Please discuss!

by Parham

People, I'm just putting in this entry to start a discussion. I'd REALLY like your feedback on this subject. Please contribute, as it's a subject that has bogged my mind for quite a long time. Thanks!

I'll make it quick:

It's been said, and it's a well-known fact, that the Shah and a foreign guest of his (I forget who) were one day discussing politics, when the guest asks the Shah why he won't allow a democratic government to take shape in Iran. The Shah turns around and says something in the order of: "Are you kidding? You would like me to give democracy to these people? You think these people can take a democracy?"

What do you think of what the Shah said? Was he right? Was he wrong? Please reply by putting aside your partisanship --whether you loved the Shah or you're a communist or an IR supporter-- as much as you can and try to be objective in your response. I want to know what you really think about his statement. Remember, the Shah could have been wrong in his thinking too, sometimes. In any case, the focus of the intended discussion is not him, but what he said. Were/are the people of Iran ready/worthy of a democracy?

Thank you in advance.


more from Parham

After more than a century of fight, people will one day prevail

by Hajminator on

If thirty years ago all political movements sought to establish some form of dictatorship in Iran (proletariat, Islamic republic, despotism, monarchy, ...) and those advocating the essence of pluralism and democracy were rare. Now, I don’t know or heard a single person who seeks to replace the Islamic Republic by another form of authoritarianism.

The iranian society has a unique specificity in the region: it has experienced the failure of Islam in the politics issues, people know that the Islamist ideology has not improved their daily lives.

Before the revolution, the Western democracies supporting the coup d’état of 1953, were seen as repressive, corrupt and were generally discredited. This stigma was a fertile ground for extremist ideologies. But thirty years after the revolution, they are extremist ideologies imposed by the islamic regime which are discredited.

If we look carefully, in Iran there is a genuine desire to establish a secular democracy. Now days, students, women, lawyers, workers, artists, teachers, journalists, writers are reacting to every political repressions imposed by the regime. Although the government dominates the media, the ideology of the Islamic Republic is agonising and the democratic aspiration is strengthened day by day.

For three decades and especially during the presidency of George W. Bush, tensions between the US and Iran have benefited ideologues and extremists inside the regime. I think that an easing in the relations between the two countries will congeal the propaganda of the Islamic Republic and will open slightly the scope of the Iranian public debate and give fresh impetus to democratic forces.


Dear "Fred"

by MiNeum71 on

your answer is in contradiction to ... your own answer.

You write: A quick look at the makeup of the revolutionaries and the members of the first post revolution parliament clearly shows a cross sampling of almost every segment of Iranian society. And these members agreed on an undemocratic IRI. That means, Iran didn´t want a democracy.

IRI was the burning desire of the Iranian society. And unfortunately they got, what they deserved. Akhoond-ha are Iranians, Pasdaran are Iranians, Baseejee-ha are Iranians; nobody sells Iran short, when they say that the Iranians aren´t able to live a democracy.

Btw: Sa´adi and others aren´t Iranian culture, they are Iranian history. The Iranian culture is woman abuse, children abuse, minority abuse, criminal abuse, animal abuse.



HE said SHE said

by maziar058 (not verified) on

100 afarin aghaye omidvar & Ali P. and some other honest comentators;
My personal taught regarding your Q : I really doubt such a conversation ever happend,these tall tails are the cause of Iran's abbys and our current place here.
sale noo mobarak.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

VERY funny considering what Rumsfeld said

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

Saint Rumsfeld, when questioned about the glorious success of the Iraq invasion said "DEMOCRACY IS MESSY!" This means that even if people are phecking it up left and right in the beginning, the outcome makes the mess worth the while.

So Parham, what the hell are you asking? Why aren't Iranians better at proving they are civilized and worthy of democracy? OR why aren't they civilized despite not having democracy? Are they civilized at all? 

As a communist IR supporter (double whammy) I think any group "deserves" (what nice language or TERMS) democracy because even when there are savage a-holes (US has lots of these), we still deserve it too. Everyone deserves to be free. 


