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The slogan of the people
The time has come for change

By Niloofar Nafici
February 10, 2004

I am stunned and in disbelief of what I see before my eyes. It's amazing to see what has happened to my people, the Iranian people. We have so much pride,  love, and respect for our amazing "Iranian" background. Yet every day we continue to quarrel amongst ourselves. Why do we fight amongst ourselves?

Ignorance is the reason my friend; that profound dirty eight letter word that so many of us love to hold on to. Unfortunately our ignorance hinders us and like our favorite side-dish, maast-toh-kheyar (yogurt & cucumber), too many of us continue to observe, sitting on the sideline, watching our ancient and noble Iran be raped daily.

How is it that we, as Iranians, are now able to negotiate our moral responsibility to our countrymen, brave Iranian men and women that suffer at the hands of so-called "religious" men daily? These are the very clerics that enjoy lavish lifestyles, while the very souls that they claim to "save" (by force), deteriorate and struggle or endure unimaginable agonies in their notorious prisons.  

While abroad, we sit and discuss Iran's future; should there be reform? Should there be this or that? Should I have a latte?  Why don't we focus our energies on supporting the very capable albeit extremely repressed Iranians inside Iran itself. They are the ones who feel the bitterness and brutality of this regime, and they alone are capable of toppling it. But they need our support, morally, if not more, at the very least.

If one person dies in the cause of freedom, in my eyes it is clear enough and merits our support and attention; if over 30,000 Iranians are imprisoned that DEMANDS our attention. Sorry, but that's very clear to me, when we hear about heroine being cheaper than milk and eggs, when we hear that Iran is number two in the world for prostitution, this is the country where some of the smartest and most educated people in the world are left jobless and have no choice but to struggle to make ends meet alone.  All this occurs while the 47th richest man (Rafsanjani) in the world is a "humble" mullah from Iran.  

Well, I'll be damned. Once again, you would think that's reason enough to stand up for those brave freedom-loving Iranians. Our countrymen stand in the face of oppression and tyranny on a daily basis; unfortunately some of us indirectly support this regime through our own ignorance or preoccupation with our lives.

Others of us attempt to fight the oppression in ways that are feasible abroad but end up giving up because our struggle is not manifested in tangible means. The end result is too many strong voices each with an exact idea that is the "only" possible solution to our oppression. Well guess what, this isn't burger king, and you can't have it your way, all day.

Democracy is a process of individuals arguing and expressing DIFFERENCES in opinions and beliefs. When will we learn to LISTEN to each other instead of demanding to be listened to all the time? I hope that we can learn to accomplish this important step to cooperate together; so that we can build the strong national unity that we so dearly need.

Let us remember the passion we have inherited from our forefathers? The same drive, the same enlightened thinking, the same amazing spirit of our ancestors that are rooted as far back as 2500 years ago. Let us not forget our own great ancestor, Cyrus the Great, declared the first declaration of Human rights in the history of the world in 538 BC.  Isn't that a shame?

This is such a profound fact, from an even more profound culture,  but we are now suffering immensely at the hands of a self-righteous group of terrorists that continue to terrorize our land. All in their scheme to make a profit, to fill their pockets as much as possible, they take money (qoms) from the people who struggle daily, in the place of scholars and holy men.

These people are leaches, they live only to suck our noble land dry until its dead and then they can move on to their next pray. Such parasitic organisms must be cut out like cancer and shall be through the will of the people. But again, they need our help, and our support.

Our dear women in Iran wish only to progress their lives and pursue their dreams, but end up pursuing men in the streets of Arab countries instead. They sell their bodies, like common a common commodity, what a shame that our noble Iran has fallen so.

Ignorance and inaction are the greatest weapons of our oppressors. Mr. Albert Einstein said it well "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing". We need to truly educate ourselves, and manifest those core beliefs of humanity, love and life that are so strongly part of our ancient heritage.

We must make it a priority to fight and to constantly challenge the ignorance we come across daily within our own community. From religious centers, to organizations that say they help "progress" and "spread" Iranian culture; we have to carefully analyze and pay attention to where our help and financial support really goes. Ironic isn't it? They supposedly try to preserve our history, but what's the point when there's no future for the Iranian people?

I'd rather salute the students, the true scholars from past to present, from Ferdowsi to Amir Taheri and many others. They are truly the heroes of our land, the soldiers of truth, fighting a terrorist totalitarian regime that defines what brutal oppression is. We must support our countrymen that go out in the streets, risking their own lives, crying out for a referendum, for change, for freedom, for a TRUE democracy in Iran.

The time has come for change. Change brought forth by those who have suffered long enough. This is where the cycles of oppression and the history of terror ends. This is where we realize what being an Iranian is about: our people, our future, our  true Iran.

I end with the clear, powerful and simple words of those brave Iranians in the streets, risking their lives:  "Referendum, Referendum, Een ast shoaare mardom" (Referendum, Referendum, This is the slogan of the people).


Niloofar Nafici is a member of the National Union for Democracy in Iran.

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By Niloofar Nafici



By the way
rights in

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Modern Iran
Roots and Results of Revolution
By Nikki R. Keddie

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