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Give it up comrade
Ganji should go home, down a huge chelo-kabab with gigantic onions, relax, take a shower, have great sex and apply for Canadian citizenship


July 16, 2005

I finished reading Akbar Ganji's latest letter from Evin prison [English/Persian] and immediately ran to the medicine cabinet to gobble down two Tylenols. I was not aware that a man on his death bed can chatter so much!

Ganji follows a certain letter-writing etiquette that goes back to his revolutionary roots. To write an effective and emotional revolutionary essay one has to follow certain rules:

First, you have to mention the names of several fruity French philosophers and Austrian psychoanalysts. That makes you sound more intelligent and sits well with your academic peers. It is also a known fact that the residence of provinces like Kurdistan and Baluchestan who make $100 a year are very fond of Lefort and Freud. Everybody knows that there are Marcel and Jean-Paul Sartre parties in Khuzestan where under privilege folks get together once a week and discuss existentialism in French.

Secondly one needs to throw in a modern poetry to attract the younger generation, poetry of Hafez to attract the old farts and to avert from alienating the religious zealous, you should throw in a verse from Koran.

Then you start pointing out the obvious. Democracy ... good. Dictatorship ... bad. People elect their own officials ... good, supreme leader ... bad. Blah, blah, blah!

You pitch facts that a person with an IQ of a cucumber already knows. But you use fancy words which majority of plain people has trouble pronouncing. You also use a lot of meaningless French and English words.

And then you end the letter with words like, hey y'all, I'm gonna die but you are all screwed.

Ganji's long stay in prison has left him out-of-touch with today's Iran. Ganji still lives in Iran of the 90s. He actually thinks that there are people out there who give a shit. Being locked up in solitary confinement for six years and away from the society at large, Ganji has become estranged from people who he no longer knows.

While Ganji, in his letter, goes on describing a 60s -style psychedelic, perfect, pass-the-joint-around-dude utopian society where there is perfect democracy and we all live in perfect harmony, he has forgotten a few things:

A democracy is made for those who are willing and ready to embrace it and not for people who are out to screw each other at any chance they get, who hate law and order, who are dictators by culture and custom, who lie and cheat with ease, who have no respect for others' space or opinion, who settle a traffic accident with a good fistfight and who are corrupt and easily bought. We have serious problems here folks and lack of democracy is not one of them.

Ganji doesn't know that Iran's youth, supposedly the vanguard of progress towards democracy, are more interested in sex, drugs and rock and roll and everything Western than a meaningful change of government.

The most internet savvy twenty-something in the Middle East, according to the TIME magazine, spend almost all of their online hours searching for Britney Spear's pictures, illegal downloads of DVDs and music and indulging the marvel of internet: porn sites. There is nothing wrong with that. That's what a healthy youth of any society should do.

Ganji doesn't know that a call for "ecstasy party" in the northern parts of Tehran brings in more crowd than a call for a demonstration to demand his release from Evin.

And I guess nobody told Ganji that Ahmadinejad is the new sheriff in town, who happened to run on the platform of promising the masses to share the leftover oil money that trickles down from the elite to the rest of us peasants. That alone inspired many of us, "Hey, man. Send me the oil money and I'll be forever yours."

While the overwhelming majority of supposedly productive members of Iranian society is high on opium and tripping all over each other to check into brothels of United Emirates for a weekend of drunken orgy, poor Ganji and his washed-up comrades are still planning their Iranian utopia.

I'm not a smart person but if I was Ganji, I would have signed whatever documents they throw in front of me, go home, down a huge chelo-kabab with gigantic onions, relax, take a shower, have great sex and apply for Canadian citizenship.

Siamack Baniameri is the author of The Iranican Dream, ( Publishing, December 2004). Also see

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