Hold on to your hat

by Fred on

Blaming the victim(s) is the quickest route to nowhere. If one uses Tocqueville’s observations of America back in the 19th century as a reference, then Iran of the last Shah's time was not, is not even today and most likely will not be a candidate for a democracy in the foreseeable future.

But should one subscribe to the notion that where earthly justice rules supreme, that is just laws and not the stuff Islamist or their predecessors, the Nazis, masquerade as laws, then there is every hope for achieving whatever that society in its totality desires to achieve. If this hypothesis has any merits, then Iran has every right and history to back it up, to achieve its desired destiny.

 There is hardly any major Persian literary work, from what is left of Roudaki’s, to Ferdowsi, Hafez, and Obeid onwards to Mirzaded eshghi, Yazdi, and Iraj Mirza to the present that in one way or another does not praise justice and most often, lament its absence.

 The single most desired impetuous for Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1911 in Iran was for a house of justice, e’daalat-khaaneh, and establishing a framework, boundary for the ruler’s power, hence its name, Mashrooteh. In another words being subject to laws passed by people’s parliament.

A quick look at the makeup of the revolutionaries and the members of the first post revolution parliament clearly shows a cross sampling of almost every segment of Iranian society. The problem we’ve been having in Iran is for the rule of law getting some traction. In light of being the most invaded and occupied country in the history of mankind, it is understandable.

The good news is that regardless of what habitual naysayers, self-loathers, sunshine patriots, economically motivated or just uninformed say, historically speaking, the Iranian society has never dampened its burning desire.  Wavered, yes, delayed, yes, deceived, most certainly, derailed, too many  times to count, but the flame is alive, the troche passes from one generation to an even more ready and equipped generation who light up the path of freedom. Those who sell Iran and Iranians short have seen nothing yet.  



Democracy in Iran? Great Comedy

by MiNeum71 on

Forget the few urban-educated Iranians, the rest is bee-savad and vah-shee. Democracy can´t be forced by a government, it must grow in a society and force the leading power to change into and become a democratic system.

As Ali P. wrote, as long as people don´t know the difference between na-adelane and zerang, democracy remains a pipe dream.

And: An improved society treats their women, children, minorites, criminals and animals well and with respect. Iranian society and culture: Backward and a bad joke.



Democracy ??????

by Iranzamin8000 (not verified) on

It supposed to start at home! No? The relationship between the parents first, then their relation ship with their children, family, neighbor, coworker, friend s and the list goes on…..

Who has to teach Iranian what democracy was???? Reza Khan?.... ye Sarbazeh Gholdor–e Dahati from Savad-kuh? Reza Khan had 11 children from 4 wives, and the only thing they have done, was: be Taraaj Kashidan Iran zamin va hal-o hool kardan. Where his Son Mohammad Reza Savad-Kuhi Oh sorry they changed their last name to (Pahlavi) had to learn anything about democracy you think my friend? at home by his father!???? Or doing dokhtar bazi internationally?


Parham e aziz,

by A little too late (not verified) on

A very good topic. When people came to street in 1978/1979 against him they (I mean the majority) did not ask for change because there were no democracy in Iran they weren't asking for freedom they weren't asking for women rights or freedom of speech or whatever democracy is all about. Did they? NO. All they wanted was Khomeini a mullah along with his sharieh laws. If you think they didn't know who the Khomeini was you are absolutely wrong. The majority knew exactly who Khomeini was all about and that is what they got and they are happy with it today. Only a small minority of the educated Iranian people got fooled by Khomeini and now they are sorry asses. To answer to your question I should say that I agree with Ali's conclusions at the end. Whether Shah was right I would say no because he had the opportunity to try it but he didn't. I bet you if he would have tried it when he had the chance thing would have been much better than what we have today and I afraid to say that it would be the same for another 20 if not 30 years.

Ali I have seen your comments in other blogs I think you are a decent human being.


آقا پرهام

امیدوار (not verified)

آقا پرهام، ببخشید ها، شرمنده، اما شاه غلط کرد!

