement listed publicly somewhere ( maybe), their corruption and relative stupidity described, complete with a really bad picture in front of their cote-d'azur villas, so we can all have such a good laugh at them, that they would have no choice but to abandon their appointed (not elected) positions out of sheer embarrassment. If they don't leave and choose instead to use the "Lajbaazi" defense, no matter, ultimately Aberoo-Rizi can outlast Lajbaazi.

Then people would know, and the embarrassment would cause all the baddies to leave or quit out of shame, and a reform process could begin by putting moderates in place of "outed" corrupt extremists and you could slowly migrate to a place where legal changes to obsolete and outdated Islamic laws could be made procedurally, and before you know it (maybe 5 years?) you've got yourself a reformed government with accountability and the rule of law running the show instead of "personalities". The replacements would have seen the damaging effect of Aberoo-Rizi and work hard to avoid it or risk losing their positions and more importantly, Aberoo.

Sounds simple right? The only problem is the resolve to start it. How about you? Do you have what it takes? Are you man enough or woman enough to bring someone down to their knees?

The only problem with Aberoo-Rizi is while we all gleefully participate when it's out there for all to savour, when it comes right down to doing it, Iranians are way too polite to actually start the Aberoo-rizi-ing. But if we are to grow up and mature as a free democracy one day, Iranians are going to need to toughen up a bit and learn this; that you can hurt someone much more and silence them more effectively by ruining their reputations (ala Clinton, Gingrich) with politics, than by the easier (and often more cowardly) act of martyring them with a gun.

In fact, politics (and Aberoo-Rizi) may be just be even mightier than the sword (and the pen)!

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