a thought for us -- first
Ebadi's wasted opportunity?
By Ardavan Bahrami
December 15, 2003
A few days ago I received an email from a friend
whom I have never met in person but have been chatting
and exchanging views with on Iranian current affairs. The
email contained a note from an Iranian gentleman/lady who had commented
on Shirin Ebadi's Nobel Peace prize speech.
The note was most refreshing and above all extremely
my journalistic conscience told me that such a fresh viewpoint
should not be ignored. As I do not know this person nor
does my friend, I have taken the liberty to use the note and
expand it further, hoping many others could enjoy the comments.
To make it easier I shall call this person Hope! Hope's note
starts by saying,
"Shirin Ebadi's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance
ceremony was a huge opportunity missed for all the Iranians who
human rights abuses in the last 24 years of the Islamic dictatorship
The reason for this is non-other than what seems to be a genetic
disease seen in a large number of older generation Iranians who
forget the plight of their own people but prefer to take up the
cause of others."
This is most distressing. In the past years and particularly
in recent events I have witnessed many Iranians who by large are
indifferent and not involved in political issues have suddenly
shown concerns on US war against terrorism by taking actions against
the American administration's policies or even have had the
audacity of joining groups or demonstrations in support of Palestinians!
"1400 years ago a dispute broke up between
two Arabs over a girl by the name of Orayneb. One Arab was the
ruling Khalif and the other was the grandson of the Arab prophet.
The two sides met each other in Karbala and in the usual Arab custom,
killed as many of each other as they could, including the women
and the children. Now most of the Arab world has forgotten the
incident but many Iranians still mourn the event by beating themselves
and cutting their foreheads open with daggers. Yet there is no
such ceremony for any of our own heroes throughout 2500 years of
history, which has produced many heroic figures. We have no national
days to honour them; we have no ceremonies to commemorate them
or to teach posterity about the values of putting Iran first and
foremost. To give an analogy to a non-Iranian it is as if the Jewish
people forgot the victims of holocaust and their own heroes and
instead mourned the death of 72 German generals and soldiers at
some insignificant battle. Laughable wouldn't you say?"
At this point in time when our students have been
most courageous in their fight for democracy and secularism, one
would have hoped
that an internationally recognized lady such as Shirin Ebadi would
have taken this unique opportunity and when the world media is
focused on her speech to express her concerns for the lack of freedom,
mass executions and the daily abuses of human right in our own
country rather than broadcasting Islamic Republic's foreign
policies regarding America's war against terror and Palestinians! Hope's
views on Ebadi's decision to forget her very own people whom
she owes her Nobel Peace prize to; is extremely disheartening.
so it was in the same tradition that Shirin Ebadi, forgot about
the plight of our own people, the massacre of political prisoners
in September 1988, the virgin girls who were raped before facing
Islamic execution squads to prevent them from entering heaven,
the imprisoned students and activists, the forgotten war veterans
who gave all they had to defend the motherland, the poverty of
Iran's street children, the youth who have been publicly flogged,
and instead what did she talk about? The Palestinians, and those
incarcerated in Guantanamo bay!
As if there aren't enough people already who are
signed up to their cause.
The older generation who got us in this mess with
their extra strong revolutionary zeal are once again keeping us
trapped in this Islamic
dictatorship by putting our own people and our own future at the
end of the queue.
Perhaps one day they will learn that charity begins
at home. Let's free our own people first then worry about the
incarcerated at Guantanamo. Or as Iranians continuously chant
in the street demos 'Let Palestine be, spare a thought for
Here I would like to address Mrs. Ebadi and tell
her that as a Nobel laureate your duty is towards your own nation,
through the darkest period in her long history. The Islamic
regime has enough resources to waste on fighting for Palestinian
causes, building schools and hospitals for the fanatics in Lebanon
or Bosnia, or for that matter protecting every undemocratic ideology. Today
you can be the loudspeaker for all those Iranian women and men,
young girls and boys who have lost their lives in Islamic prisons
or are still suffering daily tortures.
It is an honour to have
an Iranian as the winner of such respected prize, but if you
today decide for whatever reason to side with
this regime reformist or conservative, your will have no respect
in future Iran among your very own compatriots. Please
do not waste the opportunity!
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