ملت ایران یک ملت محترم و شریف و نجیب است که استحقاق بهترین ها را دارد. اما اشکال این است که تمامی هفتاد و چند میلیون نفر جمعیت ایران هنوز همگی باهم به مرحله ای نرسیده اند که روی پای خودشان بایستند و حقشان را از این زورگویان طلب کنند. در زمان و با افزایش شعور و شهامت ملی، این امر نیز اتفاق خواهد افتاد. دموکراسی یک قرص ندارد که شب بخوریم و صبح بلند شویم و ببینیم که صاحب دموکراسی شده ایم. لازمهء آن کشتن جهل و پرورش شعور و سواد است که با سرعت بسیار زیادی در ایران در حال وقوع بوده و هست. درست است در مقایسه با عمر کوتاه ما این زمان بنظر طولانی می آید، اما به واقع و در مقایسه با سایر ملل جهان که قرنها و دهه ها در دست استبداد و زور مذهب سوختند تا به آزادی دستیافتند، ملت ایران راه خود را سریع و دقیق پیموده و می پیماید. دموکراسی وارد کردنی و صادر کردنی نیز نیست. باید روال طبیعی و تحول خودش را طی کند. گواه این مدعا نیز شعور سیاسی یک ایرانی متوسط است که امروزه بسیار تیزتر و آگاهتر از زمان محمدرضاشاه مسایل را می فهمد و تجزیه و تحلیل می کند، آخوند ها را خوب شناخته و از ارایهء تجزیه و تحلیلش ابایی ندارد، چیزی که در زمان محمدرضاشاه و با آن همه مینی ژوپ و عرق فروشی هرگز در جامعه دیده نمیشد.

رهبران احمقی که فکر می کنند از ملتشان بیشتر می فهمند و متولی و قیم و امام آنها هستند مثل شاهان گذشته همگی به زباله دان تاریخ خواهند پیوست. این ملت ایران است که به جا خواهد ماند و اگر در زمان ما نه، در زمان نوادگانمان نشان خواهد داد چه توانایی هایی دارد.

حالا تا آن دوره برسد، عجالتا شما یک چند دوری دور اروپا و جهان بگردید و زیاد خودتان را نگران نکنید. ما هم می گردیم اما حتی برای یک لحظه هم ظرف سی سال گذشته فکر نکرده ام که ملت ایران از مسیر دستیابی به حقوق حقه اش باز مانده و در جا زده است. خیلی چیزها در ایران اتفاق افتاده و می افتد و این بار وقتی دست مذهب و آخوند و زورگو از سر ملت ایران باز شد خواهید دید که دیگر هیچ زورگویی نخواهد توانست سوار ملت آگاه بشود. سال نوی شما هم مبارک.

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

I think the Shah was right, though his framing of the thought may have been crude.  Democratic behavior--like the economy-- is primarily a force of nature and only secondarily a matter of national will. A rough equality of power has to naturally come about between various parts of a society before institutions can be built to enhance and maintain it. Such political meadows have been found in Western history, but not yet in Iran.

Ali P.

Not just a system of goverment

by Ali P. on

Democracy is just not a system of government; it's a culture, a way of life.

 We can't even stand in line, respecting the person in front of us who has been waiting longer. Instead, we praise the person who comes late, and gets his business taken care of first, and call him "zerang"!

We can't agree to disagree. We have to get others to agree with us, or we want to kick their ass!

Way too many of us are racists, sexists, and fascists, without recognizing it.

 The rule of law is OK, only if it works to our benefit. If it doesn't, the hell with it. We take the law into our own hands.

 The list is endless.

Do we deserve Democracy? Yes.

Can we get there? I hope so.

Are we there yet?  HELL.....NO...!



Of course they are! The

by Lee (not verified) on

Of course they are! The Iranian people are every bit as able and worthy to govern themselves as anyone else in the world. What is most important is that they choose leaders with true concern for the national interests of Iran. Then be willing to support them no matter what the rest of the world says...and watch out for the CIA this time.