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Cute won't cut it
Reza Pahlavi should fly to Iran ASAP and join ranks with those who have decided to stay and resist


June 13, 2005

Reza Pahlavi, the son of former shah of Iran, staged a symbolic three-day hunger strike this weekend to show solidarity with Iranian political prisoners from his house in the suburbs of Washington DC. How cute!

We Iranian expats have not only managed to strip ourselves from any credibility, but we have managed to make a mockery of the struggle of Iranians inside of the country. We expats take advantage of any opportunity to attach ourselves to grassroot movements inside Iran for publicity and political advantage. That's low.

Credibility comes from action. In the world of multimedia and instant access to news and information, talk has become cheaper than ever. People have become politically savvy and pretentious catchphrases are identified and dismissed as soon as they hit the airwaves. Nobody believes words unless it's backed by action.

Reza Pahlavi has become a poster child for everything that is wrong with us expats. He is ineffective, uninspiring and opportunistic.

If RP wants any standing with Iranians, he needs to put his life where his mouth is. He should not ask Iranians to do anything he is not willing to do himself. That's what separates leaders from talker. That's what separates doers from bullshiters and that's what inspires people to follow. RP needs to make a believer out of us. And he can accomplish that by going to Iran and fighting like a man. You want to move us? Fly to Iran ASAP and join ranks with those who have decided to stay and resist.

He most likely will be arrested at the airport and shipped to Evin (a prison that his father built) where he will be slapped, beaten and harassed by government agents. From the prison he can fight the most effective fight of his life -- one thing that he has not done so far.

He will not be executed by IRI since the international pressure by his neocon friends will be too great and consequences too devastating for the ayatollahs to do him any harm.

Inside Evin he can learn what hardship and torment is; that builds character; that separates men from boys. He also can show the world and most importantly Iranians inside the country that expats are more than a group of BMW-driving, rambling idiots who live in comfortable million dollar homes and plan for freedom and democracy in Iran over a drink of scotch and Cuban cigars.

Great men have moved Iranians throughout history. Men such as Ghaem Magham Farahani, Amir Kabir, Mossadegh, Kasravi, Takhti or even the Ayatollah. These men moved us by what they did not by shooting slogans over airwaves via satellite television. They moved us by getting down and dirty with no regards for their lives and respect for their well-being.

I challenge Reza Pahlavi to fly to Iran immediately and fight the fight of his life like all the men and women inside the country who are putting everything they have on the line and I for one will become a believer and maybe even a comrade in arms.

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

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