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Earning the right to be free
Lack of cooperation


Payam Shahfari
June 4, 2006

The reason for our sufferings in the hands of imperialists and fundamentalists, and our endless struggles for democracy and human rights is the simple fact that we as a people lack the sense of cooperation and for that reason we have adopted the destructive sense of competition as the means to success and progress. Our thirst for jingoistic, religious, and patriotic ideologies and our simplest dissensions regarding these issues has deprived us from quenching the real thirst of truth and recognition of all of its necessary components for achieving a united and organized struggle towards freedom.

Our idea of patriotism is to obstinately deny each other‚s ideas on political, social, and economic situations that are currently haunting our country and the entire world for that matter. We choose to be ignorant of the real facts that have brought us thus far to the morass of impotence. Instead of focusing on achieving solidarity as the definition of patriotism, we have bought into the unrealistic dream of a revolution under a single powerful party. If this is what we are trying to achieve as democracy, I will express my opposition now for such disgraceful, degrading, and illusory idea of a revolution. To that I will say that an evolution of ideology and humanity is more necessary than a political revolution.

As far as religious influence, religion is for personal and spiritual satisfaction of life and soul and the worship of the god that is not believed by all in the first place to be in existence. Our religious beliefs are no longer spiritual once they are employed in political situations. It is then as Marx said a tool used by the state to control the masses." It is then that it creates separation and unnecessary conflict among citizens and their state. Such an act is now undertaken by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Undertaking such act justifies arresting, torturing, imprisoning, and executing of innocent human beings by the government in the name of Islam and efforts for protecting it.

Another negative impact of religion is its natural effect on people to focus on the idea of afterlife and ignore the realities of this existing life. This is an extreme example but the primary reason why middle-east has intrinsically been negligent of the need for progress. We middle-easterners choose to follow in the footsteps of our religious figures and Shahid Imams and ignore the necessity of focusing on the future and the survival of humanity. Instead we await the Messiah or Mahdi and the judgment day. As Saadegh Hedayat once said; we live for the dead."

Other than the need to abjure our false ideas on religion and eradicate religious and ideological differences between us, opposing imperialism and capitalism and their destructive force upon the people of the world is just as important.  This is not an indication that we should adopt communism, because we are not ready for that sort of humane modesty and it will end in disaster.  Instead we should focus on global unity of mankind in order to defeat the neo-colonial empires of U.S., China, Russia, England, etc. and their corporate funded politicians. In order to do that, we should also eradicate our sense of jingoism and our biased opinions on other countries and their people, their culture and religion.

We should distance ourselves from provincial thoughts and closed-mindedness which in reality damages our sense of fraternity and brotherhood. Let's think of all human beings in the world as our own brothers and sisters and treat, defend, and respect all of them as we would with our own brothers and sisters even though they might possess different cultures, religions, ancestral background, language and many differences that could be pleasant and beautiful rather than causes of quarrel among us. I realize that this is an extremely difficult task to accomplish and some might call me a dreamer and I very well may be, but it is definitely possible and at the end I can claim that I lived for the idea and not the circumstance." Let's all think of the world (not just Iran) as our country, and think of humanity and benevolence (not Islam, Christianity, etc) as our religion.

In conclusion, I will say that freedom must be earned and fought for, through peaceful and organized ways with solidarity. If we are unable to take that path and if we cannot unite under a single set of goals (love, peace, and justice) then we do not deserve freedom. If we haven't been freed, that only means that we have not earned the right to be free. Why should the religious fanatics and the imperialist governments grant us mercy when they can take advantage of our weaknesses and sporadic efforts, and exploit our people when we can‚t even unite to oppose in a unilateral voice. It is true that their actions are unethical but let‚s change ourselves and our ways of life and be that change that we want to see in the world", it is then that we can not only set an example for the despots but chance them as well.

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